The Friends » What We Do

Friends offers the opportunity to become directly involved in the protection, preservation, and maintenance of Richmond’s most popular park.

We have an extensive to-do list, including longer-term projects initiated by our volunteer board and tasks requested by JRPS staff.


Here are some highlights …

Friends of the James River Park needs you!

The FOJRP Board of Directors works to address the Park’s critical needs through advocating for support, providing financial assistance, promoting Park activities and developing opportunities for citizen participation. Please consider serving your park by joining our Board.

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A large part of our work is being the voice of the Park.

  • We provide a presence at Richmond City Council meetings where we speak on issues impacting the Park
  • We support park staff by articulating the need for the City to increase financial support.
  • We write letters in support of, or in opposition to, proposed legislation.

Through this type of perseverance The James River Park Conservation Easement became a legal agreement protecting areas of James River Park from development or sale, forever preserving the wilderness that characterizes most of the James River Park.

We protect the easement by conducting annual inspections, walking through each protected acre to assure that there are no encroachments. We also attend the Riverfront project meetings to ensure the City respects the boundaries of the Conservation Easement.


We take time to enjoy the the fruits of our labor to sponsor:

  • The annual members’ Picnic at the Pumphouse, a down-home event with live music, fried chicken, potluck sides and lots of fun.
  • The Ralph White River Heroes Award ceremony to acknowledge and honor individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to James River Park. Past recipients’ wide-ranging efforts included volunteer work, educational efforts, preservation, and promotional activities that encourage responsible use of the Park.
  • Every December we meet on Belle Isle for a Winter Solstice Celebration where we roast marshmallows, sing carols and generally spread good cheer as we commemorate the day with the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year.


We hope to enrich the Park experience for visitors through the use of web-based, audio-based and self-directed explorations. We believe it is only when people know something they love it; and only when people love something will they cherish and protect it.

  • Our website hosts Science in the Park providing easy ways for you to become a citizen scientist with science-focused educational materials about the geology, habitats, and flora and fauna of the James River Park.
  • Our Audio Tours selections offer smart phone audio tours that explore the secrets of the James River Parks’ unique geology.
  • We are the presenting sponsor of RVAOspreycam, a project by Richmond Outside.
  • Park staff provides on-going fee-base outdoor adventure and environmental education programs which Friends support through development and sponsorship of the Park’s global calendar of events.


Consistently underfunded and understaffed, the James River Park relies on groups such as the Friends of James River Park to help keep it operating. In turn, FOJRP relies on multiple avenues to raise funds in support of the Park. Membership dues, donations through this website and AmazonSmile, proceeds from the purchase of the JRPS License Plate, grant awards all provide the needed capital used to:

  • supplement park budgets (tool purchases, volunteer events, additional port-a-potties)
  • make capital purchases (dump trailer, kiosks,…)
  • publish promotional materials (website, monthly e-newsletter, Park Facebook page)
  • fund park improvements and special projects (invasive species plan, stair and walkways, wildlife blinds, develop a park-wide strategic plan)
  • protect the JRPS for future generations (insurance to defend challenges to the Conservation Easement).


With over a million visitors annually, the JRPS is no longer a secret urban wildness. To support positive interaction within the Park, Friends provides visitors information about Richmond’s most popular park through delivery of a monthly e-newsletter, maintenance of the Park’s Facebook page and direction and funding of this website.

We co-sponsored the development of the Park’s global calendar to provide visitors a schedule of multiple organizations’ volunteer opportunities and the slate of programs developed and run by Park staff.

We also are there represent the park with a booth at special events such as Earth Day, Dominion RiverRock, the Parade of Lights and the Banff Film Festival.


Volunteers are the main reason for the Friends’ success in supporting the Park. Friends is an all-volunteer organization with a long and varied to-do list. Describing our typical volunteer is difficult, because they come in many shapes and sizes, some have specialized skills, like public relations or grant writing. Others help with committee work and special projects. They are individuals, couples, Scout troops, civic groups, retirees and college students. The bottom line is, if you have the time and want to help the Park, there’s a place for you in Friends of the James River Park. You can start by:
  • registering at where you can sign up for one of the Friends’ monthly volunteer events
  • attending a Board meeting (always at 6:30 on the first Tuesday of every month at the Reedy Creek Park Headquarters)
  • supporting one of our committees

However you choose to participate we hope you’ll become the newest member of our volunteer team.