A Most Excellent Summer

Hello Friends of the James River Park!

I am writing this on the last day of what has been an excellent Summer for Friends of the James River Park. We have been hard at work using your donated dollars and volunteer support to protect, expand, and enhance the James River Park System. We appreciate the trust you place in us and I wanted to share a little bit more with you about what we have been getting up to.

Just this past weekend we celebrated the 50th Birthday of the James River Park System. We hosted a series of events to commemorate the occasion, and hundreds of you came out to show your support.

On Thursday more than 60 people came to Basic City Beer Company to hear Ralph White share his stories of how the Park came to be, and how it developed in his more than 30 years as superintendent. He told tales about the biker gangs that used to hang out at Pony Pasture, talked a little bit about his philosophy, and even treated everyone there to a view of what the original JRPS uniform looked like. We hope to be able to replicate the success of this event on special occasions in the future.

On Saturday we threw the official JRPS Birthday Party on Belle Isle. We were joined in that effort by about a dozen different community groups, outfitters, and government agencies. This event was focused on providing visitors with the chance to try out some of the recreational activities that can be done in the park. Hundreds of people got to try something new and learn about the different groups that help make our Park great. Special thanks to Whitten Brothers Automotive for sponsoring this event, and to all of the groups that joined us that day.

We also hosted our annual Park Friends Celebration at Legend Brewing on Saturday evening. This event was our chance to interact with our supporters and provide an update on all of the important work that we have going on. More than 100 people joined us on the patio at Legend to listen to music and ask me questions. We were able to “unveil” our annual impact report at this event as well. You can check that out by following this link.

In project news, the Belle Isle interpretive signage project is completed. In total nine newly designed interpretive signs will be installed to replace the hodge-podge of signs that have been installed over the past 30 years. The old, heavily vandalized signs will be removed as well. We are also in the design process for a new trail that would separate pedestrian and vehicular traffic near the Reedy Creek Visitors Center/JRPS HQ.

We are very excited to be able to support the expansion of the Park this year! Our board recently approved spending some funding to support the inclusion of a specific property into the Park.  We are working closely with the Capital Region Land Conservancy to facilitate the inclusion of this new land into the conservation easement, and eventually the JRPS.  We hope to announce the details of that project in the next few weeks.

We are very excited to be able to support the expansion of the Park this year!

Finally, thanks to all of you for your continued support and we look forward to seeing you throughout the Fall!

* Special thanks to Dave Parrish Photography for the wonderful images!

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