March 1, 2021


Erin Hillert
Marketing & Communications Manager
James River Association

James River Association Provides Connection to the James River through Guided Trips

The James River Association (JRA) just launched registration for the 2021 season of their popular “Connect with the James” guided river trips. These programs are open to the public and provide a one-of-kind experience to enjoy the water while learning about the wildlife, history and natural resources of the James River and its tributaries. Opportunities include canoeing, kayaking, and pontoon boat tours in the Greater Richmond and Williamsburg areas.

When Covid-19 restrictions cancelled the majority of group events during 2020, JRA increased the number of “Connect with the James” trips they offered to provide the public a chance to safely be on a guided paddle trip on the James while appreciating the beauty and relaxation of being outdoors. They plan to replicate this robust schedule for 2021, with trips running from March through October.

“Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the James River Association has been committed to continuing the work of getting people outside and connecting with the James River, but in a safe, socially distant, and fun environment,” said Aaron Bouchard, JRA’s Master Captain and Environmental Educator. “Our Connect with the James program provides a great opportunity to join JRA staff and educators on the water and to gain a renewed or continued appreciation for what the James River can offer us. A Connect with the James guided canoe paddle is an excellent and safe way to get outside and connect with nature!”

Highlights of the 2021 season include guided canoe tours of Powhatan Creek in James City County, guided canoe tours of Turkey Island Creek in Henrico County, sturgeon-sighting trips on JRA’s Spirit of the James pontoon boat near downtown Richmond, and hybrid trips to Presquile Wildlife National Refuge combining a pontoon boat ride with hiking, birding, or canoeing options.

“We are excited to once again partner with James City County Parks and Recreation to bring Connect with the James to the Williamsburg area,” said Emily Hinson, JRA’s Lower James Regional Outreach Manager. “Our Williamsburg trips give participants the opportunity to explore Powhatan Creek, which boasts freshwater marshes, cypress swamps, and wildlife viewing.”

Pre-registration is required for all programs, with Covid-19 safety guidelines strictly enforced. JRA provides canoes, kayaks, paddles, and personal flotation devices to participants.

JRA’s Connect with the James programs are made possible by generous support from the National Park Service Chesapeake Bay Office and supported by funds generated from the sale of Chesapeake Bay License Plates. For more information about programs and to book a trip, visit

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