Betsie Valley Trail

Benzie County, Michigan

Providing an off-road link to Lake Michigan from Crystal Lake, Thompsonville, and other nearby communities promises to increase tourism and to spur trail use related economic development in the Betsie Valley.The Johnson Hill Land Ethics Studio developed the conceptual framework for a trail extending from Elberta to Crystal Lake and from Beulah to Thompsonville in NW Lower Michigan.

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The Betsie Valley Trail is the result of a cooperative public-private venture between local governments, the State of Michigan, and the Friends of the Betsie Valley Trail.More than a simple trail project, the Betsie Valley Trail extends over twenty miles along the old Ann Arbor Railroad right-of-way, providing all-season recreational opportunities for bikers, hikers, skiers, and snowmobilers. The JHLE Studio developed design solutions for trailheads, scenic overlooks, roadway crossing, river access, off-trial connections, and signage. Once funding was secured, construction drawings were prepared and construction oversite was provided.The Betsie Valley Trail was completed in 2003. The Beulah trailhead and the Beulah-Thompsonville leg were completed during the summer of 2005.