The James River Park System has been a gift to the City of Richmond’s residents, and that gift has been shared with Virginians, Americans, and worldwide visitors.

In the 1960’s a group of citizens gave the gift of their time to block a proposed highway on the South banks of the James River, while another group gifted their time to buy enough land for a proposed park. It was later gifted to the City of Richmond Government, and that gift grew to become the nearly 600 acres of James River Park that we love today.

In early June of 2009, we received another gift when city officials formally recorded a conservation easement on 280 acres of James River Park. This would forever protect those acres from being developed and preserve them as a natural resource and unique wilderness area.

Just this last week, the Capital Region Land Conservancy (who partners with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Enrichmond Foundation, and the James River Park System as stewards of the conservation easement) listed those 280 acres as part of the national Old-Growth Forest Network. The James River Park became the 96th such forest in the nation, and just the 7th in Virginia.

While this designation doesn’t mean the forest has never changed, it does mean it has grown for more than 100 years without major man-made disturbances.

We’re honored by this designation, and hopeful that more of the James River Park System will soon see that 100-year milestone.