Support the Park!
News and Events
Celebrate the Spotted Salamander!
Sometime soon on a cold rainy night, a migration will take place. Keep your nights free and your raincoats and headlamps handy ...
The James River Park’s icon, the Spotted Salamander, is on target for mating. The vernal pool along Riverside Drive contains egg masses that we hope will result in a successful breeding season this year.
The pool, maintained by Park staff, will remain full for the mating and larval season and drained before mosquito season!
Riverfront Grant Approved
At the Friends of James River Park August 2012 meeting, the Richmond Regional Planning District Commission gave a presentation regarding an application for a competitive grant for the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program to be used for trails and signage on Chapel Island along the James River, just west of Great Shiplock Park. FOJRP supported the RRPDC's grant application and our board voted to support the Chapel Island/James River Public Access Enhancement Project with $5,000 from our general fund and 200 hours of volunteer labor from our members.
In November 2012 we were notified by the RRPDC that the grant has been awarded! Thanks to the RRPDC for all the heavy-lifting! This eastern section of the city desperately needs more park and river access and opening Chapel Island, which is city property, and accessible from the Great Shiplock Park section of the James River Park System and adjacent to the Capital to Capital Bicycle Trail, will add so much to Richmond's robust urban park system.
FOJRP is proud to be part of a project that will open river access of what is now an underused area to underserved communities. River access at Chapel Island will offer health benefits, wildlife viewing opportunities, fishing, walking, paddling, and other environmentally friendly activities to a wider community.
James River in 90 Seconds
Enjoy this wonderful aerial footage of the James River, taken by Richard MacDonald.
Richmond, Virginia, Claims Top Spot in Outside’s Annual Issue Highlighting the Best Places to Live
Santa Fe, NM | September 6, 2012: Outside, America’s leading active-lifestyle brand, has selected Richmond, VA as the winner in its search to determine the best river town in America, following a four-week competition held on Facebook that was sponsored by Good ‘n Natural bar.
As the “Best Town Ever,” Richmond will be honored with a special mosaic cover on Outside’s October 35th anniversary issue, composed of images submitted by readers during the Facebook competition. The mosaic cover will also be featured in a special interactive display on Outside Online that will allow visitors to view the individual photographs that were used to construct the image of downtown Richmond.
In order to select the finalists towns that faced off in the Facebook competition, Outside teamed up with the environmental non-profit American Rivers, identifying the top 10 river towns in the U.S. based on quality-of-living criteria, active recreational engagement with nearby waterways -- kayaking, fishing, boating, walking and bike paths, and riverfront parks -- and a positive environmental stewardship. Outside then called on the public to help select the winning town through its Best Town Ever Facebook app. Richmond bested a list of cities that included Hood River, Oregon; Nevada City, California; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Asheville, North Carolina; Nashville, Tennessee; Boise, Idaho; Missoula, Montana; Durango, Colorado; and Ithaca, New York.
”I think a lot of people will be surprised by the choice,” says Outside editor Christopher Keyes. ”Our writer certainly was. But after he spent three days in the city, paddleboarding on the James River, trail running on its banks, and dining all over, he was ready to pack his moving van. Richmond is the real deal -- a true haven for adventurous types.”
”Good ‘n Natural would like to congratulate Richmond, VA for being selected as the Outside ”Best Towns” program winner. It was a great contest and the competition was stiff. Hats off to Richmond!”, says Ann Scales and Sarah Walker, Good ‘n Natural® bar cofounders.
In addition to the “Best Town Ever” feature, the 35th anniversary issue of Outside will highlight an array of crowd-sourced content as part of its “Reader Issue” theme. To create the issue, Outside spent three months using Outside Online and all of their vibrant social media platforms to gather reader stories, advice, input, and passion -- and then channeled all of that into rich content throughout the pages of the October issue.
Friday Cheers in honor of Raph White
The last Friday Cheers of the season honored Park Manager Ralph White, who retired in January 2013.
Trampled by Turtles and GoldRush provided a great concert, and Venture Richmond honored Ralph's years of service to the city and region while hundreds gathered along the river, despite the warm temps!
2012 River Heroes: STEIDEL & VELZY
We're exceedingly happy to announce that after careful deliberation, our panel has chosen two very worthy and talented River Heroes: Robert Steidel, Director of Richmond's Department of Public Utilities and Greg Velzy, Adventure Programmer for Chesterfield County Parks and Recreation. Both gentlemen go well beyond their job descriptions and have championed the James River in fundamental ways.
VCU CreateAThon Students Create A Ton!
If we told you everything our team of five talented, passionate, energetic (and tired) VCU students came up with during their marathon 24-hour Spring Break session, it would exhaust you! FOJRP was one of 10 local non-profits chosen to participate in this wonderful pro bono effort.
To help FOJRP reach out to Spanish-speaking park users, Adrian Robertson, Alex Ledford, Isabella Althoff, team leader Lauren Albee and Liz Vidal created more than a dozen targeted, workable fantastic pieces. Among them: a charming Spanish radio spot featuring the park-loving Super Amigo, sharp-looking signs and slogans, fabulous event ideas, trash bag designs, a logo for Spanish-speaking friends, Spanish info for our web site, a bonus radio spot in English and more! Our favorite line and sign: Take Pride. Éste es tu río. (It's your river.)
Our next step is to put this creativity into action in the park, in the community and on our web site. We can't thank our team, coordinator Tara Hendelman and leader Peyton Rowe, enough. THANK YOU, CREATEATHON, from the bottom of our park and river-loving hearts!
Slave Trail Dedication Ceremony
|Slave Trail Dedication Ceremony|
Several members of Friends of James River Park took part in the solemn and celebratory unveiling of 17 interpretive markers along the 2.5 mile Richmond Slave Trail Sunday, April 10, 2011. Park Manager Ralph White led the litany for those gathered at the second marker, The Mechanics of Slavery.
Following the unveiling, the main ceremony at the site of Lumpkin's Slave Jail in Shockoe Bottom included Mayor Dwight Jones, Governor Robert McDonnell, Delegate and Chair of the Slave Trail Commission, Delores McQuinn, many other dignitaries and more than 500 attendees. The Slave Trail begins at the Manchester Docks area just west of Ancarrow's Landing, in the easternmost part of the James River Park System, crosses the James River on the Mayo Bridge and winds around Shockoe Bottom. Near the end of the two hour ceremony, Jeannie Welliver, Slave Trail Commission Project Manager, lauded city of Richmond Parks & Rec employees, Ralph White, Nathan Burrell, and Peter Bruce for their tireless work taking care of and promoting the slave trail for 18 years with virtually no budget. We salute them as well for keeping a crucial part of Richmond's and the nation's history safe until the city was ready to acknowledge it properly.
With the markers in place, a walk along the trail is now more meaningful than ever, and can be appreciated without a guide, but we encourage you to take advantage of guided tours when they are available. This Satudrday, April 16, Civil War/Emancipation Day, there will be guided tours of the trail. See civilwar.emancipationday.net for details. On June 18, the Elegba Folklore Society will lead a dramatic torchlit trail walk at night as the culmination of Juneteenth, and on June 25, Ralph White will lead another torchlit trail walk.
River lovers at The Boathouse ... reception for new sculpture
There was a great turn-out Thursday, Jan. 20 at a reception hosted by The Boathouse at Rockett's Landing to welcome The Deepwater Sponger, a massive 2,000 lb. cast iron sculpture by Richmonder Charles Ponticello, to the riverfront.
Our very own Anne Wright, FOJRP board member, Asst. Professor of Biology at VCU, and self-described "insect geek" shared some fascinating findings from grad student research going on right here in the James in Richmond that points to a healthy ecosystem. To sum up in laymen's terms: 1) when stoneflies decide the middle of Richmond is more fun to live in than the mountains that's proof of a healthy river here and 2) seeing sturgeon sperm on a screen doesn't make one pine for caviar.
We are brewing ideas for a series of river talks by local experts. If you're interested in helping organize this, contact us at email@example.com.
RVA James River news
Richmonders love their river. There are many sources for James River specific current news.
Here's a sampling: