600 acres, over 40 miles of trails, and home to countless climbers, kayakers, bikers, paddleboarders, hikers, runners, and more – all nestled in an urban environment in a thriving metropolitan area.
How do you manage that with a staff of seven and an annual budget well under a half million dollars?
According to Superintendent Bryce Wilk, very carefully and with the support of a ton of volunteers.
As the James River Park has grown, so have the number of visitors. It went from 1.3 million in 2015 to nearly 2 million last year. In addition to simply maintaining the Park, that calls for new and improved infrastructure, like new trails, better signage, and increased accessibility for disabled visitors who want to enjoy what the Park offers.
Wilk recently told Richmond Magazine that in 2017 over 1,800 volunteers spent over 7,000 hours gathering trash, removing graffiti, tackling invasive plants, and more.
Part of our job as Friends of the James River Park is to feed a supply of those volunteers. We also help Wilk determine the best bang-for-the-buck for the limited funding the Park does receive. We provide input on where we think the Park should be going, and advocate for the funds needed to keep it moving forward.
But it’s not an easy job, for us or for Wilk.
How do you provide a thriving environment for hundreds of acres of outdoor recreation space with limited funds and a small staff.
It’s all about Asset Management. The James River Park is our asset.
* Wonderful drone photo by Dave Parrish Photography