Protecting the James River Park for Generations to Come
The James River Park System easement was a level-up for CRLC. In 2009, CRLC worked with the City of Richmond Department of Parks, Recreation, and Community Facilities to record a conservation easement protecting the James River Park, including Pony Pasture Rapids, The Wetlands, Huguenot Flatwater, Belle Isle, Chapel Island, and Great Shiplock Park. The James River Park will be protected for the enjoyment of future generations, while protecting the area’s water quality by protecting a key riparian buffer area.
While one might think that because these lands were already a city park they would be protected, but many concerned citizens and environmental leaders feared without significant, perpetual protection, land in the James River Park could be sold off in the future by a cash-strapped city. The easement prevents all development on the land, meaning no buildings, houses, businesses, or significant additions of pavement can be added to the land. The City may cut new trails and maintain existing trails with oversight from CRLC. The City is also required to prove, via inspection and documentation annually, that they are continuing stewardship of the lands as outlined in the agreement.
This easement was the first of its kind in Virginia, as no other land trust or City had entered into an agreement to protect a high traffic, urban park system before. CRLC was awarded a Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award for its work with the City of Richmond to preserve more than 280 acres of the James River Park System.
Read more about the James River Park in the JRP Master Plan.
Future of the James River Park
CRLC is working with the City of Richmond Department of Parks and Community Facilities to add additional acreage to the James River Park easement in the coming year. The park will expand to accommodate the growth in popularity of the James River Park, further the protection of this vital resource for future generations of residents, and maintain the standards set out in the original easement.