The James River Park is a unique piece of wilderness within the urban environment of Richmond. With over 550 acres, it offers hiking, biking, nature watching, river sports, and more. And each year, as many as 2,000,000 pay it a visit!

We’ve posted here before about how to enjoy the Park safely during coronavirus, but what else can you do to be a good Park visitor?

Superintendent Bryce Wilk shared his Top Ten list with us:

1) Carry In – Carry Out
The James River Park sees thousands of tons of trash and recycling every year. A responsible visitor gathers their own trash, plus any other trash they see, leaving the Park cleaner than when they entered it.

2) Follow Park Rules
There are signs posted throughout the Park with rules and warnings about trail use, river access, pets and more. They are there to protect the Park and enhance the enjoyment of everyone!

3) Be Polite on the Trails
Enjoying our Trails, like Buttermilk or Northbank, can be the highlight of any visit. Following the Trail Rules and being aware of others keeps the Trails in top condition and improves the safety of every Trail user.

4) Plan Your Visit
Things like weather, water levels, and more can impact your enjoyment of the Park. Visit this website before your trip to maximize your experience!

5) Visit the Reedy Creek Outdoor Center
There are many things you may not know about the James River Park, and our friendly staff and volunteers can give you information and point out some of the best spots in the Park – while maintaining their social distance, or course.

6) Be Prepared
In order to have a safe, comfortable, and fun Park experience, be certain to hydrate properly. Bring water, a snack or two to power you through, and wear sunscreen.

7) Avoid the Crowds
Like we said, as many as 2 million people will visit the Park in a given year. The peak times for visitors is from 2PM and 7PM on weekends. Our parking lots are small, and parking outside of those designated spots may earn you a parking ticket or towing fee! If you find a lot full, consider another access point or come back another day.

8) Keep It Wild
The James River Park is not a theme park. The plants and animals in the Park are wild things, and protected within the Park System – even the rocks! Take only photos and memories.

9) If You See Something, Say Something
We have a great staff, and they’re always out & about, but we count on YOU to be our eyes and ears. If you see something out of place or needing our attention, call our Community Facilities line at (804)464-5733, or shoot us a line at [email protected].

10) Social Distance
While our ability to visit the Park continues to improve, we’re still dealing with a pandemic. Be aware of other Park users, especially on trails. Give a little shout or ring a bell to let others know you’re in their path – they might be enjoying their earbuds! Try to wear a mask, and maintain that 6-foot distance!

Following these basic tips can help improve the James River Park experience for everyone, and help us continually improve the Park for years to come.