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Friends of the
James River Park
June 2016 - In This Issue:
If you are a member of Friends of the James River Park, perhaps you have been asked what our organization is all about. If you have found that our mission statement didn't roll off your tongue we have provided a remedy. In February our board, during a strategic planning session, revised that statement. This first sentence should provide you with a much quicker response to any queries: "We are citizen stewards of the James River Park." This is our group's reason-for-being in a nutshell, and we take our stewardship very seriously. For the remainder of our mission statement--which describes how we do this--please scroll down to the end of this newsletter or click on the mission statement link above.
June 11, 6 to 8 p.m

Bring a portable chair and a side dish and join other JRPS enthusiasts for our picnic on June 11, 6 to 8 p.m. at Richmond's iconic Pump House, 1627 Pump House Drive, 23221. We provide the fried chicken, the beverages, and live music. Our president will have a few words to say, and we might have a special guest or two, but it's more an occasion for relaxed socializing overlooking some very green parklands. We'll have our membership roster there in case you need to renew.

Unless you head straight for the rocks and never venture in the other direction, you may have missed the major new construction at the bike skills area of Belle Isle. $84,000-worth of improvements have created a site that will improve the skills of any cyclist, from beginner to seasoned trails rider.

A "soft opening" to inaugurate the revamped park will take place on Saturday, June 11, from  10 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Sponsored by both the city's Parks and Recreation Department and rvaMORE, this family-friendly celebration of Phase 2 of the skills park even includes a cook out. Read more here:

Style Weekly's readers have voted Belle Isle and the James River Park System as the "Best Place to Hike, Bike and Run" in the 2016 "Best of Richmond" issue. The accompanying text says that trails manager Michael Burton asks that trail users be considerate of each other, avoid the trails when muddy, and ask their city councilpersons for more funding for the park.

The nonprofit Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay aims to educate us about how we can reduce stormwater runoff that pollutes our streams, rivers, and the bay and negatively affects aquatic life. Trained volunteers with their RiverWise Communities Program can assess a homeowner's property and suggest practices that keep the water out of the storm sewers: planting native plants, installing rain gardens, removing impervious surfaces, etc. Read more at

How does a restored freshwater tidal wetland function? Does it function the same way as an established wetland--which absorbs carbon and emits methane? With money from the Higher Education Equipment Trust Fund, VCU Life Sciences bought a 20-foot flux tower whose instruments record a phenomenal amount of data all day, every day, in an effort to help answer these and many more questions. Read more here:

The Better Housing Coalition gave a 2015 Golden Hammer award for "Best Placemaking Project" to the environmentally sustainable entrance to the JRPS between 21st and 22nd Streets. If you haven't seen this, it's very much worth a visit. And keep your ears open for a possible renovation of the Texas Beach/North Bank parking lot area.
The Friends' volunteer events, as well as those of JROC, are suspended during the summer when the park staff is the busiest. If you have a hankering to volunteer, please visit and
The Protection and Preservation Fund

The Friends are very close to hitting our initial target of $100,000 for our Protection and Preservation Fund, which is distinct from our general or operating fund. Long-ago board members had been concerned about having some long-term money available for emergencies and major projects. When the conservation easements were put in place on part of the park system, Molly Dellinger-Wray and others launched this P & P fund, which could contribute to legal fees if those ever were to prove necessary. There are other uses for this money, however. Please consider contributing to preserve urban wilderness, protect parklands, expand park boundaries, respond to catastrophic events, and enhance educational opportunities. To do so, go to:
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. Those of you attending our picnic might pick up a copy there. Otherwise, here's the link if you want to download it:

Chesapeake Bay Foundation "Clean Water Captains Retreat" | Weekend of June 11th, at Pocahontas State Park
This is the annual training for the volunteers that serve as the stewards and advocates of their local waterway. Participants learn about Virginia's progress with its cleanup plan, how to intersect with their local Soil and Water Conservation District, and how to intersect with local planning and zoning. They also enjoy a nighttime critter walk, canoe trip, and scavenger hunt. Register and learn more at

James River Batteau Festival | Leaves from Lynchburg, Va. on June 18
This year this 120-mile excursion will include 22 of the historically inspired handmade wooden boats. A festival in Lynchburg launches 8 days of floating downriver. People are invited to float alongside the batteaux and stay overnight at private campgrounds for $5 per person per night. To read more:

FoJRP Monthly Board Meeting | July 12, 6:30 p.m.
The July board meeting of the Friends of the James River Park will be held on Tuesday, July 12 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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