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There’s Still Time to Shiver!

The air temperature won’t be brutally cold this weekend, which obviously means you should go jump in the James River, right? If that idea doesn’t sound completely insane to you (or you want to run a 5K or participate in a neighborhood cleanup), there’s still time to sign up for the Shiver in the River Festival.

Shiver in the River is a daylong party, including a Community Clean-Up, a 5K Walk/Run, the James River Jump, and the Winter Festival. The Community Clean-Up, starting at 10 a.m., entails a cleanup along the banks of the James River, in the RVA community, as well as possible self-directed cleanups in your own neighborhood. This is a hands-on opportunity not only for those participating in the 5K or James River Jump,
but also for families and friends showing support.

The 5K Walk/Run, starting at noon, offers a scenic route of Richmond and the James River. The James River Jump, beginning at 1:30 p.m., will take place at the chilly banks of the James right by Historic Tredegar. Wearing fun, crazy costumes is highly encouraged! You must raise a minimum of $75 to participate in the James River Jump and earn the commemorative long sleeve t-shirt. The Winter Festival will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., pre and post James River Jump, where you can treat yourself to heated tents, food, beverages, and live music.

Click here for more…

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Northbank Trail Work Update, Other Volunteer Opps

It’s official: The new Northbank Trail segment below Kansas Avenue has been given the green light, and volunteer days for that project will be starting in early January. In the meantime, RVA MORE wants all you volunteer trail builders out there to know that there is still other work to be done. So come on out and lend a hand!

This Saturday (tomorrow) we will be working on the berm turns directly below Riverview Cemetery, as they are in need of some attention.  Meet at the southwest corner of Riverview Cemetery (near the elk monument) at 9 a.m.; a link to the exact location can be found HERE.  Bring along work gloves, sturdy shoes, and water.

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North Bank Trail Work Update (and Other Trail Happenings)

After announcing Saturday’s North Bank Trail work day, city trails manager Mike Burton said there were a few questions raised by community and neighborhood members in the Maymont area where the trail will be located. Burton stressed that the trail is squarely on public property and this will only be a short delay, but he said both the James River Park System trail crew and rvaMORE want to engage with these groups and ensure that all questions are answered prior to breaking ground on the new trail.

Local trail builders have hit the pause button on the North Bank Trail project scheduled to begin Saturday, Nov. 17.

So, to allow the time for this to happen, Saturday’s work day will be postponed. A new date will be announced as soon as possible, and of course we’ll have that info here. Burton said the delay isn’t likely to be more than a couple of weeks.

In the meantime there are other trail events going on this Saturday:

Terrapin Beer Co. Trail Build Day @ Pocahontas:
Join the folks from Terrapin Beer Co. on Saturday November 17 as the rvaMORE trail crew will be working on a new section of trail at Pocahontas State Park. Come eat good food, meet other great people, work together, and enjoy maintaining and enhancing the trails. Starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday, CLICK HERE for tickets and more details.

Take A Kid Mountain Biking Day @ Belle Isle:
Join rvaMORE for its annual Take A Kid Mountain Biking Day! This IMBA developed event encourages communities around the world to join together and ride mountain bikes with youth. The event is open to children of all ages and riding abilities.  Starts at 1 pm this Saturday, Nov. 17 on Belle Isle, CLICK HERE  for tickets and more details.

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Huge New Trail Segment Going in at North Bank!

A rider navigates North Bank Trail past the walkway to Texas Beach: Credit: Visitrichmondva.org

If you heard our recent Views from the Treehouse podcast with city trails manager and interim James River Park Manager Mike Burton, you already know this news, but it’s downright huge so I thought it was worth a separate post (and there’s a chance to get involved).

From rvaMORE: Everyone who’s ridden, run, or hiked the North Bank Trail is familiar with the maybe quarter-mile section of pavement along Kansas Ave. It links two sections of the trail, including the infamous, rocky switchback and ramp climb next to Maymont, affectionately known as “The Stairway to Heaven.”  It’s an iconic part of the JRPS system; but what about those times you don’t want to take the road to get back on dirt?  Well now is your time to help make that possible!
 
On Saturday, Nov 17th the James River Park System trail crew and rvaMORE will be hosting the first volunteer work day on a new single track connector that will link the two sections of North Bank trail that are currently separated by Kansas Ave. This trail, which will run just north of the canal, will make it possible to take North Bank from end to end without touching pavement! The approximate location of the trail is indicated by the red dashed line on the map.  The ramps and single track of the Stairway to Heaven will remain in place so there will be two options on which route to take.
 
This is going to be a big project, so they’ll need as many hands as possible. If you’re interested in helping:  Meet at the Texas Beach parking lot off of Texas Ave (Map:  https://goo.gl/YnCdHX) at 9 a.m. on Saturday, November 17th Bring gloves, sturdy work shoes, and water.

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Hike4Kids is Perfect Way to Spend a Fall Day

Soon enough this warm, humid weather will dissipate, and I don’t know about you, but it can’t come soon enough.

Crisp. Of all the weather-related words — literally, all of them — crisp is my favorite. Crisp is flannel and camping and pumpkins and pumpkin beer and apples and apple cider and hard apple cider and outdoor fires. Crisp makes me want to get outside and stay there. If you feel similarly, and you want an excuse to get your family outside, too, join me at the Hike4Kids, the annual hike-athon fundraiser from our good friends at Blue Sky Fund, on Oct. 27th.

Last year over 200 participants chose three different distances — 3, 8, and 14 miles — all on trails in the James River Park System, started/finished at Virginia War Memorial, and generally had a blast. This year should be much the same.

All hikes start and end at the Virginia War Memorial. The after party features local food trucks and beer from Vasen Brewing. And your participation benefits an incredible non-profit dedicated to enriching the lives of Richmond’s inner-city kids through experiential outdoor education.

To learn more and register, click here. Then join me and my family for what hopefully will be a beautiful (and crisp) morning on the trails!

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Celebrate James River Week at 4th Annual ‘Films on the Floodwall’

The James River Association, James River Outdoor Coalition, and James River Advisory Council are once again hosting the 4th annual Films on the Floodwall. This free, family-friendly event will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, September 12 at Diversity Park in Richmond’s James River Park System (101 Hull Street, Richmond, VA).
This year’s feature films, which begin at sundown, include MacGillivray Freeman’s National Parks Adventure and 5,000 Miles of Wild. Local short films also will be shown. Conservation groups from the Richmond area will be in attendance as part of an interactive village that begins at 6 p.m. prior to the film screening, which begins at sundown. Local food truck Goatocado also will be at the event.
“We are thrilled to continue our partnership with the James River Advisory Council and James River Outdoor Coalition to organize the 4th annual Films on the Floodwall,” said Justin Doyle, the James River Association’s Community Conservation Manager. “This event is a fun way to celebration conservation and outdoor recreation.”

Films on the Floodwall is organized by the James River Association, James River Outdoor Coalition, and James River Advisory Council as part of James River Week. For more information about Films on the Floodwall, visit FilmsOnTheFloodwall.org. For more information about James River Week, visit jrac-va.org.
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Rare Opportunity to Explore Island in Tidal James River

If you’ve never been to Presquile National Wildlife Refuge (or perhaps never even heard of it), this is a great opportunity to explore an island in the tidal James River that is rarely open to the public.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service just announced the twice-annual Presquile “field day,” scheduled for Saturday, September 22nd. The event offers visitors an opportunity to explore the 1,329-acre island refuge and the native plants and animals it supports, as well as the sustainably designed education facilities of the James River Ecology School. But here’s the key: pre-registration is required for all participants. Spots are limited, and they always fill up.

Part of the James River Ecology School at Presquile National Wildlife Refuge.

For those registered in advance, access will be provided to the island and its 3.5 miles of wildlife observation trail, boardwalks, interior creeks and select facilities. Visitors can meet FWS employees and environmental partners, view interpretive materials and displays within the Menenak Discovery Center, and learn about the energy-efficient components of the James River Ecology School facilities. A bird walk, guided by a Richmond Audubon naturalist will begin at 7 a.m. Other guided and self-guided tours will be available throughout the day. Limited family-friendly programs and activities also will be offered, including canoeing. James River Association educators will offer programs for kids and highlight environmental education programming opportunities with the ecology school.

All prospective participants must call or e-mail between August 27th and September 19th to secure a seat on the boat for a specific time. Space is limited. People can register for slots within 30 minute windows (as early as 7 a.m-for the bird walk and as late as 2 p.m). Participants will gather at 4101 Bermuda Hundred Road in Chester (AdvanSix’s east parking lot). The event, parking, shuttle and boat transportation are free. In preparation for the adventure, participants are asked to dress appropriately for the weather and bring their own snacks and drinking water.

To reserve your seat, e-mail fw5rw_evrnwr@fws.gov; and provide the following information: preferred reservation time (e.g., 9:30 a.m. or 11 a.m.), total number of people in your party (e.g., 4 — myself and three guests), and the best e-mail address to reach you for confirmation of reservation. List “Field Day” in the subject line of your e-mail. Click here for additional details about the refuge.

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Register Now for the Year’s Biggest James River Cleanup

James River Association employees sort trash after a recent James River cleanup.

The biggest James River cleanup of the year is almost upon us, and there’s still time to lend a hand. The James River Regional Cleanup, sponsored by the James River Advisory Council, is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 8 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Volunteers can select from 18 different cleanup sites throughout the James River watershed. Visit www.jrac-va.org to sign up.

Now in its 19th year, the cleanup is a tremendous regional effort. Each year, volunteers remove hundreds of bags of trash and recyclable materials from the James and its tributaries. The cleanup also serves as the kickoff for James River Week, which features more than a dozen activities celebrating the river.

The cleanup is open to individuals, families, groups, boaters and paddlers. Bring water and gloves, and wear closed-toe shoes. For more information, call 804-748-1567 or email info@jrac-va.org.

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New Event Celebrates Annual Migration of Atlantic Sturgeon

The James River Association is organizing The Great Return of the Atlantic Sturgeon, a new event to connect people to the Atlantic sturgeon and the James River, and RichmondOutside.com is proud to be the media sponsor.
The event will include a schedule of programs beginning the afternoon of Thursday, September 13, 2018, and concluding the evening of Friday, September 14, 2018. Canoe programs guided by JRA staff members and outings on the Spirit of the James, the James River Association’s pontoon boat, are scheduled. Participants will learn about the natural resources of the James River and the endangered Atlantic sturgeon, which make an annual spawning migration up the James River in late summer when they can be seen breaching.

Credit: chesapeakebay.net

“We are organizing this event to educate folks about the endangered Atlantic sturgeon,” said Justin Doyle, the JRA’s Community Conservation Manager. “Programs associated with the event will connect people to this amazing fish and the James River.”

Capable of growing up to 14 feet in length, weighing 800 pounds, and living 60 years, Atlantic sturgeon spend their adult years in the Atlantic Ocean. Each spring and fall they return to spawn in the rivers where they were born. Commercial harvesting decimated the Atlantic sturgeon population in the late 1800s and continued threats to the Atlantic sturgeon’s recovery include ship strikes, by-catch in commercial fisheries, and sediment pollution that blankets spawning habitat on the bottom of the river.
(If you want to learn more about Atlantic sturgeon in the James River, click here for an awesome short video by Elli Morris.)
“We are excited to organize this unique event that celebrates the annual return of the Atlantic sturgeon,” said Jamie Brunkow, James Riverkeeper and Senior Advocacy Manager of the James River Association. “This event is an opportunity for people to connect with this iconic species, and to learn what our partners are doing to improve the health of the James River and habitat of Atlantic sturgeon.”
The Great Return of the Atlantic Sturgeon is a Waterkeeper Alliance SPLASH Series Event, presented nationally by Toyota benefiting the James River Association and James Riverkeeper. Additional support is provided by Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, James River Advisory Council, RichmondOutside.com, and Rocketts Landing.
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Pocahontas State Park Hosts Camping Programs with REI

REI will facilitate an all-women campout at Pocahontas State Park, Saturday and Sunday, August 4-5. The weekend is packed with educational lessons and recreational opportunities led by some expert outdoorswomen from  REI and is a perfect opportunity for beginners and enthusiasts to network with like-minded women, find an adventure buddy, or spend some quality time outside.

Camping…it’s in tents. (Get it?)

The campout begins at noon on Saturday. Participants will have an opportunity to explore the park however they choose: kayak, SUP and canoe rentals will be available for $5 per hour, and REI will have several guided programs available including their essential camping skills class and an intro to mountain biking with some bikes provided. Campers will be responsible for their own dinner, but the evening will wrap up with a s’mores bar and an informal campfire discussion led by a representative from Outdoor Women’s Alliance.

Not related to the program but worth noting, The Original Rhondels will be performing live
music at the park amphitheatre from 7-10 p.m. that night. Concert tickets are $7. Sunday morning, REI staff will lead a yoga class and guided trail run followed by a pancake breakfast with coffee and tea. Those interested can register at: https://www.rei.com/event/rei-
womens-campout/chesterfield/207239. Registration will close three days prior to the event and space is limited.

On a similar note, a family campout is scheduled for Pocahontas SP on October 27-28 to introduce parents and their children to the outdoors while also providing them with some additional support from park staff and REI experts on things they might not feel 100% comfortable with. Register at: https://www.rei.com/events/87874/rei-family-campout-at-pocahontas-state-park.

For information about Virginia State Parks’ activities and amenities or to reserve one of the more than 1,800 campsites or 300 climate-controlled cabins, call th e Virginia State Parks Reservation Center at 800-933-PARK or visit www.virginiastateparks.gov.

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