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James River Park System breaks record, celebrates 2 million visitors

Posted at 11:40 AM, Jan 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-12 11:40:25-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Visitors accessed the James River Park System (JRPS) more than 2 million times in 2020.

That is the most the park system has ever registered since it began tracking visitors in 2014.

“Having over 2 million visitors in the James River Park during this year of isolation reminds us that every bit of outdoor space is precious," Mary K. Martin, President of the Friends of James River Park System, said in a statement released to the media.

JRPS arrived at the 2.1 million visitor figure by tracking visitor counts at entrances at 17 park entrances at spots like Belle Isle, Pony Pasture, Pump House Park and the Potterfield Bridge.

Trails like the Buttermilk and North Bank are also included in the tally.

"Reaching 2.1 million visitors within the calendar year, during a pandemic, shows exactly why open spaces are needed and how essential parks are to the fabric of our communities,” Chris Frelke, Director of Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities, said.

July saw the most monthly visitors with 244,611 counted.

Here's a look at totals for previous years:

2019 – 1,947,585
2018- 1,661,882
2017 – 1,798,979
2016 – 1,555,761*
2015 – 1,428,970*
2014 – 900,924**

* The counter had not yet been installed on the south end of the Potterfield Bridge.
** The counters had not yet been installed on the Potterfield Bridge nor Wetlands entrance.