Site preparation work has begun on a new, fully accessible site improvement to the Lewis Bridge overlook along the Betsie Valley Trail and Betsie River.

new Lewis Bridge Overlook of Betsie River along Betsie Valley Trail

Drawing of new Betsie River Overlook at the old Lewis Bridge Crossing. The river is the white area at the bottom with the Trail indicated as dark grey.

Crews have already been out to the site and are beginning to clear the area for the landscaping work which will commence next spring.

According to Benzie County Parks and Recreation Commissioner, Sean Duperron, “I’ve been working on the development of this project with our MNDR team, including Scott Slavin (our MDNR Trails Analyst) who is looking to secure the needed funding.” 

“In an ideal world, the project would be complete in mid-June with a ribbon cutting in late June. With COVID funding constraints it is hard to know,” Duperron added.

An Important River Crossing in Early Benzie County

Please Note: Each of the images below of the Lewis Bridge crossing provided by and used with the permission of the Benzie Area Historical Museum.

River Drivers on the Betsie River with Lewis Bridge, Postmarked 1912

Interpretive signage is planned to inform visitors of the rich history about the Lewis Bridge crossing. The bridge was built in the 1900s and became the primary connection between Frankfort and Elberta.  “It was not a railroad bridge or trestle, as many think,” according to Barbara Mort, Executive Director of the Benzie Area Historical Museum. “In 1932, a truck that was delivering baked goods to Frankfort was too heavy and it damaged the approach,” she added.