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REI Announces Local Grant Recipients

Andy Thompson

July 14, 2016 10:11am

Each year, local non-profit organizations throughout the United States that steward, conserve, or increase access to popular outdoor spaces are nominated by each REI market to apply for REI Grant funding. Grant funding is then used to improve the places where REI members and customers play and want to play.

This year’s recipients of grant funding in the Richmond area have been finalized, with each organization set to take on projects that will enhance outdoor recreation in a variety of locations. Recipients include RVA MORE, JROC, Groundwork RVA, and the Ashland Main Street Association.

Volunteers from RVA MORE work on the Northbank Trail in 2014. Credit: RVA MORE

Volunteers from RVA MORE work on the Northbank Trail in 2014. Credit: RVA MORE

From 2010 through 2016, REI has granted $141,000 to local non-profits that help make the Richmond Region a more sustainable and accessible destination for outdoor recreation. Past grant funding has gone toward supporting the JRA’s River Rats program, heavy trail machinery for RVA MORE, building a rain shelter on the Virginia Capital Trail, and many other worthwhile projects.

If you know of a non-profit organization working to steward, conserve, or increase access to our local outdoor spaces in the Richmond region, we’d love to hear from you! Contact Max Posner, Outdoor Programs and Outreach Market Coordinator

2016 REI Richmond Grant Recipients

RVA MORE $9,000

RVA MORE is a non-profit organization with a commitment to environmentally sound and socially responsible mountain biking, facilitating recreational trail cycling, educating about the sport of mountain biking, maintaining and building local trails, and advocating for increased multi-user trail access in the Richmond region.

RVA MORE will use grant funding to improve the Ancarrow’s Landing trail, which is a popular trail along the James River east of I-95.  This trail provides novice riders an important stepping stone towards successfully navigating more difficult and technical trails. RVA MORE intends to elevate the trail tread in the wettest sections of the trail so it can be used sooner after rain.  This entails purchasing, transporting and spreading 60 tons of a stone base layer and 60 tons of clay top coat along portions of the trail.

RVA MORE will also purchase and install a bicycle repair stand to be placed near popular biking trails in Pocahontas State Park.

James River Outdoor Coalition $6,000

The James River Outdoor Coalition (JROC) is a non-profit that works to complete user-driven improvements in and around the James River Park System, and to educate and advise on park issues.

JROC will use grant funding to improve access to the top rope anchors at the Belle Isle Quarry climbing area. This will include removing aging infrastructure, and renovating the access point so it is safer and more amenable to the climbing community.

Ashland Main Street Association $3,000

Ashland Main Street Association’s (AMSA) vision is to make Ashland a “destination location” by offering a diverse mix of businesses, cultural and community attractions, pedestrian-friendly streets, and attractive public spaces.

The AMSA will use grant funding to define and enhance existing trails in DeJarnette Park, create a key trail connection between DeJarnette Park and the Stony Run Trail, and provide trail signage to complement and highlight four new and local bike circulator routes ranging from 2 to 5.3 miles.

Groundwork RVA $2,000

Groundwork RVA is a non-profit organization transforming the physical environment and community spirit within Richmond’s underserved neighborhoods through community gardens, parks, trails, greenways, beautification and education.

Groundwork RVA will use grant funding to improve the Bellemeade Nature Trail, which will provide access to the Goode’s Creek nature area and Bellemeade Recreation Center. The trail loop will better connect youth and residents to these amenities, while providing exercise and recreational benefits to walkers and joggers The trail work will be completed by Groundwork’s Green Workforce, a partnership that prepares high school youth for careers in parks conservation, landscape design and sustainable maintenance, civic leadership, and environmental health.

About Andy Thompson

I was the Outdoors Columnist at the Times-Dispatch from 2007 to 2013, writing twice a week about mountain biking, fishing, hunting, paddling and much more. I live a 1/4 mile from the James River, close enough to see bald eagles soaring over my house on their way to find a meal. Pretty cool, eh?