Stay warm during the cold at an Environmental Film Festival!
Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour, March 3-5
The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour will exhilarate and inspire as you journey to exotic locations, paddle the wildest waters, and climb the highest peaks. Different films each night.
This year the organizers have added not only a third night but also at least two food trucks on site from 4:30 to 7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday.
Tickets for individual nights are $6, all 3 nights $15, ages 4 and under free. James River High School, 3700 James River Rd, Midlothian. For more information go to chesterfield.gov or email.
Science in the Park News
Does this 14-point beauty of a stag know that he has been captured by a Science in the Park camera? Certainly the JRPS is a hunter-free place for him to hang out. And with all that media hoopla, you can't have missed that those cameras have finally caught images of the elusive coyote.
Check out the Game Camera Project, and read the Richmond Times Dispatch article about the project:
- Cameras record the often hidden lives of wildlife
- And find out more about the creatures that live in the park.
Audio Tours Feature Ralph White
Science in the Park audio tours
Explore the secrets of the James River Parks' unique geology with new smart phone audio tours. Former James River Park Manager Emeritus Ralph White narrates these guided tours, which were produced by Anne Wright for Science In The Park and developed by sound artist Vaughn Whitney Garland. Follow along on your mobile device, guided by live mapping. Read the Times Dispatch article about the tours, and check them out yourself:
More audio tours now available!
Three more tours are now available to park lovers. 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!
- 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
The above 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.
Listen to any of the tours listed above at righthereonce.org
Inaugural Season of Outdoor Adventure & Environmental Education Programs
This past summer, two park staff members launched the inaugural season of outdoor adventure and environmental education programs for the JRPS. Designed to improve the quality of access to the park for city residents, these programs paid special attention to low-income individuals who face greater obstacles to enjoying outdoor recreation opportunities. The staff ran adventure camps for children in 12 city community centers during the week, incorporating environmental education lessons and exposing the participants to as many different areas of the park as possible.
Adults engaged in such activities as "Salamander Salutations," a weekly outdoor Yoga practice which has transitioned inside to the Reedy Creek headquarters building for the winter months. Also enjoyed were Thursday evening whitewater kayak clinics. Weekends were devoted to family-oriented programs, including the very fun-filled "paddle and potluck picnic" on a sandy island. A total of 700 people were involved in these outdoor recreation and environmental science activities between June and September.
JRPS Invasive Species Management Plan
Friends has taken the lead by sponsoring the development of the James River Park System Invasive Species Management Plan. Phase one is to survey and record the type and location of invasive plant species to determine the relative abundance of these plants throughout the park. Check back soon for progress updates.
In January, a local volunteer organization -- Richmond Tree Stewards -- began the campaign to remove invasive species from areas of Belle Isle, the most visited section of the JRPS. The Stewards have just received a $15,000 grant from the Dominion Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Dominion Resources, to plant native trees and shrubs in those areas. The grant will help to restore habitat as well as educate us laypersons about environmental stewardship.
Read the recent articles on the project:
- Park Plan Takes Aim at Invasive Species, RichmondOutside.com, Andy Thompson
- Park plan enlists public to battle an invasion, Richmond Times Dispatch, Tee Clarkson
- Friends of the James River Park, James River Association, James River Outdoor Coalition, Richmond Tree Stewards, Riverine Chapter, Va. Master Naturalists, VCU
- Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Virginia Native Plant Society, Pocahontas Chapter, Capital Region Land Conservancy, Sierra Club, Falls of the James chapter, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay
Stream restoration projects in the City of Richmond
The Department of Public Utilities has an initiative titled RVAH2, Every Drop Counts, which includes a watershed management program integrating drinking water, stormwater and wastewater. There are plans afoot for three stream restoration projects at Goode's Creek, Pocosham Creek, and Reedy Creek. These efforts will reduce creek bank erosion and reduce nitrogen and phosphorus run-off into the James River and the Chesapeake Bay.
Public Meeting on City Stream Restoration Initiative
Richmond City will host a public information meeting on February 9, from 5-7:30 pm at the Science Museum of Virginia to provide an opportunity for "community leaders and residents who share a concern and passion for Richmond waterways" to weigh in on the early stages of the city's Integrated Planning efforts to achieve water quality improvements more rapidly. More information on the initiative and the meeting is available at RVAH20.org
Progress on the Tyler Potterfield Bridge
Workers on the future Tyler Potterfield Dam Walk are having their own shiver in the river as they make cosmetic repairs to the sturdy concrete piers upon which the dam walk will rest.
To learn more about this dangerous but necessary, and much appreciated, work, see the recent RTD article:
Closed for maintenance
Belle Isle: The bridge on the southside of the island will be closed for repairs/replacement Monday through Friday from February 15 until April 1. The bridge will be open on weekends during this period from 6:00 p.m. Fridays until 7:00 a.m. Mondays. Belle Isle can be accessed via the north side suspension bridge at Tredegar St.
New Boardwalk on Belle Isle
Volunteers with the James River Outdoor Coalition first dismantled a boardwalk on the western end of Belle Isle and then constructed a new and improved one there. Many thanks to all the hard-working folk who built this sturdy and handsome amenity.
Manchester Climbing Wall Temporary Closing Update
The stair access from the base to the top of the Manchester Climbing wall will be closed starting early November 2015 due to construction. Access to the climbing walls will remain open but only from the bottom of the wall and eastern side for access. Fencing will be put up to at the top of the stairs to block access.
Water and Bike Stations Added in 2015
In case you haven't seen them, the JRPS now has two water fountains, one in the Reedy Creek parking lot and one at the entrance to the North Bank parking lot.
Additionally, there are now five bike repair stations in the park: at the top of the 21st St. entrance, in the Reedy Creek parking lot, at the bike skills park on Belle Isle, along the Capital Trail at Great Shiplock Park, and on the western side of Brown's Island.
JROC Volunteer Effort | Saturday, Feb. 6, 9am to 11am
Participants will be working on bridges at the Wetlands, 3401 Landria Dr., 23225. Since parking is limited there, consider walking from the parking lot at the Pony Pasture, 7310 Riverside Dr., 23225. Wear clothes you don't mind getting dirty, bring work gloves, water, and a snack. Register online at handsonrva.org.
FOJRP Volunteer Effort | Saturday, Feb. 12, 9am to noon
The Friends of the James River Park is seeking volunteers to help remove invasive English Ivy vines from trees next to the park headquarters at Reedy Creek. We will be working in the area the goats were grazing a few months back. Volunteers will meet in front of the park headquarters. All tools and supplies will be provided. Please wear long pants and closed toe shoes. Please bring work gloves if you have them. Monthly volunteer events require registration at handsonrva.org.
JRA Volunteer Effort | Saturday, Feb. 27,1 to 4pm
Celebrate National Invasive Species Awareness Week by learning about invasive species and help remove them from Chapel Island in the James River Park System. The afternoon will include an indoor training portion from 1-2pm to teach citizens about the problem of invasive plant species, our biggest invasive offenders around Richmond, removal strategies, and how they can use this knowledge in their own garden. From 2-4pm, we will put our new knowledge to work and remove invasive species from Chapel Island. Folks are free to participate in the training and hands on portion, or just pick one. The training is free and pre-registration is required. Register now.
Easement Inspections | March and April
Plan to join Friends volunteers for the annual easement inspection. We will be walking the park sections included within the Conservation Easement to ensure there are no violations. Check the Park's global calendar for times and locations then e-mail Friends (firstname.lastname@example.org) for meet-up information. Information will be posted on the calendar by late February.
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.
In Around and For the James River Park
Have you seen the new mobile-friendly James River Park calendar?
The events below are pulled from the global calendar. Many JRPS-friendly organizations are posting their events to this calendar. Check it out!
Choose Your Adventure
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.
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!
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.
FOJRP 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!
Current weather, water conditions, trails info, activities ...
Closed for maintenance
Belle Isle south bridge: The bridge on the southside of the island will be closed for repairs/replacement Monday through Friday from February 15 until April 1. The bridge will be open on weekends during this period from 6:00 p.m. Fridays until 7:00 a.m. Mondays. Belle Isle can be accessed via the north side suspension bridge at Tredegar St.
Watch it! Check out these Science in the Park videos.
T-shirts and pamphlets for sale!
Our 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.
Message from the Richmond Police Department on Summer Safety in the JRPS
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.
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!
Read why it's important to pick up the poop and don't pollute! Catch up on other Canine news as well.