Hardworking Friends in 2016
Your financial support and volunteers' time made a big difference in the JRPS in 2016. First among the many accomplishments of 2016 is the establishment of the JRPS Invasive Plant Task Force, which provides a strategic, long-term solution to the park's most pernicious challenge. Under the leadership of JRPS manager Nathan Burrell and with the support of Friends of the James River Park, and working with the consulting firm Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc., we began the work, which produced a plan for invasive management and restoration ecology in the park.
This plan is informed by a data-driven baseline study that will guide control of invasive plant species. Friends, along with over a dozen other partner organizations, now share the Task Force's devotion to the health of our park system.
To learn more and participate in this effort visit the JRPS Invasive Plant Task Force website.
Other Friends accomplishments in 2016 include:
- Development of a strategic plan
- Redefined the FOJRP's Mission Statement
- Created a Global Calendar for FOJRP website
- Provided direct financial support to the park of approximately $43,000
- Applied for and and received the Virginia Forestry Grant of $6,762 for planting of native species within the park
- Organized monthly park clean-ups to engage our members and improve the park
- Met our initial funding goal for the Protection and Preservation Fund of $100,000
- Welcomed six new Board Members
- Began new Board Member orientations
- Established a new committee -- the Advocacy Committee, to create a stronger voice for our organization and the park with City Hall and beyond
- Hosted the annual Ralph White River Heroes event, members' picnic and solstice celebration
These accomplishments, along with your volunteer and financial support, enabled FOJRP to support JRPS staff as they work to meet the demands of the record 1,404,903 park visitors and 2,738 program participants in 2016. If you aren't a member of FOJRP, please consider joining in 2017. Or plan to participate in any of the many volunteer events held throughout the year.
We are Richmond
The James River Park is the beating heart of Richmond, Virginia -- the James River, its liquid lifeline. This short film was made possible by Ralph White, Anne Wright and Jon Baliles.
May the year ahead be full of adventure and the protection of our wild backyard places.
Pet Owners Use Caution on T Potterfield Bridge
While many patrons are enjoying the new T. Tyler Potterfield Bridge with its sweeping views and proximity to roaring rapids, we want to make sure members are aware of a potential hazard for pets. Several users have reported that their pets' nails have become stuck in the narrow space between the metal walking surface. Leashed pets are allowed on the bridge but please be cautious when walking your pets on the bridge. It is also important that you pick up after your pets, since their waste goes directly into the river. Read more details on WRIC's website.
Conservation Easement Inspections Planned for February and March
Look out for more information from FOJRP as we prepare to undertake our annual Conservation Easement Inspections in February and March. Plan to join us and look for scheduling information in our February newsletter.
JRPS Creative Writing Workshops
Artist-in-Residence Lauren Miner featured in Style Weekly
For those of you who have not had the pleasure of attending a creative writing workshop with the park's first Artist-in-Residence Lauren Miner, Style Weekly attended one of her workshops and did an excellent write up on the experience. Read the article: The James River Park System's First Artist-In-Residence Explores the Ghosts of Belle Isle.
Monthly Creative Writing Workshop returning in 2017
If the winter blues have you down, consider joining the park's Artist-in-Residence, Lauren Miner, to indulge your creativity, explore the park, and get inspired in an on-site Creative Writing Workshop. Watch for the park's global calendar for times and locations. All skill levels are welcome, and there is no cost to attend.
Tackling invasive plants in the JRPS
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. Phase two is to remove the invasives. The Friends are primarily responsible for the Reedy Creek/Main Area of the park.
Learn more about the plan, the JRPS Invasive Plant Task Force and how you can help on the new task force website.
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
T. Tyler Potterfield Pedestrian Bridge Opens
The long-awaited T. Tyler Potterfield Pedestrian Bridge connecting Brown's Island and Manchester is finally open to the public! The 0.3 mile metal bridge is lighted and will remain open 24 hours a day and is handicapped accessible. This is the first major project to be completed in the City's Riverfront Plan. Photo by Rich Young (Instagram: @sandys_dad)
Read more about the project:
New Interpretive Sign Installed
A new interpretive sign providing details about an historic pumphouse facility from the City's 1832 waterworks system. The sign is on the North Bank trail behind Dominion Virginia Power's riverside offices.
The Rings Have Arrived
New public art in the form of a series of 17 foot tall rings has been installed on the south side of River near the terminus of the soon-to-be-complete Potterfield bridge.
Belle Isle Bike Skills Park
Unless you head straight for the rocks and never venture in the other direction, you may have missed the major new construction at the bike skills area of Belle Isle. $84,000-worth of improvements have created a site that will improve the skills of any cyclist, from beginner to seasoned trails rider.
- Read more at WTVR: Belle Isle's new bike skills course designed to challenge kids and adults
Conservation Easement Signage
Since 2008, several parcels of the James River Park System have been covered by conservation easements, legal agreements that permanently limit any development on those parcels. Recently, signs have been installed in those areas to alert visitors that they are entering protected places.
- To read more about what easements are, go to the James River Park System Conservation Easement mini-site.
Riverfront Plan update
A number of organizations have signed off on a letter to the city of Richmond to urge that additional funds be included in the next budget to implement parts of the riverfront plan, including the completion of the southern end access to the T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge, as well as components of the plan around the Intermediate Terminal.
FOJRP Committee Help Needed
Much of the work of the FOJRP, including, for instance, this newsletter, occurs behind the scenes in our committees. Our current committees include: Finance, Communications, Events, Membership, Advocacy, Fundraising, and a new ad hoc committee to assist with creating a master plan for the park. Our committees are staffed by Board Members, but are open to all FOJRP members and we encourage anyone with interest and/or expertise to reach out to email@example.com if you'd like to assist a committee.
We are also looking for someone to write this newsletter. If you re interested in volunteering to provide the copy for this monthly e-news please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
FOJRP Volunteer Event -- Saturday, January 14, 9 a.m.-noon
Join the Friends of the James River Park at the site of the new T. Potterfield pedestrian bridge. We will be working on removing invasive trees and brush, removing graffiti and will also be doing a river cleanup. Please be sure to wear sturdy shoes and bring work gloves if you have them. It will be COLD so please dress accordingly. All supplies and materials will be provided. Please bring water and a snack. Register at HandsOnRVA.org
FOJRP Volunteer Event -- Saturday, February 11, 9 a.m.-noon
Look out for details regarding our February Volunteer Event on the JRPS Global Calendar to be held on Saturday, February 11. Event information will be posted to HandsOnRVA.org. Please register in advance.
RVA Clean Sweep | Multiple days and times
This meet-up group is devoted to cleaning throughout the city in an effort to improve the quality of the James River and Chesapeake Bay watersheds. Please go to meetup.com/RVA-Clean-Sweep for an opportunity that suits you.
Have you seen the 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!
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!
Bike helmets to support the park
I am RVA is a non-profit organization dedicated to bike safety. The Friends of the James River Park organization is one of four 2016 recipients of a percentage of the sales of their Giro-manufactured bike helmets.
To buy a helmet and/or learn more about this group, visit iamrva.com.
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!
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.