Upper James by canoe

After traversing the Blue Ridge highlands by foot, the Footprints team began the float back to Richmond on the James River, putting in just below Lynchburg. We had originally planned to paddle down the Tye River, but water levels were too low for our heavily loaded canoes. Over two days we paddled down to James River State Park (JRSP), camping the first night on a gravel bar on a small island. That evening after setting camp and an excellent dutch oven dinner, students performed skits to teach each other the principles of Leave No Trace (LNT) camping by campfire light (LNT campfire – in a fire pan and we packed our ashes out). While at James River State Park we had several lectures from guest experts who came in to rendezvous with us.  Dr. Ed Crawford (VCU Biology) gave a lecture on wetland biology and conservation in the campground using our portable battery-powered projector and then took us “owling”. Using recorded calls and his voice, he coaxed a number of screech owls in up close. We also heard about 19th century industry and transportation from Dr. Jim Watkinson (VCU History)  and Monacan Indian history from anthropologist Karenne Wood (Director of the Virginia Indian Program at Virginia Foundation for the Humanities).

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