Wednesday, July 14, 2020


Erin Hillert
Marketing & Communications Manager
James River Association

A New Voyage Sets Sail at James River Adventures

The James River Association Offers Batteau Trips to the Public

The batteau was a common means of travel in Lynchburg during the early nineteenth century, and starting Friday, July 16, 2021, the public can once again journey the James on a historic batteau, thanks to James River Adventures. Based in Amherst County’s Riveredge Park, James River Adventures sits on the banks of the river and provides opportunities to kayak and canoe one of the most beautiful sections of the James. This Friday, they will add a new and unique way to enjoy the water by providing one-of-a-kind experiences on their historic batteau boat, modeled after actual batteau boats that traveled the James centuries ago.

The James River Batteau was originally designed by Anthony and Benjamin Rucker in 1775 as a cargo boat to transport goods throughout the Commonwealth via the James River and its tributaries. It is a wide, flat bottomed boat, pointed at both ends, which makes it the perfect vessel to carry passengers and freight while navigating the shallow and rock laden waters of the non-tidal James River.

While James River Adventures serves as a livery, the actual operations and facility fall under the umbrella of the James River Association (JRA), a non-profit organization acting as the guardian of the James River since its foundation in 1976. JRA protects the James and connects people to it through their core programs of watershed restoration, education, advocacy, and community conservation. While JRA’s batteau has already been making appearances in Virginia Canal & Navigations Society’s annual James River Batteau Festival, and the organization has also been providing trips for student education and private group tours, they are thrilled to embark on a new journey of offering this experience to everyone.

“We are excited to add historic batteau trips to the activities available to residents and visitors around Lynchburg.” says Bill Street, CEO for the James River Association. “We don’t know of any other river that offers batteau trips to the public and because the batteau was invented right here, it is a unique and special way to experience America’s Founding River. The more people enjoy the James, the more they are inspired to protect it too.”

JRA’s Upper James Community Conservationist and long-time batteau enthusiast, Rob Campbell, is the acting Captain of the batteau, running trips out of James River Adventures every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 11am and 1pm. Rides last about 90 minutes and explore the downtown Lynchburg corridor of the James River. Passengers will get the chance to float back in time by taking in sweeping views of the historic city, including old structures from the days of the Canal along the James, and also be educated on wildlife as well as the health and natural resources of the river.

“A trip on our batteau is like a step back in time, you really get the feel of what it was like out on the James when these big boats were in action 200+ years ago,” says Campbell. “There’s no better setting to get a sense of the way things used to be on the river and it’s also a really great place to keep an eye out for some interesting wildlife one wouldn’t expect to see right in downtown Lynchburg! With a batteau, you can enjoy the James with a group of friends in the same boat, and include people who may not be comfortable or able to get into a canoe or kayak.”

To book a batteau trip and learn more about James River Adventures, visit Please note that all reservations must be made at least 24 hours in advance.

ABOUT THE JAMES RIVER ASSOCIATION: The James River Association is a member-supported nonprofit organization founded in 1976 to serve as a guardian and voice for the James River. Throughout the James River’s 10,000-square mile watershed, the James River Association works toward its vision of a fully healthy James River supporting thriving communities. The James River Association believes that “when you change the James, the James changes you”. With offices in Lynchburg, Richmond, Williamsburg, and Scottsville, the James River Association is committed to protecting the James River and connecting people to it. For more information visit