Nomination Period for River Heroes Now Closed
2015 Ralph White River Hero Award
Excitement is building for the newly renamed Ralph White River Hero Award, sponsored by the Friends of the James River Park.
Nominations for this year's awards have closed. Plan to join us at VCU Rice Center on April 30, 2015 for the award presentation!
Groups Work to Improve Park Experience
Buttermilk Trail Extended
Members of rvaMORE and other volunteers have been hard at work building Buttermilk East, a new trail heading east from the 22nd Street tower and continuing east toward the Lee Bridge, with the ultimate goal of connecting to the Floodwall. Expanding our urban trails and greenway! Volunteers hard at work on Buttermilk East. Photo credit: Richard Chittickpe.
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.
Science in the Park Video in RVA Environmental Film Festival
The latest Science in the Park video on blueback herring and American shad spawning in our great river was a runner up selection in the 2015 RVA Environmental Film Festival and was shown on the big screen in Feburary.
James River Park System By the Numbers
Visitors to the park
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 900,000 visitors from May 2014 until December 2014.
James River Park System is clearly a 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.
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!
- Read a recent Richmond Times-Dispatch article: New research shows James River Park is region's most-visited site.
Volunteers are important too!
Can we place a dollar value on our volunteers? Volunteering is about helping other individuals and the community. Volunteering means working with others to make a meaningful contribution. And the how and why people volunteer is as individual as the people are themselves.
Volunteers play a vital role in the life of the JRPS. Clean-ups, graffiti removal, invasive species removal and native replanting, trail improvements, fundraising, event planning, promoting, board membership: these are all tasks performed by park volunteers. The impact of their service is evident throughout the park.
As a way to acknowledge the contributions of our volunteers, we assigned a dollar figure to the 7,177 hours given to the park in 2014. Although there are a number of ways to calculate an hourly rate, we used the Federal Government's recommended figure of $22/hour and came up with a total man-hour value of $157,894. While this total is surprisingly high, it is in the nature of volunteering where we truly find its worth. The virtue in volunteering is much deeper, much more fulfilling and much more important in contributing to a healthy and vibrant community than money can ever measure. Volunteerism is priceless!
We offer a special thanks to all of you who gave your time to benefit the park in 2014.
State Awards city $75,000 Grant to Conserve Vauxhall Island
In January, the Enrichmond Foundation completed its purchase of the 2.82-acre undeveloped Vauxhall Island, which lies upstream of the Mayo Bridge and next to the blue heron rookery at the Pipeline Rapids. Subsequently, the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation, a state board, announced that, as one of 14 projects, Vauxhall Island will benefit from a $75,000 matching-funds grant awarded to Richmond for the property's conservation.
- Read more at the Richmond Times Dispatch.
Choose Your Adventure: Huguenot Flatwater
A quieter part of the JRPS, Huguenot Flatwater Park is located directly underneath the Huguenot Bridge and is bordered to the east by Rattlesnake Creek and to the west by Old Southampton Road. Accessible by two parking lots, this 37-acre park parcel includes river access steps, a wooden boat ramp for canoes, kayaks and inner tubes, and a series of footpaths, as well as a changing room. A set of stairs leads to a viewpoint of the remains of the Old Westham Bridge, another reminder of the city's past. Several side paths lead to the shoreline, providing access to bank fishing, one of the park's most pleasant activities. Photo credit: James River News Hub.
See all in the Choose Your Adventure series.
Events in and around and for the Park
Owl Prowl | March 5
The Richmond Audubon Society is leading an owl prowl in the James River Park. On Thursday, March 5, from 6:30 – 7:30pm at 3399 Landria Dr, Richmond, VA 23225 they will take a short night hike with the hopes of hearing and possibly attracting the resident owls. The program is for all ages and will start with a short introduction into the lives of these nocturnal birds. Dress appropriately and don’t forget a flashlight. For more information, contact Ellison Orcutt at fieldtrips@Richmondaudubon.org.
Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour | March 6 and 7 (ticket sales begin 1/5/15)
Experience adventure on the big screen! The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour will exhilarate and inspire you as you journey to exotic locations, paddle the wildest waters, and climb the highest peaks. Different films each night. Adults $7 (both nights $12), 18 years and under $4 (both nights $7), ages 4 and under free. James River High School, 3700 James River Rd., 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. each night. For more information go to chesterfield.gov/ProgramGuide/ or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For tickets call 804-748-1623.
"Frogs and their Importance" | March 11, 7:00 p.m.
Sierra Club's Falls of the James Groups hosts Richmond chef Brian Munford for a presentation about these important amphibians. As a volunteer citizen scientist for the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program, he studies and evaluates frog populations. He will also bring a frog specialist from the Va. Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to handle more technical questions. Jepson Alumni Center, U of R Campus, 49 Crenshaw Way. virginia.sierraclub.org/foj/.
CBF Potluck Supper | March 12, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is continuing its monthly suppers for like-minded folks to discuss water quality issues. A potluck dinner with an award for the best dish of the night, the gathering always features a speaker discussing Bay-related topics. This month, CBF's Robert Jennings will speak about Native Plants and Bayscaping. REI Short Pump Community Room, 2020 Old Brick Rd, Glen Allen. E-mail RSVP to: BF_Richmond@cbf.org.
Flight of the Butterflies | through March 13
The Science Museum of Virginia presents the 2012 Canadian documentary film about zoologist Fred Urquhart's scientific investigation of monarch butterflies, a film directed and co-written by Mike Slee starring Megan Follows, Gordon Pinsent and Shaun Benson. Mondays-Sundays, 12-12:45 p.m., $9. 2500 W. Broad St. More at smv.org.
March Volunteer Day: Manchester Climbing Wall | Saturday, March 14, 9:00 a.m. until noon
The March volunteer project will be a trash cleanup at the Manchester Climbing Wall/future site of the dam walk. All volunteers will need to park behind the SunTrust Building located at 901 Semmes Avenue. Please park anywhere along that street where parking is permitted. Staff member Matt Mason will be meeting volunteers at the street and walking them to the cleanup site. Please be sure to register beforehand at HandsOnRVA.
James River Run | March 15
The 4th annual James River Run at The Reedy Creek Meadow in the James River Park takes place on Sunday, March 15. The course will wind through single track trails next to the James before taking runners over to Belle Isle and eventually back to the meadow via Buttermilk Trail. There will be a longer 10K version of the race that will take runners into Forest Hill Park before finishing the race back at The Reedy Creek Meadow. Online registration is $25 for both the 5k and 10k races. In person registration will also be available the day of the event for $30. All proceeds from this event will go to the James River Park System in honor of Greg Hawkins. More at jamesriverrun.org.
Reprogramming the City: Opportunities for Urban Infrastructure | through March 22
A global overview of the ways existing structures, systems and surfaces of cities around the world are being redesigned. Virginia Center for Architecture, 2501 Monument Ave. 804-644-3041. More at architectureva.org.
22nd Earth Day Richmond Festival | April 18, 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Mark your calendars for central Virginia's longest-running Earth Day celebration. An interactive hands-on children's area, local food and drink, and live music performances are some of the attractions for this event at the Great Shiplock Park, 2701 Dock St.
Venomous Snakes | permanent exhibit
This new permanent exhibit at Maymont features the three venomous snake species -- the northern copperhead, eastern cottonmouth and timber rattlesnake -- native to Virginia. Robins Nature and Visitor Center, 2201 Shields Lake Dr., Tuesdays-Sundays. Cost is included with Nature Center admission.
Virginia Rocks: Geologic Selections from the Collection | through June
This exhibition in the Lora Robins Gallery of Design from Nature highlights the varied geological areas of the state and the processes that shaped the land. Focus is placed on the history and future use of Virginia's mineral and energy resources and how these resources impact the economy and environment. University of Richmond Museums, 28 Westhampton Way, Sunday through Friday, 1 to 5 p.m., closed Saturdays. Contact 808-289-8276 or museums.richmond.edu.
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.
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.