New Park Geology Audio Tours Feature Ralph White
Explore the secrets of the James River Parks' unique geology with new smart phone audio tours. Former James River Park Manager Emeritus Ralph White narrates these guided tours, which were produced by Anne Wright for Science In The Park and developed by sound artist Vaughn Whitney Garland. Follow along on your mobile device, guided by live mapping. Read the Times Dispatch article about the tours, and check them out yourself:
JRPS Invasive Species Management Plan
Friends has taken the lead by sponsoring the development of the James River Park System Invasive Species Management Plan. Phase one is to survey and record the type and location of invasive plant species to determine the relative abundance of these plants throughout the park. Check back soon for progress updates.
In January, a local volunteer organization -- Richmond Tree Stewards -- began the campaign to remove invasive species from areas of Belle Isle, the most visited section of the JRPS. The Stewards have just received a $15,000 grant from the Dominion Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Dominion Resources, to plant native trees and shrubs in those areas. The grant will help to restore habitat as well as educate us laypersons about environmental stewardship.
- Friends of the James River Park, James River Association, James River Outdoor Coalition, Richmond Tree Stewards, Riverine Chapter, Va. Master Naturalists, VCU
- Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Virginia Native Plant Society, Pocahontas Chapter, Capital Region Land Conservancy, Sierra Club, Falls of the James chapter, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay
JRPS Named One of Six of the Best River Parks in the U.S.
Retail outdoor outfitter REI has declared Richmond's James River Park System to be among six of the best river parks in the United States. In their paddle tagged blog, REI notes that river parks not only create economic benefits for a town, they act as engaging cultural centers. See who else was included in the list.
Renovation at 22nd Street
Have you had a chance to check out the improvements at the 22nd Street entrance? If not, watch it happen in time lapse-video below!
Science in the Park News
Become part of a worldwide team of outdoor lovers as we photograph and record the plants and animals of James River Park on iNaturalist, a website that is creating a "living record of life on Earth" Your digital photographs and sound file records will document the species in the Park, but don't worry if you are not an expert in photography or species identification. Beginners welcome and encouraged, and this is a great resource for teachers!
Game Cameras Spot Two New Species
We keep adding to the videos of otters, mink, raccoons and all variety of critters that have been spotted in the James River Park System. New in August 2015 -- wild turkeys and Eastern Cottontail rabbits! Check out the Game Camera Project, and read the Richmond Times Dispatch article about the project:
- Cameras record the often hidden lives of wildlife
- And find out more about the creatures that live in the park.
FOJRP Cleanups on holiday
The Friends have suspended their monthly volunteer Saturdays for the summer due to the park staff's busy schedule. Stay tuned for announcements of autumn plans. Meanwhile check below for two easy methods to help out all summer long.
Any Saturday Meetup
Almost any Saturday you have free time, you can help keep the James River watershed clean by going to www.meetup.com/RVA-Clean-Sweep and finding a location that needs your strong back and warm heart.
In Around and For the James River Park
Have you seen the new mobile-friendly James River Park calendar?
The events below are pulled from the global calendar. Many JRPS-friendly organizations are posting their events to this calendar. Check it out!
Memorial Bike Rack Project
Kirk Richardson, who has taught a service-learning class at VCU that partners with the James River Park System, has launched an IndieGoGo campaign to raise funds for a series of four bike racks that will memorialize the Union soldiers who lived in the prisoner of war camp on Belle Isle from 1862 to 1865.
Modeled on the shape of the Sibley tents in which the soldiers lived, the racks will change form through the series to express metaphorically the deteriorating conditions in the camp as the years went by.
Read more and see how to donate.
James River Hikers Work Throughout the Park
The James River Hikers recently installed a boardwalk at Texas Beach, with supplies brought there via a batteau. Later the group added a few feet to the boardwalk to help folks keep their feet out of the mud.
Additionally, the Hikers have been replacing boardwalks and bridges at Pony Pasture and have made a remarkable difference at Pumphouse Park, having cleared underbrush adjacent to canals and painted structures. The Washington Arch, part of one canal, is now visible from both sides -- a major improvement. For more about this group, go to www.meetup.com/James-River-Hikers.
JROC Builds Stairs at Texas Beach Access
Our friends at the James River Outdoor Coalition (JROC) have been busy building, at which they are expert. Using REI grant funds for the materials, JROC members have constructed a new stairway access to the Northbank Trail from the Texas Beach parking lot. These stairs replace a very steep, slippery, eroding slope that's a crucial connection to the Northbank Trail. You can find them on your next JRPS hiking adventure, heading east from the parking lot, just before the bridge over the train tracks.
Choose Your Adventure
The largest and least developed section in the JPRS, the 2.6-mile long Main Area extends from the iconic railroad bridge near the Powhite Bridge to the Manchester Climbing Wall and lies between the river and Riverside Drive.
This heavily wooded section includes near-shore islands, side channels, great outcroppings of rocks where you can jump across to Belle Isle, side trails to the shore, the Buttermilk East and Buttermilk Proper trails, meadows, a bug garden next to park headquarters, wetlands, rapids, a kayak and canoe takeout, and a service road giving access to Belle Isle.
Wildlife is abundant, the nooks and crannies allow for more secluded river experiences, and remnants of the past, such as part of a small canal lock and old mill foundations, are present. There are three entrances with parking lots off Riverside Drive at 43rd Street, Reedy Creek and 21st/22nd Streets.
See all in the Choose Your Adventure series.
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.
Message from the Richmond Police Department on Summer Safety in the JRPS
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.
Stay on the Trails Please!
With so many bikers, joggers, hikers and dog walkers in the park, the trails get a lot of use. Winter freeze and spring rains make them vulnerable to erosion and long-term damage. When there are puddles on your route it can be tempting to go around them. Realize that, by widening the path, you are adding to trail erosion and destruction of vegetation ... creating problems.
The trails are maintained by park staff and volunteers who work to balance the needs of the people who enjoy outdoor recreation and the need to maintain healthy ecosystems. Become aware how your use impacts the park and TREAD LIGHTLY!
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.