Boating permitted in lakes at Byrd, Forest Hill parks

Paddling in the lake at Forest Hill Park is now permittedThe Forest Hill Yacht Club can defend its own turf. The first ever Regatta at Forest Hill Park Lake back on May 22 must have impressed someone important because non-motorized watercraft are permitted in three lakes in parks in the City of Richmond as of July 1.

The City of Richmond Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities posted signs Thursday at Byrd Park’s Swan and Shield’s lakes north of the James River and at Forest Hill Park Lake on the southside in Westover Hills.

That’s good news for paddlers. Fishing is possible at all three lakes and they are all big enough to have space to play, but small enough to stay safe. A great family friendly choice by the forward-thinking staff led by director J.R. Pope.

Highlights of the lake boating rules:
1. Non-power boating only
2. No boats over 12 feet in length
4. Lake closed at sunset and open at sunrise daily (April 1 to Nov. 30)
5. No swimming is allowed
6. Persons under age 13 must wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation device of proper size and fit when boating

A good quote from Mayor Dwight Jones from the press release, with my bolded highlight:

The use of non-powered watercraft provides park boaters the opportunity to view the beauty of city’s parks from a different perspective. Paddling and rowing are activities that require the engagement of multiple muscle groups and which helps tone muscles and reduce body weight.

That fits my perspective on why I bought a kayak in the first place — to see things on the river from a different perspective.

It’s also a big reason why I’d love to see people allowed into the Haxall Canal. You could become part of the scene and add to the atmosphere at a park or event.

At this time, there is no advancement on being permitted to paddle in the Haxall Canal at Brown’s Island or offering paddle boats for rent during events like Friday Cheers or the Richmond Folk Festival, but we’ll keep working on that one.


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