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Friends of the
James River Park
March 2015 - In This Issue:


In January, the Enrichmond Foundation completed its purchase of the 2.82-acre undeveloped Vauxhall Island, which lies upstream of the Mayo Bridge and next to the blue heron rookery at the Pipeline Rapids. Subsequently, the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation, a state board, announced that, as one of 14 projects, Vauxhall Island will benefit from a $75,000 matching-funds grant awarded to Richmond for the property's conservation.  

For more information read: 

Volunteers hard at work on Buttermilk East. Photo credit: Richard Chittickpe.
Buttermilk Trail Extended
Members of rvaMORE and other volunteers have been hard at work building Buttermilk East, a new trail heading east from the 22nd Street tower and continuing east toward the Lee Bridge, with the ultimate goal of connecting to the Floodwall. Expanding our urban trails and greenway!

JROC Builds Stairs at Texas Beach Access
Our friends at the James River Outdoor Coalition (JROC) have been busy building, at which they are expert. Using REI grant funds for the materials, JROC members have constructed a new stairway access to the Northbank Trail from the Texas Beach parking lot. These stairs replace a very steep, slippery, eroding slope that's a crucial connection to the Northbank Trail. You can find them on your next JRPS hiking adventure, heading east from the parking lot, just before the bridge over the train tracks.

Thanks to the installation of electronic counters at many park entrances (funded in part by FOJRP donations), as well as the diligent work of some VCU students, it's now been established that the James River Park is the most-visited place in the city. In 2014, the park saw more than 900,000 visitors from May to December, most of whom came from outside Richmond. 2015 will give a full year's worth of data, so stay tuned!
River access at Huguenot Flatwater. Photo credit: James River News Hub.

Huguenot Flatwater      


A quieter part of the JRPS, Huguenot Flatwater Park is located directly underneath the Huguenot Bridge and is bordered to the east by Rattlesnake Creek and to the west by Old Southampton Road. Accessible by two parking lots, this 37-acre park parcel includes river access steps, a wooden boat ramp for canoes, kayaks and inner tubes, and a series of footpaths, as well as a changing room. A set of stairs leads to a viewpoint of the remains of the Old Westham Bridge, another reminder of the city's past. Several side paths lead to the shoreline, providing access to bank fishing, one of the park's most pleasant activities.


We should never forget that the James River empties into the nation's largest estuary, which has been stressed by multiple sources of pollution for many years. Efforts to reduce those sources are ongoing, but the current outlook is that the Chesapeake Bay won't be fully cleaned up for another 30 years. Please do your share to prevent fertilizers, pet waste, paint, car oil and other pollutants from entering the storm drains and the river.

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Owl Prowl | March 5, 6:30 - 7:30 p.m.

The Richmond Audubon Society is leading another owl prowl in the James River Park. After a short introduction into the lives of these nocturnal birds, the participants will follow the guide into the Wetlands in hopes of hearing and possibly attracting the presence of the park's resident owls. Participants (of all ages) should dress appropriately and bring a flashlight. Wetlands, 3399 Landria Dr. Free. For more information, contact Ellison Orcutt at [email protected].

"Frogs and their Importance" |
March 11, 7:00 p.m.

Sierra Club's Falls of the James Groups hosts Richmond chef Brian Munford for a presentation about these important amphibians. As a volunteer citizen scientist for the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program, he studies and evaluates frog populations. He will also bring a frog specialist from the Va. Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to handle more technical questions. Jepson Alumni Center, U of R Campus, 49 Crenshaw Way.

CBF Potluck Supper | March 12, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is continuing its monthly suppers for like-minded folks to discuss water quality issues. A potluck dinner with an award for the best dish of the night, the gathering always features a speaker discussing Bay-related topics. This month, CBF's Robert Jennings will speak about Native Plants and Bayscaping. REI Short Pump Community Room, 2020 Old Brick Rd, Glen Allen. E-mail RSVP to: [email protected]

Flight of the Butterflies | through March 13
The Science Museum of Virginia presents the 2012 Canadian documentary film about zoologist Fred Urquhart's scientific investigation of monarch butterflies, a film directed and co-written by Mike Slee starring Megan Follows, Gordon Pinsent and Shaun Benson. Mondays-Sundays, 12-12:45 p.m., $9. 2500 W. Broad St.


4th Annual James River Run | March 15

Spring will almost be here for the 4th annual James River Run at the Reedy Creek Meadow in the JRPS. The course will wind through single track trails next to the James before taking runners over to Belle Isle and eventually back to the meadow via the Buttermilk Trail. New this year is a longer 10k version of the race that will take runners into Forest Hill Park before finishing back at the meadow. Online registration is $25 for both the 5k and 10k races. In-person registration will also be available the day of the event for $30. All proceeds from this event will go to the JRPS in honor of Greg Hawkins. More information at


22nd Earth Day Richmond Festival | April 18, 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. 

Mark your calendars for central Virginia's longest-running Earth Day celebration. An interactive hands-on children's area, local food and drink, and live music performances are some of the attractions for this event at the Great Shiplock Park, 2701 Dock St.  

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.