James River Park System By the Numbers
This past spring, Friends partnered with The James River Outdoor Coalition (JROC) to fund the purchase of Park Counters to tally the number of park visitors. These were placed at the main entrances into the JRPS. The results support projections provided by a VCU student surveys in 2012. This survey predicted anywhere from 500,000 --1.5 million visitors per year. With the instillation of the park counters we now know that JRPS has had over 795,117 visitors from May 2014 until the end of October 2014.
James River Park System is clearly the top dog when it comes to attendance. By May 2015 the annual visitor count is expected to be closer to the 1.5 million visitor prediction made in 2012. Interestingly, JRPS wasn't considered in the 2013 "20 Top Destinations" list published by the Richmond Times Dispatch on February 21, 2014. Using information provided by the Richmond Region Tourism office, their list has Maymont at the top with 527,153 visitors.
Who cares? Anyone who lives, works, or plays in the City of Richmond! The James River Park System provides a huge economic benefit to the City. Using the $16 per day per user estimate for park economic impact numbers from the 2014 edition of the Virginia Outdoors Plans. JRPS right now, provides a $12,721,872 economic impact directly to the City and local businesses. This is before you buy your bike, running shoes or paddling gear!
Choose Your Adventure: North Bank Park/Texas Beach
On the north side of the James at 1941 Texas Ave. (south end of Texas Ave., near Maymont) you'll find the park section known to many as Texas Beach. Take the trail from the parking lot, cross the bridge over the train tracks and wander till you find a spot to your liking. Along with the newly completed wooden boardwalk over a wetland section of trail, you'll find many isolated sandy beaches, sunbathing rocks and shady spots. In warmer weather -- or for the brave -- the shallow waters and calm sands of Texas Beach are great for snorkeling. There is plenty to explore: fish, turtles, shells, snails and unusual river-bottom features.
If chilling isn't what you're about, Northbank Trail provides an excellent challenge for mountain bikers. The trail is part of the James River Trail loop and runs uninterrupted to the east all the way to Tredegar.
Another destination in the park is to cross the railroad pedestrian walkway and head west along the shoreline path (toward the Boulevard Bridge) to the site of the Foushee Mill. Directly south of Maymont, it can be hard to recognize due to trees and the train tracks. The mill, built in 1819 by Dr. William Foushee, was abandoned as a mill in the 1830s, and while there is nothing overly special about the mostly granite mill, or its history, the structure, at almost 200 years old, has survived flooding, vandalism and Mother Nature!
See all in the Choose Your Adventure series.
Events in and around and for the Park
Virginia Climate Fever Book Talk | December 4
A new book, Virginia Climate Fever, documents the impacts of climate change across Virginia. Hear the author, environmental journalist Stephen Nash, talk about his book--which explains how climate change is affecting and will affect all of Virginia, not just in low-lying coastal areas. The talk will be followed by a Q&A session and then a book signing. Depending on availability, books will be available for purchase (including sales tax, $20, which is 25% below retail price). Free. 6:00-8:00 p.m. Henrico North Park Library, 8508 Franconia Rd. Information: Kendyl Crawford 757-268-8810 or email@example.com.
Full Moon Series | December 6
The December Full Moon Series at the Sugar Pad will feature a special visit from Riverfront Santa and The Hot Dog Man RVA and discussions concerning Stone Brewing, the Va. Capital Trail, changes to the Lehigh Cement property and the Ancarrow's Landing upgrade plus a variety show. Moonrise is at 4:51 pm, and the event runs from 4:00 to 9:00 pm. 3101 Wharf St. Parking in the Intermediate Terminal lot. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day | December 7
Virginians pause to remember those who fought valiantly at Pearl Harbor in 1941. "Virginians at War" and "Pearl Harbor" films will be shown continuously in Reynolds Theater with a special remembrance ceremony from 2:00 to 3:00 pm. Free -- rain or shine. Co-sponsored by the Navy League of the United States, Richmond Council. Virginia War Memorial, 621 S. Belvidere St. Information at VaWarMemorial.org or contact email@example.com.
Blessings of the Animals | December 12
The annual blessing will be performed at noon at Shockoe Slip's Morgan Fountain on 13th St. by Reverend Karen Thompson of Thompson's Border Collies to honor Richmond K9's, working horses and dogs and pets. Seasonal music performed by Susan Greenbaum. Owners and their pets are encouraged to dress in seasonal attire, and animals must be leashed at all times. Pet food donations will be collected for the Animal Adoption and Rescue Foundation. Sponsored by The Friends of the Richmond Mounted Squad. Free.
Maymont by Moonlight | December 12 and 19
Enjoy an enchanting holiday evening at Maymont ... by moonlight! Elegantly costumed ladies and gentlemen welcome you to the home of Major and Mrs. James H. Dooley to witness the excitement of Christmas 1893. The Dooleys' gracious family, guests and domestic staff bring to life the busy preparations for a special celebration -- the first Christmas in their new home. A horse-drawn carriage ride under the stars, seasonal refreshments, and carol singing by the bonfire make this an evening to remember! Friday, December 12 & 19, 5:30-9:30 pm, Maymont's Hampton Street Entrance. $28 per person/$22 members. Reservations required. Register online at Maymont.org or call 804-358-7166, ext. 329.
December FOJRP Volunteer Day | December 13
42nd Street Entrance, 42nd St and Riverside Dr, Saturday, December 13, 9:00 am until noon.
Instead of painting the town this holiday season, how about coming out to paint the 42nd Street parking lot? We will be there on December 13th, bucket and brushes in hand ready to spruce things up. Registration is required through HandsOn Richmond. This fall we have initiated a new sign-up procedure -- partnering with HandsOn Richmond to reach a larger audience. Sign up and join us for this event »
22nd Annual James River Parade of Lights | December 13
Again this year FoJRP and JRPS staff will be on hand at Libby Hill Park (2801 E. Franklin St. in Church Hill) from 5:30 - 7:00 pm to enjoy the best view of the decorated parade boats as they make their way down the river to the Varina-Enon Bridge. We will be sharing hot soup and beverages to warm our fellow spectators. Join us for this fun event!
The parade is sponsored by the James River Advisory Council, free. More information Kimberly Conley at 804-748-1567 or jrac-va.org.
JRPS Winter Solstice Celebration | December 21
Join us as we mark the shortest day and the longest night of the year. Friends and JRPS staff will meet at 5:30 pm at the base of the footbridge on Belle Isle, where we'll enjoy a bonfire (JRPS-approved!), share hot cider and home-baked holiday cookies, read a poem or two, sing seasonal carols. Come celebrate the season with the Friends! Leashed dogs welcome!
RVA NYE | December 31
Celebrate RVA New Year's Eve 2014 on Brown's Island. The tradition that started uptown continues downtown with a night of entertainment, community, and a completely brand new RVA NYE Ball -- a party for Richmond to bring in 2015 with the whole town! 7 pm. Free. 18+ only. Brown's Island, Seventh and Tredegar Sts. RVAnye.co (this is not a typo -- it is .co)
Do you know what's in your runoff?
Runoff is any water that flows across the surface of the land. The main source of runoff is precipitation. However, any time you wash your car or water your lawn you are creating runoff.
Pollution from runoff is the #1 health threat to our waterways. Every time it rains, pollution washes off your property and starts its journey through the watershed to the James River.
The James River Association has developed a runoff calculator that enables you to measure how runoff from your home contributes to pollution in the James. To find out your impact, go to www.whatsinyourrunoff.com, enter a few simple facts, then receive your personalized runoff pollution report. You'll also find suggestions for reducing your pollution impact on local waterways.
JRPS license plates, matching gifts and AmazonSmile -- money for the park
James River Park license plates have now generated over $7,000 for the park! To order yours, check out the DMV Specialty License Plate section!
If you're making a donation to the FOJRP, consider asking your employer to match your gift. Many local businesses are happy to support Richmond's wonderful park system. All gifts and bequests are tax deductible to the full extent permitted by law, and donors will receive a letter acknowledging their contributions; contributors to the Protection and Preservation Fund are also acknowledged on the FOJRP website.
FOJRP registered with AmazonSmile
AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support FOJRP. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you'll find the exact same shopping experience you get on Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate .5% of eligible purchases to an organization you select.
Simply go to smile.amazon.com, and on your first visit you will be prompted to select a charity. Select Friends of the James River Park, then shop!
Watch it! Check out these Science in the Park videos.
T-shirts and pamphlets for sale!
Our snazzy t-shirts and FOJRP interpretive pamphlets are available to purchase online. Order yours today!
Keep the park safe
If you see something out of the ordinary in the James River Park, please report it using the non-emergency police number:
Reportable things include problems in the park system (of natural or human origin) -- graffiti, large amounts of trash, trees down across main trails, fires of any sort, unruly behavior, etc.
If it is an emergency situation, please dial 911.
Do you Bicycle in the Park?
Did you know that pedestrians have the right of way on ALL trails in the Park, except those marked Bicycles Only? Please be courteous when passing walkers; if you have a bell, use it or call out, "on your left" or "on your right". It's common courtesy and will prevent those enjoying the Park from being forced off the trails. This is also critical behavior for Park Visitors tending their kids or their dogs.
Protection and Preservation Fund
A special thank you to all who donate to our long-term fund. See our growing list.
Canine Friends of the Park
Probably some of the biggest fans of the park system are the dogs that walk the trails -- and they would want to keep the park clean too!
Read why it's important to pick up the poop and don't pollute! Catch up on other Canine news as well.