In our last blog, Meet Our New Trail Care Coordinator, we introduced Charlie Gregory who is the new caretaker of the Betsie Valley Trail. Providing Charlie with the volunteers he needs to keep the Trail beautiful and to make new Trail enhancements is the role of our Volunteer Coordinator.

New BVT Volunteer Coordinator, Avace Wildie pictured with her husband Bruce.

Today, we’re happy to introduce Avace Wildie, the new Volunteer Coordinator for the Trail! Recently, we asked Avace to share a bit about her life in northern Michigan, her love for the Trail (since its inception!), and her excitement about working with our many valued Trail Crew volunteers.

Avace’s Lifelong Love for Our Area Reflected in Her Beautiful Memories

“Five kids packed in a car bound for summers on Crystal Lake started my childhood love for everything outdoors and molded my adult life as well,” reflected Avace recently. 

“Accepting a job at NMC, northern Michigan became my home shortly after college,” she continued. “Weekends were spent biking, hiking, or kayaking… mostly in Benzie County.  It was a big deal when the Betsie Valley Trail became a reality and the old railroad tracks transformed into a biker’s paradise.”

“After my retirement in 2010, I moved from TC to Benzie County and became part of the Benzie Bike Club with frequent rides along the Betsie Valley Trail where natures’ surprises are abundant. Open fields of wild flowers, blue birds darting into bird houses, turtles sunning themselves on the ponds or digging holes in the gravel near the trail to lay their eggs, and beavers erecting lodges that seem to spring up overnight are just a few of the surprises along the trail.”

Avace enjoying the waters of Otter Lake in the National Lakeshore

“Last year, as I was biking along the trail,” Avace recalled, “I stopped at the Crystal Lake Outlet on my way to Beulah and reminisced about being a kid hiding under the pounding flow of water spilling over the outlet, and marveled at how that car loaded with five kids headed for Beulah and a summer of adventures shaped my life.”

Become a Part of the BVT as a Valued Trail Crew Member

“Cherished memories and trail adventures happen because of the amazing Trail Crew volunteers who maintain our trail so that we all can ride along and enjoy the experience. As the new Volunteer Coordinator, I look forward to working with each member of our Trail Crew. I’ll be reaching out to all of you soon via email. In the meantime, you can reach me at A new closed group on our Facebook page offers volunteers a chance to connect and interact with other volunteers.”  (See info below to sign up.)

“We have many new projects planned for this summer and beyond and we really can use new volunteers. Please learn more about what’s involved on our Trail Crew Job Descriptions page or go right our our  Volunteer Sign up Form.”

Volunteer Group on Facebook — Volunteers are encouraged to join this closed group where you can share all kinds of things of interest with fellow volunteers. Enhance your volunteer experience when you make real connections with others who share your love for the Trail. Make new friends, learn new skills, ask questions or give advice, share your experiences, and post your pictures! We encourage all our volunteers to join and participate!