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Belle Isle for Potheads?


Council President Manoli Loupassi's "easygoing populist rapport make[s] him a certain and formidable player in statewide politics," says his brief entry — the only entry for a Richmond City Council member.

Then there is Belle Isle, where "popular activities of adults and youths alike include: walking the trails, swimming in the James River, sunbathing, smoking marijuana, bird-watching, and kayaking in the James."

Begun as an Internet experiment, Wikipedia has become a trusted resource for many — perhaps too trusted. In November, a storm of controversy arose after retired journalist John Seigenthaler Sr. exposed false information in his Wikipedia biography, which said Seigenthaler was "thought to have been directly involved in the Kennedy assassinations." Nevertheless, Wikipedia remains one of the Internet's most visited sites.

Saying that one can smoke pot on Belle Isle is a lot like saying one can meet open-minded men in Bryan Park.

Does pot-smoking truly rank up there with sunbathing in popularity? At least one anonymous wiki-editor apparently feels very strongly that it does; the reference was first added in March, removed by another user and then restored by the first author in April.

Police have made no drug-related arrests on the island thus far this year. Graffiti and prostitution plague some parts of the James River Park System, parks spokeswoman Christie Everson says. But is marijuana smoking rampant? "You know, I have no idea," she says, noting that the parks department's not aware of any such activity.

The parks department is not able to police Belle Isle, or the rest of the James River ParkSystem, 24 hours a day, Everson says. James River Park Manager Ralph White, however, "has heard some music and some bongo drums," Everson adds. S

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