Dear Friends of the Betsie Valley Trail and All Trail Users,

In a normal year, right about now I’d be scheduling trail clean-up work days encouraging groups to get out and police the trail for litter and downed trees or limbs. Unfortunately, this year is about as far from normal as most of us could have ever imagined. Here’s where things stand with respect to the Betsie Valley Trail as of now.

First on the good news side, the trail is open and generally in very good shape for this time of year. So by all means take advantage, but please follow the recommendations in other posts for how to be sensible and safe.

COVID-19 Physical Distancing Signs at Trailheads

The DNR has posted signs at trailheads providing guidance for physical distancing. Click on the image to read the sign.

It should go without saying, but any and all group activity on the trail is not allowed until further notice. That’s consistent with good, common sense, but also is now mandated by Michigan DNR on all trails owned by the State, including ours. That order by DNR specifically mentions the cessation all routine maintenance activities by volunteers, so we will not be having any organized volunteer work days and some of our early season tidying up will just have to wait.

Because some of our early season maintenance is on hold, some minor spring clean-up items will be delayed.  While the trail itself is clear of downed limbs and trees, the trail shoulders are not as clear as we would like, so just be aware of places where there is not as much room along the trail edges.  Also, our usual spring litter removal will be delayed, but we will get to it as soon as we can.

Be aware that high water issues continue to plague the Elberta area. A portion of the trail that’s immediately adjacent to M22 remains flooded. In the last week and a half, at times the trail was also flooded just east of the Elberta parking lot south of M22. The only way around those spots is to use public roads, so be very careful. There is also a washout at the western end of the boardwalk bridge across the Betsie River along M22. A temporary repair has been put in place, but use caution in that area.

Even though group volunteer activities are on hold, there is still a way anyone can help out.  Please report, using my email address below, if you see any situations that need attention, especially anything that’s a potential safety concern.  DNR has essential personnel available to help us address matters affecting safety like downed trees, potholes or erosion.

Finally, keep in mind that not only can conditions on the trail change quickly, so can mandated restrictions and recommendations.  We’ll do our best to keep up to date info available.

John Rothhaar, Bestie Valley Trail Care Coordinator
p: 231-383-5738