Resurfacing the trail along Crystal Lake last spring represented the first major upgrade of the trail in decades…and we’re just getting started!

The Friends have been working hard the past couple years to build the capabilities of our organization. We’ve added several new board members and staff who are actively managing projects and taking on important responsibilities.

We’re also in the midst of developing a new vision and mission for the trail that will look well into the future of recreational and non-motorized transportation in our region and beyond.

We are actively seeking $2 million in funding to pave the 12-mile segment of the trail from the trailhead in Beulah south to Thompsonville.

The dedication of the historical marker in Thompsonville last summer recognized the important role the “Diamond Crossing” and “The biggest little town in Michigan” played in the economic development of northern Michigan over a century ago.

Recently, the Benzie Area Historical Society released a new book Thompsonville in Time: A Northwest Michigan Story 1890-2021. It’s an outstanding historic collection of the people and their lives using their words and historic photos of the history of Thompsonville — the travails of a small northwest Michigan village that enjoyed robust and rapid growth at the turn of the nineteenth century but lost its stature over time.

Our vision is to recapture the importance of Thompsonville as a crossroads – in the past for rail and in the future for non-motorized transportation.

New and existing rails-to-trails will someday take users northeast to Interlochen, southeast to Mesick/Cadillac, and southwest to Manistee/Ludington – eventually connecting entire lower Michigan.

Stay tuned for more updates on our efforts to secure funding for this important project. Subscribe to our e-newsletter to get the latest updates.  

The future vision illustrated above indicates why Thompsonville will again serve as a critical crossroads in northwest lower Michigan.