300 Tredegar St.
Second Place: Virginia Capital Trail
Third Place: Pocahontas State Park
Once an overgrown urban wilderness, today the James River Park System is — well, “the phrase we use a lot is, we’re getting absolutely loved to death,” says Michael Burton, the park system’s trails manager. The park saw an estimated 1.3 million visitors last year, Burton says, and new infrared sensors suggest that at least 100,000 hikers, bikers and runners use the main trails annually. If you love the park, Burton has a favor to ask — three favors, actually: One, be considerate of other trail users, and communicate. He sees run-ins between oblivious, earbud-wearing runners and speeding cyclists all the time. Two, stay off the trails when they’re muddy. And three, ask your city councilman to increase park funding: “We have seven staff members and we have a million and a half users.” If the James River Park feels too crowded to you, the 52-mile Virginia Capital Trail between Richmond and Williamsburg is now open to bicyclists. And you can happily get lost on Pocahontas State Park’s 64 miles of trails.
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