James River Park System Adopts Leave No Trace Principles

From Councilperson Parker Agelasto’s FaceBook page:

Richmond VA Parks and Recreation’s James River Park System (JRPS) Adopts Leave No Trace Principles
Beginning in 2018, the JRPS became a “Leave No Trace Parks and Municipalities Partner.” This initiative marks a big change for the JRPS and goes beyond the “Pack it in, Pack it out” rule many of us are familiar with. Leave No Trace is built on seven core principles that provide comprehensive guidance on how to enjoy our natural world in a sustainable way: minimizing human-created impacts.
Most noticeable will be the removal of the many standalone trash huts which will be replaced with centralized dumpsters, requiring Park users to either carry their waste to these dumpsters, or even better, home with them. Current plans include dumpsters to be placed at these locations:
• Pony Pasture Parking Lot
• Huguenot Flatwater Parking Lot
• Belle Isle Pedestrian bridge (north end)
We encourage all visitors to the Park to get involved with this bold initiative! Find out more about the Leave No Trace and Center for Outdoor Ethics at www.lnt.org.

This Thursday, Richmond Industry – Tredegar and The James River & Kanawha Canal

From FaceBook event page:

A Joint Event with the support of the Central Virginia Section of the American Society of Mechanial Enginners (ASME); the American Society of Metals (ASM), the Richmond Joint Engineers Council (RJEC), and the Penninsula Engineers Council (PEC), and the American Civil War Museum.

Several professional mechanical engineering societies have come together to sponser an evening of industrial history in Richmond!

The evening starts with a brief tour of Historic Tredegar, begining at 4:30 PM; attendees are free to explore the grounds until 5:30. The tour will be given by Nathan Vernon Madison, an historical consultant to the museum and co-director of The Richmond Economic History Project, a non-profit organization concerned with researching and digitizing the industrial, economic and infrastructural history of Richmond.

At 6:00 a social, with beverages, snacks, and Bottoms Up Pizza, will be held at VCU’s School of Engineering, with a lecture and presentation begining at 6:45, by Mr. Madison, regarding the history of Tredegar and its machinery, as well as the James River and Kanwaha Canal and the power it brought to the myriad of industries across Richmond in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Historic Tredegar
500 Tredegar St.

VCU School of Engineering
401 W. Main St.
23220 East Engineering Hall, Room E1232

4:30 – 5:30 PM Walk the grounds of Tredegar
6:00 – 6:40 PM Dinner/Social at VCU
6:45 – 8:00 PM Presentation at VCU

Tour at Tredegar is free, as is attending the lecture. A $15 fee is requested for anyone wishing to attend the social and partake in Bottom’s Up Pizza.

6th Annual James River Splash & Dash Coming Up This Weekend

From the press release:

On Saturday, July 16, Richmonders will once again take to the James River for the 6th Annual James River Splash & Dash, presented by Swedish Match and sponsored by Riverside Outfitters. The event, a fundraiser for the James River Association, features a one-of-a-kind 6k trail run or 1 mile walk on Belle Isle followed by an inner tube race across the James ending at Historic Tredegar.

This year a new 1 mile walk option has been added for participants not up to completing a 6k, but still want to participate in the event.

Participants should be ready to have fun, get wet, and navigate an uneven trail with obstacles of all kinds, including rocks, roots, and mud. An after party at the finish line includes live music from Downriver, BackTrack and Sturgeon City, beverages from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, and food from RVA Street Foodies featuring Richmond’s best food trucks.

Racers age 10 and up are encouraged to participate. Registration is $50 per person, which includes an event t-shirt and beverage ticket.

To register for the event or to learn more about the James River Splash & Dash, presented by Swedish Match and sponsored by Riverside Outfitters, visit www.jrsplashanddash.org by Wednesday, July 13th.

Body Found In James River

From the Times Dispatch article:

Richmond firefighters found the body of Ronda M. Moss, 48, of the 600 block of Robcurn Drive in Henrico, about 2 p.m. Monday near the Mayo Bridge, police said.
On Sunday, witnesses told police they had seen a woman leap from the Lee Bridge about 10:30 p.m., and officers found an unoccupied vehicle on the span.

Hydro-Electric Proposal and Future Of James River

This morning some people were surprised by this headline in the Times Dispatch: “Application filed for hydroelectric project at Bosher’s Dam”.
If they had attended the author’s talk earlier this week, they might not have been. Tredegar Iron Works and other Richmond industry relied and used hydroelectric power well into the last century.
For myself and perhaps other Oregon Hill residents, this recalls earlier conversations and speculation about riverfront development and ambitions.

Hopefully, regardless of whether the hydroelectric proposal happens or not, it adds on pressure to do something to improve the river’s health and accessibility AS WELL AS forcing Dominion Power to do more with distributed, renewable energy.

Was the City’s utility department authorized to oppose this proposal, submitted in February? And if so, by who?

This also figures into a Kanawha Canal restoration goal that ‘public private partnership’ Venture Richmond unofficially announced earlier this month. I guess the local media is still not ready to report or discuss this yet, but the devil will be in the details- including water levels and water use, recreational opportunities, whether Venture Richmond will respect neighbors’ very reasonable concerns going forward, and costs in relation to other priorities. The City’s Department of Public Utilities manages the Kanawha Canal level as well as the City’s river level. Yes, there’s a Richmond Riverfront Plan, but we all know how these plans are pretty subjective- for example, there’s no Tredegar Green amphitheater in the Plan and there was a previous canal restoration plan that has been thrown aside.

Going back to this hydroelectric proposal, it may be that upriver (and more affluent) neighbors are able to ‘NIMBY‘ it, or maybe the environmental issues with even micro-hydro-electric at this site are too large to overcome, or maybe there is even more interest in the longterm in getting rid of Bosher’s Dam altogether. But the point is, this proposal and others should be part of a more open, public conversation over the future of the James River, local energy/water policy, and our local government.

James River Advocates Upset About Dominion Dumping Plan

From FaceBook event page:

Dominion is planning on dumping MILLIONS of gallons of highly toxic coal ash wastewater PER DAY into Virginia’s waterways, including our James River.

More from WTVR news coverage on a previous protest:

The State Water Control Board’s final vote on Thursday, Jan. 14, to grant the utility company the state permit required to pump waste from the coal ash ponds at Bremo Bluff Power Station in Fluvanna, up river of Richmond.

The public forum prior to the permit hearing takes place at the State Water Control Board meeting starting at about 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 14 at the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries at 7870 Villa Park Drive.

James River Park Activities

James River Park System Belle Isle Hike Saturday, Oct. 24, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., Tredegar Parking Area (300 Tredegar Street)
Meet at Tredegar Parking Area. We’ll cross over to Belle Isle and explore the rich history of the island. jamesriverpark.org/calendar/. Contact: Tyler Twyford, 804-687-0701.

James River Parks System Trail Run Every Wednesday and Friday in October, 6-7 a.m., Reedy Creek Parking Lot (4301 Riverside Drive)
Explore the Main Area of James River Park when the warm weather’s at its best- early in the morning. All fitness and ability levels are welcome for these conversation-paced trail runs. Cost: Free! Meeting Location: Reedy Creek Parking Lot, 4301 Riverside Dr., Richmond 23219. jamesriverpark.org/calendar/. Contact: Penelope Davenport, Penelope.Davenport@Richmondgov.com

James River Park System Mountain Bike Mania Every Wednesday in October, 5-7 p.m., Reedy Creek Visitors Center (4301 Riverside Drive)
Come ride bikes in the James River Park Trail System. We have terrain suitable for all skill levels, and bikes to rent to get you out there. Meet at JRPS headquarters to get outfitted before we hit the trails. Our destination will depend on the group’s inclinations. These rides are open to ages 16-99. No prior mountain biking experience is necessary, but you must be comfortable riding a bike. jamesriverpark.org/calendar/. Contact: Penelope Davenport, Penelope.Davenport@Richmondgov.com

James River Park Public Service Announcement

James River Park System PSA - Pick up Your Trash! from Max Posner on Vimeo.

A message from James River Park System Superintendent, Nathan Burrell on the importance of picking up the trash you bring into the JRPS.

Please pack out what you pack in to The James River Park System.

Don't trash our treasure!

Brought to you by The James River Outdoor Coalition.


…same goes for Oregon Hill. Resident or visitor, please pick up your trash!

Parking at the James River Park

“Why Richmond Why?!?” column in Times Dispatch mentions parking concerns along riverfront:

“Burrell said that while we all love the James River Park, there are times of the year where the park may be reaching its “carrying capacity.”

I’ve spent a lot of time in the park on those busiest days. I’ve seen motorists wait in line for 20 to 30 minutes to get into the parking lot at Pony Pasture. I’ve seen motorists overflow parking into the Oregon Hill and Spring Hill neighborhoods to get to Belle Isle. Friends who live near Reedy Creek and 42nd Street have lamented the overflow parking in their neighborhood streets, including people trashing yards with empties and untimely potty breaks.

Richmond Urban Land Institute Meeting On Wednesday: “Progress on Richmond’s Riverfront: Cultivating Connections with the James River”

It’s not free to attend, but there is a meeting this Wednesday by the Urban Land Institute that is focusing on riverfront connections.

How should Richmond take advantage of the opportunities that the James River offers? What types of infrastructure is necessary to encourage interaction with the James? What progress has already been made?

Join ULI and it’s Young Leader’s Group for a panel-led discussion that will highlight projects that encourage Richmond to engage with the James River. Our distinguished panel will provide commentary on the progress that has been made along Richmond’s Riverfront and will discuss the vision for the future.

Note that it is being moderated by Lucy Meade of Venture Richmond. Can we really expect the public interests to be adequately represented at this meeting?