I’m a huge fan of the Friends of the James River Park
and all that they do to support Richmond’s urban wilderness areas (and not just because they were instrumental in making our RVA Osprey Cam
a reality last year). So, I thought it was worth passing along the group’s 2017 recap. The JRP would be a very different place — and not in a good way — if we had to rely on city funding alone for the work that’s done there.
From the Friends’ January newsletter:
Last year your financial support and volunteers’ time made a big difference in the JRPS. We are proud of what has been accomplished and grateful to the many dedicated, hard-working people who together make it possible too keep our Park an area of unspoiled natural beauty — a little bit of
Hikers on the Buttermilk Trail.
wilderness in the heart of the city.
In 2017 we…
- Sponsored Richmond Outside’s RVA Osprey Cam and partnered with RichmondOutside.com to present a naming contest for the birds, now known as Maggie and Walker
- Developed educational materials for use in conjunction with the osprey cam
- Worked to improve the user experience for visitors to the jamesriverpark.org website (ongoing)
- Solicited proposals for development of, and initiated fundraising efforts for, the James River Park Master Plan (Friends of the James River Park donated the first $50,000)
- Conducted the annual Conservation Easement inspections
- Welcomed new Director of Parks and Recreation, Chris Frelke
- Attended City Council meetings to promote the needs of the park
- Contracted with VCU for an Economic Impact Study of the park and promoted the completed study
- Finalized the Preservation and Protection Fund policy
- Advocated for better GRTC access to all sections of the park
- Funded a second port-a-john at Reedy Creek
- Supported park staff travel to Richmond Upon Thames
- Paid RVA Goats to provide animals for invasive vegetation removal at the Manchester Climbing Wall
- Received license plate revenue in excess of $33,000
- Organized monthly park clean-ups to engage our members and improve the park
- Hosted the annual Ralph White River Heroes Awards event (recipients: Joey Parent for Education, Warren Foster (memorial) for Promotion, Laura Greenleaf for Preservation, and Margaret Maslak for Outstanding Volunteer, the members’ picnic and the annual Winter 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 close to 2,000,000 annual park visitors. If you aren’t a member of FOJRP, please consider joining in 2018. Or plan to participate in any of the many volunteer events held throughout the year.
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?