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Friends of the
James River Park
July 2016 - In This Issue:
July 16, starting at 2:30 p.m.
If you haven't already registered for the James River Association's Splash and Dash on July 16, you have until midnight of the 13th to do so. Here are some of the salient points: This is all for fun, no timed results. There are two courses: either a 6K trail run or a one-mile walk on Belle Isle (leaving from Tredegar), then a ⅓-mile flatwater tube paddle (with your hands only, people) across the river. Wear shoes and clothes that can get wet and muddy.

There are 15 waves, starting at 2:30 and ending at 4:50; if you want to run with someone, register for the same wave. This is rain or shine; if the river is too high, the alternate date is 9/11. Kids 10 and up can go but only with a guardian, and everyone under 18 brings his or her own life jacket (required). The fee is now $50 and is not refundable. Packet pickup is best Friday evening at Hardywood or Saturday 1:30 until 30 minutes prior to the last wave. Among the sponsors are the local Riverside Outfitters and REI, which is sponsoring wave 11. Here's a link to register:

Speaking of REI, they very generously gave $6000 to the James River Outdoor Coalition (JROC) for much-needed upgrades to the climbing access at the Belle Isle Quarry. These upgrades will make the experience much safer.
2016 appreciation award

Pictured (left to right) Friends' board vice president Katherine Mitchell, JROC president Will Isenberg, Jon Baliles, councilman, Nathan Burrell, park superintendent and Greg Velzy, Friends' board member.

Friends of the James River Park presented councilman and mayoral candidate Jon Baliles with a special "paddle of thanks" at the July 5 board meeting.

Signed by officers of FoJRP, the James River Outdoor Coalition, Sports Backers, the James River Association, and Richmond MORE, the paddle shows our collective appreciation for Jon's friendship for the park and continued advocacy of major increases to the inadequate operating funds for the maintenance and safety of Richmond's most visited park and local attraction.

In his remarks, Jon stressed that the James River Park System is what most unites the entire region. Pictured in the photo with Jon are board members Katherine Mitchell and Greg Velzy, JROC president Will Isenberg, and Nathan Burrell, park superintendent. Watch the ceremony at:
Speaking of safety, we cannot emphasize enough that you should always pay attention to the river level. The park staff does run around the different sections of the park changing those signs that tell you whether the level is above 5 feet (when you then must wear a life jacket) or above 9 feet (when you must have a permit to be out on the river at all).

This summer is bringing not only storms to Richmond but also rains upstream, and recently the river rose so quickly that some folks had to be rescued ( As well, it's best to allow a couple of days after a rainstorm to go into the water, due to higher bacteria counts. To find out what those counts are, go to, as the James River Association monitors the levels every week during the summer.

Since we are on the subject of rising waters, it turns out that flooding is the most common natural disaster in the U.S. And with a river running through it, Richmond has a history of mind-boggling floods as a consequence of hurricanes. For a reminder of what has happened, the city is placing high-water mark signs in such places as Pony Pasture, Brown's Island, Great Shiplock Park, and Plant Zero. (FEMA will reimburse the city for these, btw.) For more information about this high water awareness project, read here:

The James River Park System now has its first Artist-in-Residence: Lauren Miner. A recent graduate of VCU's MFA in Creative Writing program, Miner will be spending time in the parks and producing new work inspired by her experiences there. She will also be conducting periodic writing workshops in the parks, which will be open to the public. Details about these workshops will be announced on the FoJRP Facebook page and on the park's Global Calendar found at
Switching to the topic of wildlife: here's the website for the Richmond Wildlife Center ( When you find an injured animal, please call them at 804-378-2000, 9 to 5, M-F--and resist handling the animal. For threatened or endangered species only, there is an emergency line 24/7: 804-614-4325. Also, this is an all-volunteer organization, and they are looking for more people to help.
Additionally, you can contact Raptors Conservancy of Virginia should you find an injured raptor; remember that state law prohibits handling them ( And rejoice that there are now more than 1000 pairs of bald eagles living in our fair state. There were only 20 pairs in 1970. Turning this around involved advocacy by scientists and other citizens, an inspiration still. Read more from the Center for Conservation Biology:
July is the month for environmentally minded high school students to apply to Virginia's Soil and Water Conservation Districts to participate in the Youth Conservation Leadership Institute. The YCLI youth must engage in one or more conservation service projects, approved by the VASWCD, between September and February. For more information on this program, go to
volunteer day
The Friends group is looking for a volunteer to support  our social media tools. This person would provide frequent posts to our Facebook page and write the content for our monthly e-newsletter. To express your interest, contact: [email protected].

Our volunteer events, as well as those of JROC, are suspended during the summer when the park sta
ff is the busiest. If you have a hankering to volunteer, please visit and

I am RVA is a non-profit organization dedicated to bike safety. The Friends of the James River Park organization is one of four 2016 recipients of a percentage of the sales of their Giro-manufactured bike helmets. To buy a helmet and/or learn more about this group, go here:
JRAC's James River Days brochure available now
If you saw us at our booth on Earth Day or at Dominion Riverrock, you might have picked up a copy of the James River Advisory Council's annual brochure, "James River Days." This is an invaluable resource for activities on and around the river from April through October. Here's the link if you want to download it:

FoJRP Monthly Board Meeting | August 2, 6:30 p.m.
The August board meeting of the Friends of the James River Park will be held on Tuesday, August 2 at 6:30 p.m. at the Reedy Creek Park Headquarters, located at the intersection of Hillcrest Road and Riverside Drive. This meeting, as are all monthly board meetings, is open to all Friends members. Dates and times for all meetings can be found on the JRPS global calendar.

Looking for more events and activities?
There are more and more things happening in the park! The JRPS global calendar is your go-to source to find where and when the events and activities you enjoy are happening. Check the schedule at:
Our Mission
We are citizen stewards of the James River Park.
We do this by providing ongoing support for conservation, enhancement, and recreational enjoyment of the James River Park System, while protecting its natural and historic environments.

Friends of James River Park, PO 4453, Richmond, VA 23220
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