James River Park System
The James River Park System currently totals 562 acres and contains 280 acres under conservation easement, although there are plans to acquire more land, and put more land under easement. The age of the oldest trees is not certain, but 100 rings have been counted on a downed loblolly pine and a downed chestnut oak. There is no old-growth forest in this park, however, the strong protections put in place on this forest ensure that it may recover in time. Tree species include: red and silver maple, white oak, bitternut hickory, hackberry, tulip tree, eastern cottonwood, American sycamore, river birch, black walnut, box elder, sweetbay, beech, and pawpaw.
These forests lie along the “founding river” of the United States. Here were Native American fishing villages, the earliest European colonial exploration, a Confederate prisoner of war camp, and early 19th century industrial development. They now provide respite, retreat, and recreation for urban and suburban residents of a city of 250,000 and a region of nearly 1.5 million. They are a crucial contributor to the city’s “green infrastructure” and essential to the quality of life and public health for the city of Richmond. Many thanks are owed to the following easement partners: Capital Region Land Conservancy, Enrichmond, and Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.