A 2023 Recap, and Hopes for ’24

Dear Friends-

Friends of the James River Park played a pivotal role in 2023, leaving an indelible mark on the community and the natural environment. As citizen stewards of the James River Park System, our tireless efforts throughout the year showcased a commitment to preservation, education, and community engagement.

One of the key achievements of FOJRP in 2023 was our successful advocacy for the restoration and conservation of the park’s diverse ecosystems. Through collaborative initiatives with local authorities and environmental organizations, we worked diligently to address invasive species and litter issues in the Park. Our hands-on approach included organizing community clean-up events, tree plantings, and supporting invasive species removal projects through the JRPS Invasive Plant Task Force. These efforts not only enhanced the ecological integrity of the Park but also fostered a sense of environmental stewardship among community members and local businesses.

Education remained a cornerstone of FOJRP’s mission throughout the year. In the last quarter of the calendar year, we were able to fundraise and purchase a brand new custom bike trailer for the JRPS Education crew. That new trailer was delivered to HQ last week. It will be wrapped with graphics and put into service this Spring. The Wood River Run also raised around $20,000 to provide scholarships to Passages Adventure Camp.

Furthermore, FOJRP made significant strides in improving Park infrastructure in 2023. We worked with the City to complete several major improvement projects like the Reedy Creek Bypass Trail, the Tredegar St. Boat Ramp, installing new gates at Belle Isle, and repainting the parking lot lines throughout the Park. These Park enhancements have been noticed and appreciated by hundreds of thousands of Park users so far.

Vehicle purchases were a theme throughout 2023. We started the year with the purchase of a new Jeep Wrangler to be used as a patrol vehicle for the new Urban Ranger program. We also purchased a Marooka crawler carrier in the Spring and a brand new Tool Cat utility vehicle in the Fall for the Trail Crew. These vehicles have made a big difference in how the Park is maintained, and we are excited to see them in use.

As 2023 draws to a close, Friends of the James River Park radiates optimism for the new year. Buoyed by the successes of the past year, we see a brighter future for the Park and its community. The momentum gained in 2023 fuels our belief that, with continued dedication and support, we could achieve even greater milestones in the years to come.

Best wishes in 2024,

Josh Stutz
Executive Director


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