Tag Archives: RANT

RIVER RANT: Bike trails closed, wait 24 hours per inch of rain?

The accepted rule of thumb is to wait 24 hours per every inch of rain.The James River Park trails and most Richmond area off-road trails are closed after a period of rain. Richmond has gotten at least two inches this week alone. The accepted rule of thumb is to wait 24 hours per every inch of rain. This should give most trails time to dry out, especially ones maintained as well as the Richmond trails (thanks to the JRPS staff and Richmond Mid-Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts). Continue reading


RIVER RANT: Fencing off south side rock wall at Belle Isle?

The rocks on the south side are not bouldered and there is no safety equipment and rope holds in placeA man was transported by MedFlight to VCU Medical Center on February 27 with serious injuries after falling about 25 feet while rock climbing on the south side of Belle Isle. Continue reading

RIVER RANT: Deaths on the James River

The downside of having a wild river running through the urban James River is that it can be dangerous to those that do not take precautions. Fire and Emergency officials rescue far too many people who didn’t obey life jacket requirements when the river is above 5 feet, can’t tell that water levels are quickly rising, can’t swim or have too much to drink.

James River News Hub has begun a page to track deaths on the James River, beginning with the first 12 deaths research uncovered since mid-2007. While less than half of them appear to be accidental deaths caused during recreational visits to the river — including two unintentional drownings — it still calls attention to the need for caution.

RIVER RANT: Does the James need more access points to the river?

Huguenot Flatwater is the western-most property in the JRPSThe James River Park System has 17 properties under its care, but less than half have easy access for paddlers to the river: Huguenot Flatwater, Pony Pasture, Reedy Creek in the Main Area, Tredegar Beach at Brown’s Island, 14th Street Takeout, takeout at the southbank at Mayo Bridge and Ancarrow’s Landing.

There has been discussion among the groups that help plan and maintain the park — namely the Friends of the James River Park and James River Outdoor Coalition — that more access points would be welcomed. Creating more access points could help relieve some of the congestion at the most popular parks, especially Pony Pasture. Current favorites for potential access points could be at the Willey Bridge, Pump House Park or near the Powhite Parkway Bridge.

Do you think the James River needs more access points? What property(s) would you recommend? How big a priority are access points?

RIVER RANT: Why can’t we paddle in the canals in Richmond?

Paddlers in the Manchester Canal during the 2010 Earth Day FestivalThey can’t we paddle in the Kanawha Canal? Wouldn’t it be great to be able to paddle from certain points down river back up to make another run? This idea has been addressed on the Richmond on the James blog. The problem: CSX railroad has a 100-foot easement off the center of their tracks, which extends, in most places, all the way across the canal. This is not the case in Petersburg on the Appomattox River, and it is possible to park, paddle up the canal and make a run down the river, ending up at the same take out and parking lot in which your paddle trip began.

Would you be interested in paddling in the canal? Would you paddle from Tredegar to the Pump House, a nearly 2-mile paddle up-stream? How useful would an amenity like that be for Richmond as an outdoor sports destination?

RIVER RANT: Homeless camps along James River

Homeless camp near Missing Link Trail at Manchester Climbing WallIt 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?

RIVER RANT: Belle Isle parking lot issues: Fees are possibility

Belle Isle parking lot issues: Fees are possibilityThe Richmond Folk Festival is over and things are getting back to normal around Belle Isle. However, the upper parking lot at the ever-popular Belle Isle will remained closed for at least the next six months.  It is planned to be reopened in April 2011, but there are a few issues: Overcrowding, trash not put in receptacles, abuse of parking area, parking on the steep grassy hillside between the lots, etc. Combined, the upper and lower lots only handle about 50 cars.

Closing the upper lot is in part to cut down on maintenance, but this is also the off-season for Belle Isle. At the peak of summer, people park along Tredegar Street (on the way down to Belle Isle) and 2nd Street (off Robert E. Lee Bridge) and in the Oregon Hill and Spring Hill neighborhoods. By spring, some alternatives may be in place to help on weekends. Possible solutions, all with a fee involved:

  • Parking at Dominion parking lot at base of pedestrian footbridge
  • Parking at upper lot along Tredegar Street at Tredegar Ironworks
  • Parking at MeadWestvaco parking deck
  • Parking at American Civil War Center lot

Have you had trouble parking at Belle Isle? Does overcrowding at Belle Isle keep you away? Would you be willing to pay to park at Belle Isle? What would you suggest to help solve the overcrowding in the parking areas? If you have to pay, should food vendors be allowed to set up as well?