Making the Trail Visible and Visitor Ready: A Plan for the James River Segment

The Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail joined the National Trails System following designation by Congress in 2006. The trail helps visitors experience, envision, understand, and protect what the explorers and inhabitants of the region encountered 400 years ago.

by National Park Service

Given the 3,000 mile scope and diverse resources, the trail is being developed and managed in segments. Managed by the National Park Service in collaboration with many partners, this 3000 mile water trail follows the routes of Captain John Smith’s exploration of the Chesapeake in 1607‐ 1609.

The tidal James River is the first stretch of the trail for which a segment plan is being developed. This plan outlines how the trail could be enhanced along the James – from Richmond to the route 17 bridge near Newport News – over the next few years.

This plan describes a core approach in some depth. The approach, and a draft of the plan, were also discussed in depth at a stakeholder workshop held in July 2011. The pages that follow provide:

• An introduction to the trail’s foundation – its significance, resources and themes (Section 1);

• A description of the five initial focus areas and the concepts for enhancing them (Section 2);

• A discussion of overarching strategies for supporting and linking the trail (Section 3); and

• An outline of potential trail partnerships and actions for implementation (Section 4).

Attached document published December 2011

About the Author


The National Park Service (NPS) was created in 1916 and today manages over 390 units found in all 50 states and some of the U.S. territories. NPS supports and operates trails in three interlocking arenas: trails in parks, technical assistance to States and communities, and administration of much of the National Trails System.

More articles by this author

Webinars on YouTube that you might like

Celebrate Trails Day: An Overview of the Celebration + Ways to Engage

Mar 21, 2024

During the webinar, the speakers will provide an overview of Celebrate Trails Day, share ways to get involved, and will go over the tools and materials they will provide to help you plan, promote, and participate in the celebration.

National Water Trails: Designating Your Trail for NWT Status

Jul 6, 2023

Discover the benefits to designating your trail(s) as an NWT, the history of the National Recreation Trails (NRT) program and its subset National Water Trails, the process for trails to become NWTs, and more.

More resources in this category

Trails For All Americans

posted Aug 23, 2023

What would it take for all Americans to be able to go out their front doors and within fifteen minutes be on trails that wind through their cities, towns or villages and bring them back without retracing steps?

Pacific Crest Train Assn. Crew Leadership: Managing Volunteers

posted Aug 17, 2022

For students with moderate to extensive trail building experience who want to lead trail crews and work parties. Not a construction techniques class; this is about effective leadership. Students will have classroom and field work in the following topics: work day responsibilities, risk assessment and safety, tool safety and tool talk, leadership and team building, practical experience leading volunteers.

The Influence of Layout on Appalachian Trail Soil Loss, Widening, and Muddiness

posted Jul 15, 2022

This research investigates the influence of layout and design on the severity of trail degradation.

Improving the Sustainability of the Appalachian Trail

posted Jul 15, 2022

The Appalachian National Scenic Trail (A.T.) is a unique internationally recognized protected natural area encompassing more than 250,000 acres and a 2,190-mile footpath from Maine to Georgia.


403 views • posted 08/19/2020