‘The water is the biggest hazard’: Dangerous river conditions in Richmond for Memorial Day

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The James River is getting dangerously high as the weather continues to bring rain ahead of Memorial Day.

“It will be kind of a challenge to have all of the traditional things that you’re used to on Memorial Day weekend,” James River Park System Superintendent Bryce Wilk told 8News.

The river levels are going to be above flood stage on Memorial Day, so it’s recommended not to go in the water.

“These are times where you should not be swimming in the river. It is dangerous for you and for young ones, old ones, anyone in between,” said Wilk. “The water will be at high levels and there will be unforeseen dangers underneath the murky water.”

Despite the risks, Wilk says they always expect a big crowd for Memorial Day and they’ve seen increases in park usage during the pandemic. This year they’re pushing for people to remember, “We are still under a stay-at-home order, so please, please use your best judgement, use the recommendations that have been passed down to us, and make sure that we are all in this together.”

Wilk said if you insist on going out you should avoid getting near the river.

“The water is the biggest hazard that we have in this area. Although it is beautiful, we want you to be safe. So, observe the river from a distance,” said Wilk. “Don’t get too close to the edge because there are some steep cliffs and some vegetation covers up certain holes. So, if you can view it from a distance, that’ll probably be your best bet.”

Wilk also urged people looking to come out and enjoy the parks to make sure to pick up their trash, and not just leave it lying around. 

There are more safety guidelines and restrictions in the park due to the stay-at-home order:

  • Pony Pasture Parking Lot closed on weekends and holidays
  • Texas Beach/North Bank Parking Lot closed on weekends and holidays
  • Tredegar Green Parking Lot closed on weekends and holidays
  • Ancarrow’s Landing Parking Lot limited to 60 vehicles on weekends and holidays
  • Pipeline Trail closed until further notice
  • 21st Tower closed on weekends and holidays
  • Park Monitor Program

You can find out more on the Friends of the James River Park website.

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