A Fun Way to Support the Friends

The Thrifty QuakerThe Midlothian Friends Meeting (Quakers) have selected the Friends of the James River Park as the beneficiary of proceeds from sales at their thrift store, the Thrifty Quaker, during the month of November. (Each month the store raises funds to support the work of mostly local charities.)

Please consider a donation of gently used household items or clothing to the store and plan a shopping trip there this month. Location: 13567 Midlothian Turnpike at the corner of Coalfield Rd., Midlothian VA 23113 (corner of the 'L'-shaped shopping center).

New Audio Tours Feature Ralph White

audio-tour iconScience in the Park audio tours

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:

headphone icon Take the North Bank Tour or the South Bank Tour.

More audio tours now available!

Ralph WhiteThree more tours are now available to park lovers. You’ll hear about what you are seeing, how it got there, and some of the reasons why the JRPS is special and worth preserving!

  • The Ecology of the River and Shoreline: A Sound History for the Trails of The Pony Pasture
  • Indians To Industry: A Sound History For Belle Isle
  • A Sound History For The Manchester Flood Wall

The above three tours were written and narrated by Ralph White and produced and developed by Vaughn Whitney Garland with financial support from The Friends of the James River Park.

headphone icon Listen to any of the tours listed above at righthereonce.org

Inaugural Season of Outdoor Adventure & Environmental Education Programs

zip line funThis past summer, two park staff members launched the inaugural season of outdoor adventure and environmental education programs for the JRPS. Designed to improve the quality of access to the park for city residents, these programs paid special attention to low-income individuals who face greater obstacles to enjoying outdoor recreation opportunities. The staff ran adventure camps for children in 12 city community centers during the week, incorporating environmental education lessons and exposing the participants to as many different areas of the park as possible.

Adults engaged in such activities as "Salamander Salutations," a weekly outdoor Yoga practice which has transitioned inside to the Reedy Creek headquarters building for the winter months. Also enjoyed were Thursday evening whitewater kayak clinics. Weekends were devoted to family-oriented programs, including the very fun-filled "paddle and potluck picnic" on a sandy island. A total of 700 people were involved in these outdoor recreation and environmental science activities between June and September.

JRPS Invasive Species Management Plan

invasive English ivyFriends 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.

Participating organizations

  • Friends of the James River Park, James River Association, James River Outdoor Coalition, Richmond Tree Stewards, Riverine Chapter, Va. Master Naturalists, VCU

Supporting organizations

  • 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

Potterfield BridgeProgress on the Riverfront Plan

The T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge -- the pedestrian/bike bridge connecting Brown's Island to Manchester climbing wall -- is underway, with a projected finish by August 2016. The bridge, which will stand 17 feet above the water, will be built atop an existing walkway structure.

Read more: City says dam walk project will be completed by August 2016.

Park Improvements

Manchester Climbing Wall Temporary Closing Update

The stair access from the base to the top of the Manchester Climbing wall will be closed starting early November 2015 due to construction. Access to the climbing walls will remain open but only from the bottom of the wall and eastern side for access. Fencing will be put up to at the top of the stairs to block access.

Water and Bike Stations Added in 2015

Bike StationIn case you haven't seen them, the JRPS now has two water fountains, one in the Reedy Creek parking lot and one at the entrance to the North Bank parking lot.

Additionally, there are now five bike repair stations in the park: at the top of the 21st St. entrance, in the Reedy Creek parking lot, at the bike skills park on Belle Isle, along the Capital Trail at Great Shiplock Park, and on the western side of Brown's Island.


Science in the Park News

iNaturalist screen shotiNaturalist Project continues to grow

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:

Volunteer Opportunities

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!

Choose Your Adventure

Pumphouse Park

Pumphouse ParkPumphouse Park includes one of the city's most iconic buildings, an impressive granite Victorian Gothic structure built in 1882-3, which once served as Richmond's primary water pumping station. This small area of the park system also includes three historic canals, two granite canal locks and an 18th-century canal archway constructed to commemorate a visit by George Washington. A small granite quarry lies to the right of the park's entrance. The northernmost canal, the Power Feeder canal, fed the turbines for pumping water to Byrd Park. The middle canal was part of the Kanawha Canal System, which was constructed to go around Richmond's rapids, and the lowest canal was the beginning of the James River Canal System, the first in the country. Wooden bridges provide access over the canals.

Although the building is not usually open to the public, there are occasional tours and there are dreams of rehabilitating the upper floor, once the site of society dances. A few trails pass through the wooded portions of this park and make it an interesting and historical destination for a walk. Please watch your children in this area due to all the hazards. Note, too, that you cannot access the river from here; CSX owns land between the park and the water. On-street parking available. 1627 Pump House Dr., 23221.

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!

$ x 2Matching gifts

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.

amazonsmileFOJRP 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!

more news and events »

Today in the Park

Current weather, water conditions, trails info, activities ...

Map it! Plan your park visit.

Map It!

Listen and Learn! Tune in to our audio tours. headphone icon

Listen and learn with out audio tours

Watch it! Check out these Science in the Park videos.

Otters in the James River Park from Friends of James River Park on Vimeo.

T-shirts and pamphlets for sale!

shopping cartOur 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.

James River Park Protection and Preservation Fund

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!

Please Pick Up After Your Pet

Read why it's important to pick up the poop and don't pollute! Catch up on other Canine news as well.


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