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Friends of the
James River Park
July 2014 - In This Issue:
From left: Ralph White and Rich Young proudly show off their awards.

Most of you know one of the winners, Ralph White, former superintendent of JRPS, who was chosen for his ceaseless devotion to the park, a devotion which has been largely responsible for the wonderful amenity we enjoy today. His more than 30 years of work with JRPS have helped to create a national model for urban wilderness parks, and he has been recognized by both The Garden Club of America and the Sierra Club for his conservation efforts.

If a picture paints a thousand words, Rich Young has said millions. If you are one of his 500 Facebook friends, you are familiar with Rich's photos of river scenes, activities, people, flora and fauna. What many do not know about Rich is that he has been involved as a volunteer at JRP for over 20 years and has participated in innumerable projects. Whether it's building a structure, promoting an event, or helping to educate park users about an issue, Rich has quietly lent a hand to vastly improve, enhance, and champion James River Park. Rich also teaches paddling. His classes have helped hundreds of people learn to safely enjoy the river in canoes or kayaks. (

The Friends have been getting this question a lot lately. This is probably due to some name confusion with James River State Park in Gladstone. But you're probably thinking "what a great idea!" Yes, it would be terrific to spend the night out in the park. And hopefully one day primitive camping will be allowed on some of the islands. But, unfortunately for now, camping is not allowed. The park's hours are from sun-up until sun-down daily -- no overnight guests please (not all parking lots open at sunrise). If you're looking for a campsite close to home, try Pocahontas State Park. 
RVAmore publishes new map 

RVAmore has just published a new trail map which includes the five major downtown trails -- many within the James River Park System (JRPS). Loops of the system can range between 8 and 13 miles depending on the route taken and the maps can be found at
Summer brings litter to park 

Summer has arrived and with it -- litter. Please consider others when enjoying the park and pick up and dispose of your trash and recycling correctly. If you carry it in, please carry it out!
The Commonwealth Transportation Board allocated $2.5 million in state funds to supplement the $7 million the city has on hand for Richmond's riverfront plan. This action is a key step in ensuring that the highly anticipated Brown's Island dam walk project has sufficient funding to proceed. The state allocation boosts the likelihood that the bridge will be completed in time for the 2015 International Cycling Union Road World Championships.

"This money gives us clear sailing on getting all the Brown's Island [dam walk] stuff done, which we think will be an outstanding addition to the city," said city Planning Director Mark Olinger.

The city will now have about $9.5 million to proceed with riverfront projects, and the dam walk has been estimated to cost a little less than $8 million, Olinger said.

Last month, the city Planning Commission passed a resolution to name the bridge in honor of the late T. Tyler Potterfield, a senior planner with the city who was leading the dam walk project before his sudden death in late April. Officials have said they hope to have a design completed by the end of the summer. Construction could begin by the end of the year.

The Friends' annual picnic was a hands-down success. With over 150 attendees, music by the Cary Street Ramblers, and lots of great food, the Pump House was the place to be on June 7. If you missed the fun, we'll be doing it all again next year so watch our newsletter for the date!

Thank you to our sponsors: taZa Coffee 'n Cream, Galley Restaurant, Once Upon a Vine, Crittertown Bathhouse, Real Richmond Food Tours, Golden Squeegee, and a special shout out to Lee's Famous Recipe Chicken for providing their great chicken at half price.


The Friends have heard of an unsung River Hero recently. A young woman was hanging with her friends on our awesome river rocks. She stepped into the river and OUCH cut the bottom of her foot so badly that it required urgent care and numerous stitches. The heroic part of the story is that an unidentified adult male river lover saw the injury and carried this young woman to safety and her car, where she called for help. What an effort, though, carrying a kid up some steep trails and for quite some distance. Now that's a true hero!

Take home parts of the story are that (1) super people frequent our river, and (2) glass hurts our river and its users. Please wear protective footwear when enjoying the river! We were so glad to hear of this story (the heroic part, not about the glass injury) and wish we could thank this river lover in person!

And, please don't bring glass to the river.


This summer, Richmond-based Outside Ventures, LLC and the James River Association are working on a project that will allow online viewers to explore the entire 340-mile length of the James River. The goal is to create the first comprehensive photo documentary of an entire river.

Floating downstream, Andy Thompson, of Terrain 360, and Ryan Abrahamsen will pilot a custom-made pontoon raft for a month. Every 30 feet along the way they will snap photos using multiple 360-degree panoramic cameras mounted 10 feet above the water's surface. These photos will be combined to create the "Tour of the James" allowing viewers to travel from the headwaters of the river to its mouth at the Chesapeake Bay.

To see examples of other 360-degree tours, including one highlighting our own JRPS, go to  >>


Tubing Trips Saturdays in July
Matthew Mason, Volunteer Coordinator for the James River Park System, will be leading tubing trips on Saturdays this month. The trip requires walking from the Reedy Creek Visitor Center to Coopers Island (Boulevard Bridge) and then floating back to Reedy Creek, roughly a one mile float that takes 2 to 2.5 hours. Cost is $5 per person which covers vest and tube. Participants MUST wear shoes, bringing water and sunscreen is recommended. Meet up is 
2:00 pm at Reedy Creek Park Headquarters, 4001 Riverside Dr., pre-registeration is required.  >> [email protected]
Envision the Future July 12
Watch the full moon rise from one of the city's best vantage spots -- the Sugar Pad at the Intermediate Terminal, 3101 
Wharf St. Bring a chair, blanket and picnic dinner to enjoy while partaking in activities such as fishing lessons, bird watching (or people watching if you refer), arcade games, music and spoken word. An exhibit presenting possible future uses for the Sugar Pad and plans for the adjacent Virginia Capital Trail will be on display. Attendees who sign-in will be entered in to a prize drawing. For more information contact Rick Tatnall 804-325-3674 or [email protected].
Diversity on the River: Forgotten History Lecture July 17
The lecture will be held at the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar. 500 Tredegar St., 23219, 6 p.m.- 8 p.m. Free. James River Advisory Council and American Civil War Center, 804-717-6688,

James River Storytelling July 21
Educational storytelling about the James River followed by a book signing by a local author. Clover Hill Library. 6701 Deer Run Dr., 23112. 6:30 p.m. Ages 7 and younger. Free. James River Advisory Council and Chesterfield County Public Libraries. 804-717-6688, or

Dig This Concert July 25
The Richmond Regional Ride Center would like to thank everyone who voted in the Bell Helmets contest. To show their appreciation, a celebratory free concert sponsored by Stamie Lyttle Co. with live music provided by Flashback will be held at Pocahontas State Park Amphitheater from 7 to 10:00 p.m. Space is limited. RSVP email [email protected] or call 804-308-2583.

James River Splash & Dash July 26
The Anthem James River Splash and Dash is a competitive trail run and flat water tube event. Sponsored by Riverside Outfitters, it offers participants a one-of-a-kind experience that includes a 5K trail run followed by a flat water tube paddle across a stretch of the James, and then a run -- with the tube -- to the finish line. Following the race, JRA hosts an after party that will include live music, beverages from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, and Richmond's best food trucks. This event is a fundraiser for the James River Association. Register now!

Catfish Workshops at Pony Pasture July 22 & 31
Join DGIF Angling Education and Captain Mike Ostrander for a day of instruction and fishing on the James River at Pony Pasture in Richmond. >> Workshop schedules

Richmond International Dragon Boat Festival August 2
Richmond's biggest spectacle on water is dragon boating! Led by the rhythmic beat of a drum, teams of 20 synchronized paddlers, one drummer and one steersperson race 500 meters up the river in 40-foot canoes rigged with decorative Chinese dragon heads and tails. Rocketts Landing. 5000 Old Osborne Tpke. 9 a.m.-3 p.m.  >>
Monthly Volunteer Days on vacation until fall

Due to the park's busy summer season volunteer Saturdays will go on hiatus until the fall, although the Friends encourage all river lovers to pick up trash any time they visit the JRPS.

T-SHIRT WEATHER IS HERE. Be comfortable while you show your support!
Your green keeps us green!
  • Become a member 
  • Make a donation 
  • Get a park license plate 
  • Buy a T-shirt
  • Purchase a pamphlet
  • Contribute to the Preservation & Protection Fund 

Our Mission
The Friends of 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.