Science in the Park Section Expanded

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:

iNaturalist Project -- Join the Team

The Science in the Park section includes a new iNaturalist Project. Join the team and help identify park flora and fauna. Grab a camera or your iphone and become part of the team.

Plan to attend our first training event on May 16, 2015. Find out more.

Explore the newly expanded Science in the Park!

2015 Ralph White River Hero Award

JRPS signsExcitement is building for the newly renamed Ralph White River Hero Award, sponsored by the Friends of the James River Park. A committee of city leaders met on Monday, March 30, to determine this year's River Hero award recipients. The nominees are:

  • Janice Akers Marauta, "Human Adventures" hiking guide
  • Dennis Bussey, James River Hikers
  • Bob Jones, Photographer and owner of Jones Landing
  • Jay McLaughlin, Photographer and author of NEWFAZE Blog
  • Scott Turner, Riverside Outfitters
  • Anne Wright, VCU Biologist, Science in the Park creator, and educator

On April 30 at the Rice Center, the Friends will host an awards celebration for this year's honorees. We hope that you will plan to attend. For tickets and more information about the event, contact Kelly Gotschalk at Read more.

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

Park Improvements

21st Street Renovations

Stewart HG has been contracted to redevelop the area leading to the 21st Street tower alongside Riverside Drive. Improvements include the removal of the defunct shelter next to the street, defined stepping-stone pathways, a bike repair station, and bike parking. In addition, the site plan includes rain gardens filled with native plant species to reduce maintenance while beautifying the area.

The $90,000 worth of improvements is funded by a grant from Altria tied to the 2015 UCI Road World Championships and provided to the city by the James River Association. This work is scheduled to start imminently and should be completed by May 1st. During the construction period, access to the tower will be restricted to the easternmost path that connects to the head of the tower from Riverside Drive.

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

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.

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.

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: The Wetlands

taking out canoeThe aptly named Wetlands Park, 3401 Landria Drive, is just downstream of the Pony Pasture and is bordered on the east by the Willow Oaks Country Club and to the south by Stratford Hills, a residential area.

There are only seven spaces for cars on Landria Drive, but this wooded, swampy parcel is an easy stroll from the Pony Pasture lot. Although the sandy beach provides some access to the water, it also affords a good view of Williams Island and the river.

The Wetlands include walking trails, a bird-watching shelter, a large meadow surrounded by swamp forest, and a shallow pond with wildlife viewing blinds. One of the three trails within this parcel follows the raised berm of the old quarry railroad, and three footbridges help to keep your feet dry!

See all in the Choose Your Adventure series.

Events in and around and for the Park

Volunteer Opportunities -- Manchester Climbing Wall | Saturday, April 11, 9:00 a.m. until noon

This month's project sponsored by FoJRP is another trash cleanup at the Manchester climbing wall/future site of the dam walk. All volunteers should park behind the SunTrust Building located at 901 Semmes Ave. Park anywhere along that street where parking is permitted. 

Staff member Matt Mason will meet volunteers at the street to escort them to the cleanup site. Supplies will be provided. Please register ahead of time at HandsonRichmond.  

And if that event has reached participation capacity, Manchester Alliance and RVA Clean Sweep -- a meetup group -- have several Manchester sites to clean starting at 9 a.m. on April 11, all designed to keep the James River and Chesapeake Bay watersheds clean. The sponsors will provide plastic bags, gloves, and safety vests. Read more and RSVP at this site:


22nd Earth Day Richmond Festival | April 18, 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

The Enrichmond Foundation is hosting Earth Day Richmond at Great Shiplock Park, 2701 Dock Street. There will be transportation to and from the 17th Street Farmers' Market and a bike valet. Their cornucopia includes local food and beverages, live music, art, exhibits, a children's area, riverfront activities -- paddleboarding, kayaks, fishing, and more. The festival will extend along the Kanawha Canal and the Virginia Capital Trail. The Earth Day 5K Race will begin at 11. For details:

Friends of the James River Park will be at the Earth Day Festival at Great Shiplock Park. Please come by and visit!

RVA Earth Day | April 18, 12 noon to 7 p.m.

Sponsored by Style Weekly, this event takes place in Manchester along Hull Street and benefits Feed RVA. Highlights include live music, river wildlife tours, an outdoor gear swap by James River Outdoor Coalition, food trucks, children's activities, local produce, and more. For details see:

Explore the Outdoors | April 19, 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. 

Over 40 local community groups, including Friends of the James River Park, will offer science and nature activities to engage families at Huguenot Park and the studios of the Community Idea Stations, 10901 Robious Road. Free.

Biodiversity/Climate Symposium at UR | April 21, 12:30 p.m.

A symposium on how to protect the state's wildlife and natural areas from the threat of climate change will be held in the Ukrop Auditorium, Robins School of Business at the Univ. of Richmond. The keynote speaker, Healy Hamilton, is chief scientist at the international conservation nonprofit NatureServe in Washington. A leading researcher on the effects of global change on biodiversity, she will address the economic importance of natural systems for Virginia's future and the impact of climate change. The regular meeting of the Virginia Governor's Climate and Resiliency Commission follows immediately afterward at 2:30. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to and you will receive parking information.

Whole Foods Donates 5% | Earth Day, April 22

Enjoy the music of the roots/Americana band The FREE Rangers while your purchases help support the Capital Region Land Conservancy, Central Virginia's only land trust. 11173 W. Broad St., Glen Allen.

Progress on Richmond's Riverfront, panel discussion | April 22, 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.

Hosted by Urban Land Institute, Richmond, with a panel that includes JRPS superintendent Nathan Burrell. Tredegar Iron Works, 500 Tredegar St., 23219. $10-$20. Register here by April 20:

Celebrate the JamesCelebrate the River | May 3, 9:30 a.m. - 4 .m.

Come out and learn more about the James River and what it has to offer! Outdoor enthusiasts will be on site to teach you about the river's kayaking, mountain biking, hiking, running and more!

Start off with a 5K fun run to benefit James River Outdoor Coalition (JROC). The activities start and end at Legend's Brewery, who are celebrating the public release of their Z Dam Ale. Register the day of the race, or online at

iNaturalist Training | May 16, 9:00 a.m. - noon

Become part of our team of outdoor lovers and photograph and record the plants and animals of James River Park using iNaturalist. Meet at the JRP headquarters at Reedy Creek. Registration is required. Email Anne Wright at to register. Learn more and find out what to bring.

Virginia Rocks: Geologic Selections from the Collection | through June

This exhibition in the Lora Robins Gallery of Design from Nature highlights the varied geological areas of the state and the processes that shaped the land. Focus is placed on the history and future use of Virginia's mineral and energy resources and how these resources impact the economy and environment. University of Richmond Museums, 28 Westhampton Way, Sunday through Friday, 1 to 5 p.m., closed Saturdays. Contact 808-289-8276 or

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, you'll find the exact same shopping experience you get on, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate .5% of eligible purchases to an organization you select.

Simply go to, 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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