The Crooked Branch Ravine is a little-known park tucked away in the Northrup neighborhood near Woodland Heights. The main entrance to the park is at the dirt and gravel cul-de-sac of Northup Street off West Roanoke Street. There are hiking trails through the heavily wooded and natural park and there are areas of the creek perfect for playing.
The park may not be well-known, but there are plenty of people who love the ravine and work to maintain the area, which is part of the traditionally troubled Reedy Creek watershed. It has been given as an example of how Reedy Creek should be maintained, with more trees to help minimize stream bank erosion resulting from increased water velocity during storm events as a result of the channelization upstream. Read more at www.reedycreekcoalition.org and check the community efforts on Dunston Avenue.
An article published at Richmond.com examines the efforts to convert property from “useless to multi-use” — the James River Branch Rail-Trail, just one of the many portions of the potential greenways around Richmond:
There is a growing movement to make the Richmond more friendly to bikes and non-vehicular traffic, which in turn could make the city a safer and healthier place to live.
In September, Mayor Dwight Jones established the Pedestrian, Bicycling and Trails Planning Commission, promising to implement a “Complete Streets” policy and making room for cars, buses, bikes and pedestrians on city roadways. He reinforced this during his recent State of City address in early February.
One neighborhood with an active effort to convert an unused, littered, blighted property to a useful trail is in Richmond ‘s Southside. There is a proposed rail-to-trail project connecting 49th Street near George Wythe High School eastward to Cofer Road , a 2.5-mile linear greenway known as the James River Branch Rail-Trail.
There are plans to eventually build 0ff-road trails through Crooked Branch Ravine to connect the greenways planned all around Richmond. The plan would connect the James River Branch Rail-Trail from Crutchfield Street, through Crooked Branch Ravine to Forest Hill Park and eventually to the James River Trail Loop, forming connections to miles of mountain biking and hiking trails.
The idea is to provide more recreation choices and more reasons for people to be active. Trails have proven to be beneficial to reducing crime rates and increasing the real estate values of homes within range of the parks — see the neighborhoods around Forest Hill Park as a prime example.