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

The Friends of the James River Park is extremely grateful to all those who took the time in mid-September to contribute to our organization during the Amazing Raise. We raised $4,550 from 37 donors during the two day event.

We know there are many worthwhile non-profits that can benefit from your dollars, so thank you for thinking of us! Your generosity catapulted us into the Top 50 recipients among over 350 Small Organizations! This amount far exceeds the $2,275 we received from the Amazing Raise in 2014 (our first foray into this great community event); with your help, we'll work on an even larger total for 2016.
GPS-guided audio tours are now available for some sections of the JRPS. For your free walking-tour pleasure, you need only a mobile device and an internet connection. You'll hear about what you are seeing, how it got there, and some of the reasons why the JRPS is special and worth preserving!

Listen to any of the tours listed below at
  • The Ecology of the River and Shoreline: A Sound History for the Trails of The Pony Pasture
  • Indians To Industry: A Sound History For Belle Isle
  • A Sound History For The Manchester Flood Wall
  • Geology of the Fall Zone: North Geo Tour
  • Geology of the Fall Zone: South Geo Tour
The first three tours were written and narrated by Ralph White and produced and developed by Vaughn Whitney Garland with financial support from The Friends of the James River Park, The two geology tours were produced by Anne Wright for the Science In The Park website, developed by Vaughn Whitney Garland, and narrated by Ralph White.

With a grant from the Richmond Arts & Cultural District Micro Grant Program, in conjunction with CultureWorks, Elli Morris placed 4'x4' posters along the UCI race course and in the district--to stay up through autumn's First Fridays season. Each unique poster, with a different image and slogan, connects land activities to water quality while letting visitors know the James River is close by and wonderful! FoJRP, JRA and BikeWalk RVA lent their logos to the posters. If you spent any time downtown during the bike races, you saw some of these great posters in windows.

Many thanks to all the volunteers who participated in this annual cleanup of the entire length of the James River. At the Pony Pasture-where the Friends provided the lunches-106 people spread mulch and collected about 30 bags of trash. Read more here about the state-wide cleanup, which netted some unusual items:
Artist rendering of completed Damn Wank.

We know this has been a long time coming and it's too bad it couldn't be completed in time for the UCI races, but work will begin soon on this marquee project that will connect Brown's Island to the Manchester Climbing Wall section of the JRPS. As a bonus, the city has awarded the contract to a Richmond company. Read more here:

If you've walked to Belle Isle from the south side of the James, you will have seen that the pedestrian bridge has been repaired. As it turns out, this is only a temporary measure. The park has asked for bids from contractors for a complete overhaul, expects to have a contract by the end of January, and anticipates that the entire deck will be replaced by early spring.

The months between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice are not the best time to go swimming in the James. The weather shouldn't stop you from being on the river, however, and Tee Clarkson is encouraging you to get out and do some fishing while you still can. For his advice on which fish are plentiful where, as well as useful website links, read here:

Did you know that the International Mountain Biking Association has given the Richmond region an IMBA Ride Center Bronze level status and that Richmond is the only urban Ride Center where cyclists can bike from home or office to single track trails?

In addition to the 70 miles of dedicated track in the JRPS, there are now new trails for beginners, advanced riders and handicapped cyclists in the Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield County. For residents and visitors alike, this is a great accomplishment for the capital region. Read more here:

Pumphouse Park includes one of the city's most iconic buildings, an impressive granite Victorian Gothic structure built in 1882-3, which once served as Richmond's primary water pumping station. This small area of the park system also includes three historic canals, two granite canal locks and an 18th-century canal archway constructed to commemorate a visit by George Washington. A small granite quarry lies to the right of the park's entrance. The northernmost canal, the Power Feeder canal, fed the turbines for pumping water to Byrd Park. The middle canal was part of the Kanawha Canal System, which was constructed to go around Richmond's rapids, and the lowest canal was the beginning of the James River Canal System, the first in the country. Wooden bridges provide access over the canals.

Although the building is not usually open to the public, there are occasional tours and there are dreams of rehabilitating the upper floor, once the site of society dances. A few trails pass through the wooded portions of this park and make it an interesting and historical destination for a walk. Please watch your children in this area due to all the hazards. Note, too, that you cannot access the river from here; CSX owns land between the park and the water. On-street parking available. 1627 Pump House Dr., 23221.
Upper James JRA Tire-Less James Event | Saturday, October 10
Volunteers will be removing ONLY tires from the river. In this self-directed cleanup, people choose which section to focus on and register online: Volunteers bring their own boats and equipment or rent boats for the day from a local outfitter. The Upper James Cleanup is Horseshoe Bend-Buchanan.

Friends Project at Reedy Creek | Saturday, October 17, 9 a.m.-noon
Volunteers will be removing English Ivy vines from trees, as well as other invasive species where the goats did some clearing several weeks ago. All tools and drinking water will be provided. Please meet in front of park headquarters, 4401 Riverside Dr., Richmond 23225. Register ahead at

JROC Project at Belle Isle | Saturday, October 17, 9 a.m.-noon
Volunteers will be working on the Belle Isle boardwalk on the far western summit. Please bring gloves and a water bottle and wear appropriate footgear and clothing for the weather and the work. 300 Tredegar St., Richmond 23219. No registration required but for more information on the James River Outdoor Coalition, look here:
Photo by Phil Riggan


Your green keeps us green!

This research proves what we already know: our park makes us happier! All the more reason to support it!

Capital Region Land Conservancy celebration | October 25, 4-6:30 p.m.
Tenth-anniversary celebration of one of the easement holders for the conservation easements on parcels of the James River Park. Local food, craft beer, wine, music by The Free Rangers. Meet the new Executive Director, Parker C. Agelasto, and hear from Keynote Speaker Joseph Maroon, Executive Director for the Virginia Environmental Endowment. Tuckahoe Plantation, 12601 River Rd, Richmond 23238. $25 suggested donation to attend: see the CRLC Give Richmond link. Please RSVP Jane Myers at [email protected] or 804-745-3110.

Looking for more events and activities? 
The JRPS global calendar is your best bet to find out what is happening in the park. Find your event at:

One exciting new opportunity is the Meteor Shower Bike Tour, overnight, Wednesday, October 21, 4:00 p.m. to the morning of October 22. Participants over 18 years old will take a 25-mile bicycle road ride to the VCU Rice Center, camp outdoors, and watch the Orionid Meteor Shower. Registration required. $20 for city residents, $40 for non-city folk includes dinner and breakfast. All details available on that handy calendar (click on the date).

Botany in the Flood Zone | October 31, 9 a.m.-noon
Bring binoculars and either a camera or an iPhone to the Pony Pasture parking lot to join an exploration of riverside and floodplain habitats -- as well as bryophytes -- with John Townsend, Botanist with DCR's Natural Heritage Program. Register with Anne Wright at [email protected]. 7310 Riverside Dr., Richmond 23225.
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.
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Friends of James River Park | PO 4453 | Richmond | VA | 23220