I have recently been reviewing the Downtown Master Plan, which was published in July 2009. It was created by dozens of elected officials, city employees and “hundreds of Richmond residents,” which is a nod to all of the charrettes held to gain input from the citizens of Richmond. It says “the public planning process began in July 2007. The Plan was adopted by City Council in October 2008. Additional Amendments were adopted in July 2009.” Continue reading
Phil Riggan – James River News Hub
Access Week! One of the first complaints most people have when discussing the James River in Richmond is that there aren’t enough access points. This is Day 5 as James River News Hub tackles the topic of access points.
There is a scenic footbridge that runs over the old VEPCO levee between Brown’s Island on the north side and the Manchester climbing wall on the south side of the James River. Chris Hull, president of the James River Outdoor Coalition, has suggested for years that it could be renovated and returned to use. I have spoken with many more people over the years also in favor of this renovation.
The first portion of the walkway (maybe 1/10th of the span) has been repaired and is part of the April 3, 1865, Civil War historic display-a great place to see the river and the Richmond skyline and an easy walk from the Richmond National Battlefield Park Visitor Center and the American Civil War Center at Tredegar Iron Works.
It is well known that there are hidden spots along the James River where homeless people choose to make camp. Hikers could find homeless many places, including along Pipeline Rapids, near the Manchester Climbing Wall, in the woods on the north bank near the Boulevard Bridge and amid the many islands that dot the river, just to name a few. While is isn’t condoned, there seems to be little push to enforce park rules about camping or trespassing after dark.
Have you ever had a reason to complain about homeless camps in the James River Park System? Do you think Richmond has a problem? What would you encourage the city of Richmond to do about homeless in the park?
There is an unofficial, unmaintained trail on the southside of the James that connects the Manchester Climbing Wall to the southside bridge to Belle Isle known as the Missing Link Trail.
The half-mile path has been in place for many years and mainly runs atop dirt and sediment that has settled for decades behind a nearby VEPCO dam. It is cluttered with debris from high waters from the James, downed trees, large rocks, discarded iron railroad ties and large granite rocks used to stabilize the railroad tracks that run nearby.
“It’s a crude trail, probably more up to hikers than anything else,” said Nathan Burrell, James River Park System’s trail manager, during a recent JROC meeting. There is potential that the JRPS and the volunteer trail building group Richmond-MORE could get involved to develop the trail for more consistent and heavier usage.
This section is considered a key to a connecting greenway between the Buttermilk Trail and Belle Isle to the west with the Floodwall Walk and Canal Walk loop to the east. You can access the trail from paved Canal Loop trail from the parking lot at Semmes and 7th streets (next to SunTrust). Walk down the wooden steps to the left at the top of the Manchester Climbing Wall and take the trail into the woods at the base of the staircase.
Have you ever hiked this trail? Would you be interested in seeing it developed and maintained by the JRPS?
Posted in Belle Isle, Bike Trails, James River, Richmond
Tagged Belle Isle, Greenways, Hidden Gem, Hiking, James River Park System, JROC, Manchester Climbing Wall, Missing Link Trail, Richmond MORE, Spots to Explore, Trails