Parks and Recreation Design
Whitewater Gorge Activation Plan
The Whitewater Gorge Activation Plan is a strategic planning initiative to identify the best way to preserve and protect the 100-acre Whitewater Gorge Park while also creating recreational opportunities that will allow visitors to explore the historical, geological, and natural assets of the area. To advance the findings and recommendations on the 2020 Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Master Plan, the Department prioritized the development of a management and activation plan for Whitewater Gorge Park. As one of the City’s largest park properties, the opportunities to incorporate themes and recommendations from the citywide planning effort in a specific and site-specific way were numerous.
At the onset of the planning process, it became clear that the management plan for the Whitewater Gorge area needed to be more than a development master plan. Instead, the plan needed to provide concepts, recommendations, and an action plan that would identify how the Department could protect, improve, and activate the 150-acre park.
During the activation planning process, the project team, in coordination with Department staff and resident stakeholders established a long-term vision to guide the future development of the park site. The vision applied the park P.R.I.D.E. goals and objectives outlined in the 2020 Richmond Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Master Plan to specific elements in Whitewater Gorge Park, adjacent properties, and the broader redevelopment goals of the City of Richmond.
The final Activation Plan provides details of short, mid, and long-range recommendations on how the Whitewater Gorge can be enhanced to become a resilient and sustainable site that features active public spaces, inclusive amenities, and diverse programming opportunities.
Richmond Department of Parks and Recreation