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Compared to what some people have done for the James River Park System, it might seem miniscule and inconsequential to do your own part for the future of the park by completing your JRPS license plate application:  JamesRiverPark_LicensePlate_FAQ11, but I’m here to tell you that writing a check for $25 (which money would be returned to you in January if we don’t hit our 350 apps goal) for a James River Park System license plate is the most important thing you can do for the park this year.  And yes, I am the president of the Friends of James River Park, so ask me any questions you’d like.

So much easier to do than create a park from nothing

If we get the 190 or so applications that we still need by this year’s General Assembly session in January, you will be the proud owner of this fab license plate by early summer.  Once we hit 1000 license plates on the road, $15 of every application and renewal will come to Friends of James River Park to improve the park and everyone’s experience of it.

This fall has been particularly lovely and long-lasting and I’ve had plentiful opportunities to hit the trails in the James River Park System and see all the glinting and glowing going on there. I really wonder about people who have lived here for years and don’t experience the park. It’s free and it’s strung out along the river for miles, so it’s accessible to people all over the region. There are even wheelchair accessible spots at Huguenot Flatwater, Pony Pasture, Belle Isle, and Ancarrow’s Landing.

The country mouse would like this city-living

Rock-hopping in the Main Area as I did with my son yesterday, parking at the 42nd St. entrance and walking down the steps and across the bridge over the railroad tracks, we walked over to the granite and bronze marker that the Friends of James River Park put up last year. It honors Jack Keith and Joe Schaefer, two area citizens who in the 1960’s noted that there was no public access to the river and decided to do something about it.

They researched who owned the parcels along the river in Forest Hill and Westover Hills and quietly accumulated the islands and shoreline. They then turned around and gave the land to the city for a park. In 1972 it became the James River Park System. It is not an overstatement to say that the work, foresight, and generosity of these two men have brought joy to millions of people.  Two guys–what a legacy.

Where it all started--thanks, guys!

 To help FOJRP continue what Mr. Schaefer and Mr. Keith started, please fill out your JRPS license plate application and send it in to us today! FOJRP is an all-volunteer, shoe-string kind of charitable organization –a 501c3– and making this license plate campaign successful would be a huge step for us in securing a constant stream of income that we can use to protect and improve the park. Thanks for your help in spreading the word. If two guys can do what they did, certainly 200 people can accomplish something worthwhile as well.

Sometimes nature knows best:

Here's looking at you, hole in the tree

Sometimes nature makes a mess of things.

river wood

Sometimes nature needs a nudge from nurture to be what looks like has always been and belonged.

not quite afloat

To my eye, this sculpture by R. L. Croft looks like something John Smith left behind or a pirate ship or an oversized eagles’ nest. But whether you’re inclined to see John Smith’s shallop or a pile of wood, it’s worth taking a walk in the woods at Pony Pasture in the  James River Park System to check it out. Take the main riverside trail east from the parking lot to Half Moon Beach. There take the narrow trail even closer to the river east and you’ll see the sculpture soon. That is if idiots don’t wreck it. It’s already changed since I saw it earlier this week. One bit of wood with iron in it is no longer standing athwart the stern (misusing boat terms for fun–avoiding pirate-speak to preserve my dignity) and I chastized two males today for taking a wooden pallet from elsewhere in the park to do some dumb thing to the boat. I guess some people’s nature is to wreck things. I’d rather leave that to nature.

in dry dock for now

This will be worth checking on when the river rises, as the boat might seem to float. When it floods, part of it will most assuredly become part of another log jam downriver.

I’m back!