2015 Ralph White River Hero Award

JRPS signsThe 2015 Ralph White River Heroes were celebrated on April 30 at the Rice Center. A selection committee composed of community leaders worked to select this year's heroes. The 2015 winners are:

  • Anne Wright -- Biologist and educator who has volunteered for the park for over a decade.
  • Scott Turner -- Founder and owner of Riverside Outfitters and True Timber.
  • Dennis Bussey -- Founder and organizer of the James River Hikers meet-up group.

Ralph White was on hand to deliver the awards which were re-named in his honor this year. In addition, attendees of the event had the opportunity to taste Legend Brewery's new Z-Dam Ale before it went on sale to the general public.

2015 winners of the Ralph White River Hero Award

Nominations for next year's River Heroes awards will begin in February, so start thinking now of who would be a great award recipient!

Science in the Park

Botany in the Flood Zone!

Explore the riverside and floodplain habitats with John Townsend, Botanist with DCR’s Natural Heritage Program. Our James River Park System sprawls along the Fall Line, a dynamic and ever-changing area that Richmond was built on. The James is an agent of force and renewal in this area, with plants at river’s edge adapted to stressful, flood-scoured habitats and those of the floodplain thriving in the rich blanket of nutrients the James lays down. Human activity and floods have had their impacts, but the flood zone contains much for the curious naturalist. Although the primary focus of this walk is botanical, birds will not be ignored!

WHERE: Pony Pasture parking lot, 7310 Riverside Drive, Richmond VA, 23225

WHEN: Saturday, June 20, 2015

TIME: 9 am to noon

BRING: Camera or iPhone, binoculars

REGISTER: Contact Anne Wright at abwright@vcu.edu to sign up. Can’t make it? Don’t worry, there will be other walks later in the summer.

beaver at nightGame Cameras Offer Exciting Footage of Park Wildlife

Otters, mink, raccoons and all variety of critters have been spotted in the James River Park System -- and you can watch them going about their daily and nightly routines! Check out the new Game Camera Project. And, read the Richmond Times Dispatch article about the project:


Explore the newly expanded Science in the Park!

Volunteer Opportunities

FOJRP Cleanups on holiday

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. Meanwhile check below for two easy methods to help out all summer long.

Any Saturday Meetup

Almost any Saturday you have free time, you can help keep the James River watershed clean by going to www.meetup.com/RVA-Clean-Sweep and finding a location that needs your strong back and warm heart.

Pony Pasture and 22nd Street Dry Docks/Belle Isle Cleanups

The James River Park System is seeking volunteers to do an ongoing trash cleanup at Pony Pasture Park and 22nd Street and Belle Isle. Volunteers will need to be able to walk about a mile and be able to hop rocks. Trash bags, grabbers and gloves will be provided. Please bring water and a snack.

This opportunity is a referral and is managed by JRPS directly. Please express interest below to indicate to the agency your interest in participating. All volunteers who plan to attend must express interest. Check upcoming dates and express interest using the HandsOn links below.

Message from the Richmond Police Department on Summer Safety in the JRPS

Events in and around and for the Park

Have you seen the new mobile-friendly James River Park calendar? Check it out!

FoJRP Annual Members Picnic | June 13, 6 to 8 p.m.

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 friends@jamesriverpark.org 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: www.richmondoutside.com/videos/tour-pumphouse-park/.

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

See the Science in the Park section above for all the info you need on this fun event!

Juneteenth, a Freedom Celebration | June 20, 4 p.m. until 11 p.m.

Sponsored by the Elegba Folklore Society and the Richmond Slave Trail Commission, this annual event offers food and entertainment at the Manchester Dock at 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. End of Brander St., Richmond 23224. More info: efsinc.org

Summer Solstice Float | June 21, 6 to 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 Penelope.Davenport@Richmondgov.com.

James River Rundown | June 27 to 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 local craft beers, food and live music. Serious paddlers should visit www.JamesRiverRundown.org to register.

Firefly Foray | June 27-28, 8:45 to 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. More info: earthdayrichmond.org/2015/events/arbor-day-benefit-concert

JRPS Adventure Recreation Program | times vary throughout the summer

Registration is required for the below events. For questions concerning the JRPS Adventure Recreation Program or to register contact Penelope Davenport at Penelope.Davenport@Richmondgov.com. Also, check out the JRP Calendar for direct links to registration by date.

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.


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.

Virginia CurrentsVirginia Currents Explores the JRPS

Visit a few lesser known “treasure islands” off the James with James River Parks Superintendent Nathan Burrell in this March 2015 episode of PBS's Virginia Currents.

Watch the episode at ideastations.org.

Park Improvements

21st Street RenovationsUpdate on 21st Street Renovation Project

This stormwater management and beautification project had been delayed, 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.

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!

Building Buttermilk EAST from Tijo Media on Vimeo.

James River Hikers Work Throughout the Park

The James River Hikers recently installed a boardwalk at Texas Beach, with supplies brought there via a batteau. Later the group added a few feet to the boardwalk to help folks keep their feet out of the mud.

Additionally, the Hikers have been replacing boardwalks and bridges at Pony Pasture and have made a remarkable difference at Pumphouse Park, having cleared underbrush adjacent to canals and painted structures. The Washington Arch, part of one canal, is now visible from both sides -- a major improvement. For more about this group, go to www.meetup.com/James-River-Hikers.

Reedy Creek Water Fountain

If you frequent the park's main area at Reedy Creek, you will have seen the new water fountain installed next to the parking lot, just in time for the warm weather. James River Outdoor Coalition dedicated this wonderful park addition to the memory of Greg Hawkins, who mentored many people in outdoor activities. There are spigots for your mouth, your dog's mouth, and your water bottle.

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.

Science in the Park Video in RVA Environmental Film Festival

THE SPAWN from Friends of James River Park on Vimeo.

The latest Science in the Park video on blueback herring and American shad spawning in our great river was a runner up selection in the 2015 RVA Environmental Film Festival and was shown on the big screen in Feburary.

Choose Your Adventure: Ancarrow's Landing

Ancarrow's LandingPopular 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.

See all in the Choose Your Adventure series.

JRPS license plates, matching gifts and AmazonSmile -- money for the park

James River Park license plates have now generated over $7,000 for the park! To order yours, check out the DMV Specialty License Plate section!

$ x 2Matching gifts

If you're making a donation to the FOJRP, consider asking your employer to match your gift. Many local businesses are happy to support Richmond's wonderful park system. All gifts and bequests are tax deductible to the full extent permitted by law, and donors will receive a letter acknowledging their contributions; contributors to the Protection and Preservation Fund are also acknowledged on the FOJRP website.

amazonsmileFOJRP registered with AmazonSmile

AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support FOJRP. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you'll find the exact same shopping experience you get on Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate .5% of eligible purchases to an organization you select.

Simply go to smile.amazon.com, and on your first visit you will be prompted to select a charity. Select Friends of the James River Park, then shop!

more news and events »

Today in the Park

Current weather, water conditions, trails info, activities ...

Map it! Plan your park visit.

Map It!

Watch it! Check out these Science in the Park videos.

Otters in the James River Park from Friends of James River Park on Vimeo.

T-shirts and pamphlets for sale!

shopping cartOur snazzy t-shirts and FOJRP interpretive pamphlets are available to purchase online. Order yours today!

Keep the park safe

If you see something out of the ordinary in the James River Park, please report it using the non-emergency police number:


Reportable things include problems in the park system (of natural or human origin) -- graffiti, large amounts of trash, trees down across main trails, fires of any sort, unruly behavior, etc.

If it is an emergency situation, please dial 911.

Do you Bicycle in the Park?

Did you know that pedestrians have the right of way on ALL trails in the Park, except those marked Bicycles Only? Please be courteous when passing walkers; if you have a bell, use it or call out, "on your left" or "on your right". It's common courtesy and will prevent those enjoying the Park from being forced off the trails. This is also critical behavior for Park Visitors tending their kids or their dogs.

Stay on the Trails Please!

With so many bikers, joggers, hikers and dog walkers in the park, the trails get a lot of use. Winter freeze and spring rains make them vulnerable to erosion and long-term damage. When there are puddles on your route it can be tempting to go around them. Realize that, by widening the path, you are adding to trail erosion and destruction of vegetation ... creating problems. 

The trails are maintained by park staff and volunteers who work to balance the needs of the people who enjoy outdoor recreation and the need to maintain healthy ecosystems. Become aware how your use impacts the park and TREAD LIGHTLY!

Protection and Preservation Fund

A special thank you to all who donate to our long-term fund. See our growing list.

James River Park Protection and Preservation Fund

Canine Friends of the Park

Probably some of the biggest fans of the park system are the dogs that walk the trails -- and they would want to keep the park clean too!

Please Pick Up After Your Pet

Read why it's important to pick up the poop and don't pollute! Catch up on other Canine news as well.


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