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Guided boat, paddling trips on the James are back for river season

The James River Association is providing boat and paddle trips for river enthusiasts.

Trevor Dickerson

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The James River Association (JRA) will launch its seasonal boat and paddle programs starting in May 2023. These guided river trips are open to the public and offer unique experiences for participants to engage with the river through birdwatching tours, photography excursions, historical batteau rides, and sturgeon-watching trips—all while learning about the wildlife, history, and natural resources of the river and its tributaries.

It’s a chance for local recreationists, as well as regional travelers, to take a break on the James and enjoy the natural beauty and solace it provides. Trips will take place in each of JRA’s three regions which include Richmond, Williamsburg, and Lynchburg.

In the Williamsburg region, JRA’s Connect with the James program will offer kayaking tours of Powhatan Creek in partnership with James City County, highlighting river birds and other local flora and fauna. In the Richmond region, JRA’s Connect with the James program will offer pontoon boat sunset cruises, wildlife outings highlighting the ever-popular Atlantic sturgeon, and art-themed adventures in partnership with Artspace in which participants can either sketch or photograph the river with the guidance of a seasoned teacher.

“Every year, more than 2.7 million Virginians rely on the James River for drinking water, but only a small handful of them have regular access to the river. Our goal with the Connect with James program is to change that!” said Mike Lyden, JRA’s Senior Operations Manager. “Whether taking a guided trip focused on history and wildlife or participating in a trash cleanup along the river’s banks, the James has a way to engage everyone. Join us for a Connect with the James trip and experience how the river not only provides water for drinking but water for pure enjoyment.”

In the Lynchburg region, JRA’s James River Adventures, located at Riveredge Park across the river from downtown Lynchburg, will provide guided river paddles in addition to offering a one-of-a-kind opportunity to ride back in time on a historic batteau boat along one of the James’ most beautiful and fascinating stretches of water.

“We can’t wait to get people back on the James for river season,” said Rob Campbell, JRA’s Upper James Senior Regional Manager. “I’m especially excited to provide river lovers with the opportunity to take a trip on our historic batteau and give them a chance to enjoy the river in a whole new way.”Pre-registration is required for all programs. JRA provides canoes, kayaks, paddles, and personal flotation devices to participants. All fees associated with Connect with the James and James River Adventures are donations to JRA to help protect and connect people with the James, and to create a healthy river for thriving communities.

For more information and to book a trip, visit https://thejamesriver.org/whats-happening/connect-with-the-james/.

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Trevor Dickerson is the Editor and Co-Founder of RVAHub.