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Friends of the
James River Park
June 2015 - In This Issue:
This annual picnic at the Pumphouse Park is a relaxed celebration giving members the chance to mingle, listen to some great music and eat! Please bring a covered dish and a chair to sit in; fried chicken and non-alcoholic beverages will be provided. You can become a member on-site (checks and cash only). Or, if your membership is about to expire, this is a great opportunity to renew now at the current rates. Dues will go up on 7/1/15.

Please, please RSVP to [email protected] so we won't run out of chicken and drinks! 1627 Pump House Dr., 23221. And if you haven't been to the Pumphouse Park before, take a video tour:



Of late, there has been a veritable tsunami of great publicity about our park and Richmond. The current issue of Style Weekly lists the following as the "Best Place to Hike, Bike and Run":  

  1. Belle Isle
  2. the James River Park System
  3. Buttermilk and North Bank Trails.

Since Belle Isle, Buttermilk and North Bank Trails are all parts of the JRPS, that makes us #1, #2 and #3 in Richmond. To read the article go to:   


Virginia Living Magazine has declared that our park offers the "Best Outdoor Adventure" as well as the "Best Place to Fish."


Outside Magazine includes Richmond in their recent article "7 Stateside SUP Hubs" as the best for whitewater paddleboarding. They also remind us that Richmond was picked as their 2012 Best River City. 


But then American Express Travel includes Richmond on its list of the ten most popular US cities to visit this summer because of the river, its rapids and Belle Isle. And Richmond just made the website Thrillist's catalog of the "eight most overlooked small cities" in part due to--you guessed it--the river.




In 2014 the Chesapeake Bay Foundation published a report quantifying the economic benefits of fully implementing the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, which recommends changes to certain practices in order to reduce pollutants flowing into the bay. Coming mostly from upstream land uses, these benefits would generate an annual rate of return four times the costs of cleaning up our very important estuary. The eight benefits are as follows:

  • climate stability
  • food production
  • water regulation
  • water supply
  • air pollution treatment
  • waste treatment
  • recreation
  • aesthetic value.
Read more here:


This stormwater management and beautification project had been delayed due to a pesky permit process, but (weather permitting) construction will finally begin on June 1 and finish before the end of the month. The upcoming UCI 2015 Road World Championship course passes by this entrance to the park system. During the construction, please follow all detour signs along Riverside Drive in order to access the trails. Merci!


Ancarrow's Landing


Popular with fisherfolk of many nationalities, Ancarrow's Landing--the easternmost section of the park system--has recently undergone a major renovation. ExxonMobil, the legal successor to a chemical fertilizer plant that occupied the site for decades, removed a large volume of contaminated soil, expanded and improved the parking lot, including new lighting, and extended and enhanced the trails leading from the lot. Once the DEQ and Corps of Engineers issue a permit, the boat ramp will be dredged. This park section is a prime spot for the running of the shad every spring. Ancarrow's also includes the beginning of the Richmond Slave Trail. 200 Branders Street, Richmond 23224. 


27th Clean the Bay Day
Saturday, June 6,  9 a.m. to noon


This event is a massive annual effort to clean streams and shorelines all over the Chesapeake Bay's watershed. Richmonders will meet at Reedy Creek, 4401 Riverside Dr., 23225. It's best to register online, and parental permission forms are required for those volunteers who are under 18. Dress appropriately, consider the need for sunscreen and/or bug spray, and bring work gloves if you have them. Note that there are separate registration forms for boaters and for the rest of us.   


Summer Vacation

The Friends have suspended their monthly volunteer Saturdays for the summer due to the park staff's busy schedule. Stay tuned for announcements of autumn plans.


However, almost any Saturday you have free time, you can help keep the James River watershed clean by going to  and finding a location that needs your strong back and warm heart.  



Sensory History Tour of Belle Isle Prison Camp | June 6, noon - 2 p.m.

This conversational walking tour is sponsored by the Tredegar Society of the American Civil War Museum in partnership with RVA Archaeology. Tickets cost $10. 300 Tredegar St., Richmond 23219. or Sean Kane: [email protected] or 804-649-1861 x123.


RVAH2O Community Open House | June 9, 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Anyone concerned about improving and protecting our water quality can join this informal conversation with Richmond DPU and waterway experts and enthusiasts. Refreshments provided. Science Museum of Virginia, 2500 W. Broad, 23220.


Juneteenth, a Freedom Celebration | June 20, 3 p.m. until midnight 

Sponsored by the Elegba Folklore Society and the Richmond Slave Trail Commission, this annual event offers food and entertainment from 3 to midnight at the Manchester Dock/Ancarrow's Landing. A highlight will be the repeat performance of composer Ashby Anderson's "Undertones," a big-band piece commissioned for the African Burial Grounds observance this spring. 2000 Branders St., Richmond 23224.


Botany in the Flood Zone | June 20, 9 a.m.- noon

Explore the riverside and floodplain habitats with John Townsend, Botanist with the Va. Dept of Conservation and Recreation Natural Heritage Program. Meet at the Pony Pasture parking lot, 7310 Riverside Dr, 23225, bring a camera or iPhone and binoculars, and register with Anne Wright at [email protected]. Free.


Summer Solstice Float | June 21, 6 - 9 p.m.

Celebrate the longest day of the year and kick off the official beginning of summer with new and old friends. Bring your bathing suit and your preferred means of transportation by water (canoe, raft, SUP, kayak, inflatable orca). We'll head out to a sandy island in the river to swim, grill, and chill. Meet at Huguenot Flatwater, 8600 Southampton Road, 23235. The cost of the picnic dinner is included in the $25 contribution, which will help fund the inaugural season of youth and community outdoor programs in the James River Park. For questions or to register contact Penelope Davenport at [email protected].  


James River Rundown | June 27 - 28  

In addition to the centerpiece 100-mile paddling race from the James River State Park to Robious Landing at the American Legion Lodge, this year the James River Association is offering a 40-mile and a 20-mile race. Of course, there is a celebration at the end featuring (surprise) local craft beers, food and live music. Serious paddlers should visit to register.


Firefly Foray | June 27-28, 8:45 - 11 p.m. 

Join naturalist Ralph White for a walk down the Wetland trails to observe seven species of fireflies as you move through three distinct habitats. You'll be able to observe different flash patterns, colors and flying heights. Meet at the Wetlands entrance at the end of Landria Dr. and make sure to wear insect repellant and bring some water to drink. Equip your flashlight with red cellophane over the bulb for nighttime viewing. Cost $5.00.  


Arbor Day Benefit Concert | July 11, noon - 4 p.m.

Hosted by Earth Day Richmond and the Enrichmond Foundation, this event benefits the JRPS. With a $5 donation, you can enjoy music by Benjamin Shepherd, Avers, and Full Moon Fever; food and craft beers; trails; and tours of the Pump House. All ages. 1708 Pump House Drive, 23221. 


JRPS Adventure Recreation Program | times vary throughout the summer

Registration is required. For questions concerning the JRPS Adventure Recreation Program or to register contact Penelope Davenport at Penelope[email protected].


Trail Running: Explore the Main Area of James River Park when the warm weather's at its best: early in the morning. All fitness and ability levels are welcome for these conversation-paced trail runs. Free, Wednesdays and Fridays, 6:00-7:00 a.m. Meet at the Reedy Creek parking lot.      

Salamander Salutations: Do something good for yourself. Do something good for the park that you love. Learn some new stretches, bask in the sun, make new friends, and pick up a few pieces of trash. We're calling this young-adult event "salamander salutations" as a nod to the sun salutations that inspire us, and as tribute to the Friends' mascot, the spotted salamander that inhabits James River Park. $5 suggested donation,
Tuesdays, 5:00-6:00 p.m. Meet at the Tredegar parking lot.

Friday Evening Climbs: Geared toward young adults and the young at heart, these evenings provide top-rope climbing routes, basic instruction, and all the equipment you need in a relaxed and social atmosphere. Begins on June 26th. Pricing from $20 to $80 based on residency and number of sessions attended. Fridays, 5:00-8:00 p.m. Meet at the Manchester Climbing Wall.


Tubing: Escape the heat but still bask in the sun with these leisurely floats down the James River. We'll meet at the Park Headquarters, hike upstream along the banks of the river, and then float back down through Mitchell's Gut rapids. Please bring water to drink and dress to be in the water and in the sun. Sneakers or other closed-toe shoes are required. $15 city residents; $35 non-city residents, Saturdays, June 27th - July 24th, 2:00-4:30 p.m.


Frog's Eye Tour: Come snorkel, swim, and giggle in the water as we learn about the James River Park at the level of all our water friends. Please bring water and snacks and dress to be in the river. Sneakers or other closed-toe shoes are required. $10 city residents; $30 non-city residents,

June 27th and August 15th, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.


Paddle and Potluck Picnic: Canoe the flatwater stretches of the upper James River. Swim, snorkel and share delicious treats in a secret location! Please bring water and a picnic dish to share, and please let us know of any food allergies when you register. $15 city residents; $35 non-city residents, July 4th and August 22nd. Price includes canoe package rentals and a guided tour of the James. 

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.