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Friends of the
James River Park
December 2014 - In This Issue:

This past spring, Friends partnered with The James River Outdoor Coalition (JROC) to fund the purchase of Park Counters to tally the number of park visitors. These were placed at the main entrances into the JRPS. The results support projections provided by a VCU student surveys in 2012. This survey predicted anywhere from 500,000--1.5 million visitors per year. With the instillation of the park counters we now know that JRPS has had over 795,117 visitors from May 2014 until the end of October 2014. James River Park System is clearly the top dog when it comes to attendance. By May 2015 the annual visitor count is expected to be closer to the 1.5 million visitor prediction made in 2012. Interestingly, JRPS wasn't considered in the 2013 "20 Top Destinations" list published by the Richmond Times Dispatch on February 21, 2014. Using information provided by the Richmond Region Tourism office, their list has Maymont at the top with 527,153 visitors.

Who cares? Anyone who lives, works, or plays in the City of Richmond! The James River Park System provides a huge economic benefit to the City. Using the $16 per day per user estimate for park economic impact numbers from the 2014 edition of the Virginia Outdoors Plans. JRPS right now, provides a $12,721,872 economic impact directly to the City and local businesses. This is before you buy your bike, running shoes or paddling gear!
Join us for two of winter's best events

2012 parade of lights cout. of RTD

Parade of Lights from Libby Hill Park December 2012. Photo by Alexa Welch Edlund, Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Saturday, December 13 |
5:30 - 7:00 pm

Again this year FoJRP and JRPS staff will be on hand at Libby Hill Park (2801 E. Franklin St. in Church Hill) to enjoy the best view of the decorated parade boats as they make their way down the river to the Varina-Enon Bridge. We will be sharing hot soup and beverages to warm our fellow spectators. Join us for this fun event! 


The parade is sponsored by the James River Advisory Council, free. More information  Kimberly Conley at 804-748-1567 or


Sunday, December 21 | 5:30 pm

Join us as we mark the shortest day and the longest night of the year. Friends and JRPS staff will meet at the base of the footbridge on Belle Isle, where we'll enjoy a bonfire (JRPS-approved!), share hot cider and home-baked holiday cookies, read a poem or two, sing seasonal carols. Come celebrate the season with the Friends! Leashed dogs welcome!

Are you planning to change your e-mail address? Please contact the Friends ([email protected]) with your name plus your old and new e-mail addresses so we can update our records and you can continue to receive our e-news and special event announcements. We promise to be mindful and not blow up your mailbox with meaningless correspondence!

Christmas green keeps the park green!

Here are a few gift giving ideas for the JRPS lover in your life:

  • gift membership
  • donate to the Preservation & Protection Fund in their name (tax deductible)
  • park license plate
  • T-shirts

All these items are ready to purchase at: 


Or purchase your gifts from Amazon Smile (makes sure to designate your support for Friends of James River Park) and Amazon will donate a percentage of what you spend to FoJRP. 




With all the national election hoopla you could have missed the recent election of the FoJRP Board Officers held during our November meeting. Elected officers are listed below. Thanks to these individuals for their willingness to serve.

2014-2015 Officers

  • Phil Dawson, President
  • Nancy Fowler, Vice President
  • Katherine Godin, Secretary
  • Myrna Hartley, Treasurer
  • Adrienne Coxe, Event Planning


We are also looking for people with specific skill sets to add to the effectiveness of our board for both short and long-term projects. Currently we could use help with PR and marketing. If you enjoy the park or if someone you know has the ability to lend some expertise, please contact us at [email protected].

hiikers boardwalk at texas beach 2014
Recently completed boardwalk at at Texas Beach.

North Bank Park/Texas Beach 


On the north side of the James at 1941 Texas Ave. (south end of Texas Ave., near Maymont) you'll find the park section known to many as Texas Beach. Take the trail from the parking lot, cross the bridge over the train tracks and wander till you find a spot to your liking. Along with the newly completed wooden boardwalk over a wetland section of trail, you'll find many isolated sandy beaches, sunbathing rocks and shady spots. In warmer weather -- or for the brave -- the shallow waters and calm sands of Texas Beach are great for snorkeling. There is plenty to explore: fish, turtles, shells, snails and unusual river-bottom features.

If chilling isn't what you're about, Northbank Trail provides an excellent challenge for mountain bikers. The trail is part of the James River Trail loop and runs uninterrupted to the east all the way to Tredegar.

Another destination in the park is to cross the railroad pedestrian walkway and head west along the shoreline path (toward the Boulevard Bridge) to the site of the Foushee Mill. Directly south of Maymont, it can be hard to recognize due to trees and the train tracks. The mill, built in 1819 by Dr. William Foushee, was abandoned as a mill in the 1830s, and while there is nothing overly special about the mostly granite mill, or its history, the structure, at almost 200 years old, has survived flooding, vandalism and Mother Nature!



When left where dropped, pet waste can wash into the river--which is where we obtain our drinking water and enjoy activities like swimming and fishing.


The majority of dog owners are responsible, and they clean up after their pets. If you fall into this category, thank you. For the small minority of those who don't, you're ruining the park experience for everyone else. 


Please plan ahead and take care of your pet, please. If you forget to bring your own, many parcels of the park have poop bags attached to the brown waste receptacles. We don't need dog business in the waters of the James.

December Volunteer Day

42nd Street Entrance, 42nd St and Riverside Dr, Saturday, December 13, 9:00 am until noon.

Instead of painting the town this holiday season, how about coming out to paint the 42nd Street parking lot? We will be there on December 13th, bucket and brushes in hand ready to spruce things up. Registration is required through HandsOn Richmond.


This fall we have initiated a new sign-up procedure -- partnering with HandsOn Richmond to reach a larger audience. Sign up and join us for this event. Register at: 

volunteer day huguenot flat water 11-22-14 In November at Huguenot Flat Water 24 volunteers worked to remove the large pile of bush honeysuckle pictured here then planted 15 native shrubs (Chokeberry, Virginia Sweetspire, deciduous hollies) and a Fringe tree. Special thanks to Board member Vicki Shivy who brought hot apple cider to help keep everyone toasty on that chilly Saturday morning.

Virginia Climate Fever Book Talk | December 4
A new book, Virginia Climate Fever, documents the impacts of climate change across Virginia. Hear the author, environmental journalist Stephen Nash, talk about his book--which explains how climate change is affecting and will affect all of Virginia, not just in low-lying coastal areas. The talk will be followed by a Q&A session and then a book signing. Depending on availability, books will be available for purchase  (including sales tax, $20, which is 25% below retail price). Free. 6:00-8:00 p.m. Henrico North Park Library, 8508 Franconia Rd. Information: Kendyl Crawford 757-268-8810 or [email protected].

Full Moon Series | December 6
The December Full Moon Series at the Sugar Pad will feature a special visit from Riverfront Santa and The Hot Dog Man RVA and discussions concerning Stone Brewing, the Va. Capital Trail, changes to the Lehigh Cement property and the Ancarrow's Landing upgrade plus a variety show. Moonrise is at 4:51 pm, and the event runs from 4:00 to 9:00 pm. 3101 Wharf St. Parking in the Intermediate Terminal lot. For more information contact [email protected]

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day | December 7
Virginians pause to remember those who fought valiantly at Pearl Harbor in 1941. "Virginians at War" and "Pearl Harbor" films will be shown continuously in Reynolds Theater with a special remembrance ceremony from 2:00 to 3:00 pm. Free -- rain or shine. Co-sponsored by the Navy League of the United States, Richmond Council. Virginia War Memorial, 621 S. Belvidere St. Information at or contact [email protected].

Blessings of the Animals | December 12
The annual blessing will be performed at noon at Shockoe Slip's Morgan Fountain on 13th St. by Reverend Karen Thompson of Thompson's Border Collies to honor Richmond K9's, working horses and dogs and pets. Seasonal music performed by Susan Greenbaum. Owners and their pets are encouraged to dress in seasonal attire, and animals must be leashed at all times. Pet food donations will be collected for the Animal Adoption and Rescue Foundation. Sponsored by The Friends of the Richmond Mounted Squad. Free.

Maymont by Moonlight | December 12 and 19
Enjoy an enchanting holiday evening at Maymont ... by moonlight! Elegantly costumed ladies and gentlemen welcome you to the home of Major and Mrs. James H. Dooley to witness the excitement of Christmas 1893. The Dooleys' gracious family, guests and domestic staff bring to life the busy preparations for a special celebration -- the first Christmas in their new home. A horse-drawn carriage ride under the stars, seasonal refreshments, and carol singing by the bonfire make this an evening to remember! Friday, December 12 & 19, 5:30-9:30 pm, Maymont's Hampton Street Entrance. $28 per person/$22 members. Reservations required. Register online at or call 804-358-7166, ext. 329.

RVA NYE | December 31
Celebrate RVA New Year's Eve 2014 on Brown's Island. The tradition that started uptown continues downtown with a night of entertainment, community, and a completely brand new RVA NYE Ball--a party for Richmond to bring in 2015 with the whole town! 7 pm. Free. 18+ only. Brown's Island, Seventh and Tredegar Sts.

Our Mission
The Friends of the James River Park is an all- volunteer 501(c)(3) organization created by a dedicated group of citizens in 1999. Our mission is to provide an ongoing source of citizen support for the conservation, enhancement, and enjoyment of the 550-acre James River Park System and its natural and historic environments.