Volunteer help is particularly needed this year because our typical annual grant from Michigan DNR for routine maintenance is frozen and unavailable, at least for now, due to state spending cut backs.

Here’s the latest information about volunteering to help with the Betsie Valley Trail:

The restrictions on group activities on the trail remain in place (see our post: Get Out and Enjoy the Trail — Safely), and even if there were no formal restrictions, common sense suggests we need to be slow and step-wise about restarting our group volunteer work days.  That said, there are still several opportunities where you can help out.

If you see something, say something:

First, if you are out using the trail (which we encourage), please report anything that needs attention to John Rothhaar, our Trail Care Coordinator (see contact info below).  If there is anything that presents a definite safety concern and it’s a big job to correct, we can enlist help from Michigan DNR or a contractor.  If it’s a smaller job, we can work in pairs and take care of it.  And when you’re out on the trail, if you’re comfortable picking up litter (we suggest taking a small bag and gloves with you), that would be great, although fortunately, litter has rarely been a big problem for our trail.

Help with sign installations:

Sign Upgrade and Replacement – Within the next couple of weeks, we are going to be putting up some better signage regarding the flooding and detours in the Betsie Bay area.  If you can help dig post holes and attach new signs, let John know within the next couple of days.  Timing is flexible, and we’ll work in pairs with masks.  Later, we’ll also be replacing some old and damaged signs and posts, so there will be more opportunities later.

Self-directed projects available (work on your own schedule):

Bench Care –There are quite a few benches along the paved portion of the trail, which need to be kept tidy.  No more than three visits over the summer season would be needed to keep brush and weeds trimmed, and no power equipment is needed.

Cell phone coverage investigation – We’ve had reports that cell phone coverage is spotty in some parts of the trail.  For safety purposes, it would be good to know if there are areas with no or weak coverage.  This task would involve doing some research and reporting back.

Emergency locator signs – Other area trails have small emergency locator signs on some of the signposts to help emergency responders find the location where they are needed.  The snowmobile part of our trail already has these, and it would be good to have them on all sections of the trail.  The task would be to find out more about the existing signs and bring back recommendations for implementing a locator system for the rest of the trail.

Stay tuned for additional upcoming activities where you can help:

Mowing – To save money we’ll continue to use volunteer labor to help with the shoulder mowing.  Look for a notice in June asking for volunteers to help with the first round.

Other Routine Maintenance – Look for future notices requesting help with trimming brush, surface repair, crack filling and root cutting.

Never hesitate to contact John with questions, concerns or suggestions for ways to improve the trail:  bvtcare@gmail.com; or 231-383-5738.


Replacement Trail Care Coordinator Needed – You may have read about John’s great work as our TCC for the past four years in our recent post: Volunteer Spotlight on Our Trail Care Coordinator John Rothhaar. Well, John is looking to transition out of his role by next year, so now would be a great time for a potential replacement to work into the position gradually or at least to investigate what is involved. Feel free to give John a call to discuss your possible interest in becoming our next Trail Care Coordinator!


Reminders:  Trail Maintenance is under the direction of the Betsie Valley Trailway Management Council, an agency of Benzie County, as directed by the Trail Care Coordinator.  Volunteers are responsible for their own safety while working on the trail and they assume all risks associated with their activities.

The Friends of the Betsie Valley Trail is a separate non-profit corporation formed to support the trail.  The Friends organization does not organize or manage maintenance activities on the trail and the Friends are not responsible for volunteer maintenance activities on the trail.