Community Conservation

Connecting People to the James

The James River Association’s Community Conservation Program helps communities throughout the watershed realize the benefits of a healthy James River and encourages them to protect it. Quality of life and economic benefits are derived from recreation and business activity on the James River and its tributaries.

In an effort to preserve the “James River Experience,” Community Conservation program staff members work with landowners and partners, including land trusts, to protect land on the banks of the James River.

Community Conservation program staff members work with localities, partners and stakeholders to expand public recreational access to the James River and its tributaries. From the Alleghany Highlands to Fort Monroe, 20 new public river access sites have opened on the James River or one of its tributaries since 2012!

Community Conservation

   Regional Rivers Plan

The Regional Rivers Plan fulfills the James River Regional Plan strategy, one of four strategies presented to The Capital Region Collaborative by Bill Street Chair of the James River Work Group, on April 26, 2013. The plan was created to guide the expansion of the public recreational access network on the rivers of the Richmond Region. Recommendations for new public access sites, tourism, and economic development are features of the plan. The James River Action Team of The Capital Region Collaborative is charged with implementing the plan.

To access the Regional Rivers Plan, visit


The vision of the Regional Rivers Plan is threefold, comprised of visions for recreation, tourism, and economic development.

Vision for Recreation

The Richmond Region has a cohesive network of publicly accessible riverside parks, conservation areas, historic sites, canoe and kayak launches and boat landings accommodating a variety of active and passive recreational activities and linked by greenways, blueways, and trails.

Vision for Economic Development

Businesses benefit from events and recreation on the rivers of the region, which serve as sources of freshwater and support commerce and industries.

Vision for Tourism

The rivers of the Richmond Region are destinations for their diversity of outdoor events and festivals, recreational opportunities, rich history, and thriving riverfronts featuring dynamic public spaces and a variety of commercial attractions balanced by conservation easements, wildlife refuges, and protected lands.

The creation of the Regional Rivers Plan would not have been possible without the generous support of Altria, WestRock Foundation, Custis Westham Fund of The Community Foundation, and The Cameron Foundation.

    Richmond Riverfront Plan

Community Conservation program staff members continue to work with the City of Richmond and partners to ensure implementation of the Richmond Riverfront Plan, the vision document for Richmond’s riverfront, continues. Progress was observed on Richmond’s riverfront in 2015, as construction of the T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge commenced, the Lehigh Cement silos were demolished creating a new 1.5 acre public riverfront space, and the Virginia Capital Trail opened. The Potterfield Memorial Bridge is anticipated to be complete in 2016 and the Downriver section of the riverfront, including Intermediate Terminal, is experiencing a transformation with new public and private investment flowing into the area.
Richmond Riverfront Plan

   Upper James River Water Trail

Richmond Riverfront Plan
The James River Association is working in partnership with Botetourt County, Rockbridge County, Town of Buchanan, Town of Glasgow, Twin River Outfitters, Wilderness Canoe Co., Chesapeake Conservancy, and other partners to expand the Upper James River Water Trail from Alpine to Snowden. The partners received a grant from the Virginia Tourism Corporation Marketing Leverage Program to help the proposed expansion become a reality. Updates to the Upper James River Water Trail website and brochure are underway and will complement physical improvements to the trail.
Visit the Upper James River Water Trail website to learn more about the trail and plan an adventure.

Connect Virginians to their river.

Volunteers help by leading our interpretive paddle programs, assisting with outreach at events, constructing boat launches and exploring local waterways to assess river access.

Justin Doyle

Justin Doyle

Community Conservation Manager
Phone: (804) 788-8811 ext.212

Discover how to protect and enjoy your river. Join the James River Association today! »