That was the sentiment of Betsie Valley Trail Care Coordinator, Charlie Gregory, when he took on this project last year. “We don’t want to pack the trail with signs,” he commented at a past board meeting. “I’m looking to simplify messages and actually reduce the number of signs along the trail.”

Sign Project Now Complete

Nearly all the signs along the Crystal Lake Property Rights Association (CLPRA) special use section of the trail from Beulah to Mollineaux Road (a 3 mile segment) were removed and replaced. About 50 in all. The objectives in creating the new signs were to:

1) Reduce the amount of information and make the signs along the trail easier to read

2) Emphasize key rules and trail reminders important to the Betsie Valley Trailway Management Council and Crystal Lake Property Owners Association

3) Identify the segment of the trail where the rule(s) apply

4) Emphasize being cautious and courteous

5) Post warnings on areas at sharp turns. 

Of particular importance was an emphasis on the trail being narrow and for riders to be courteous, cautious, and in-control. As such we added new signs that reinforced the posted speed limit of 10 MPH for that section. Additionally, we created two separate signs at all trail heads; a blue and white sign with trail rules and a green and white sign with trail reminders. It should be noted that the last reminder is “Enjoy the Spectacular Views.”  

Since the trail is narrow by traditional bike trail standards at 8′  with a crushed gravel surface and cottage cross traffic abuting both sides of the trail, the speed limit is 10 MPH and no dogs are allowed. Points of great interest for CLPRA. 

Additionally, two areas with sharp turns that have given riders problems were identified and “caution sharp turns ahead” signs were posted.    

Different signs were posted at Mollineaux facing west toward Frankfort as that section is wide and paved. Thus, leashed dogs are welcome and riders are under a 15 MPH speed limit.

Friends President Jed Maker had this to say about the project, “The new signage, we hope, will lead to increased safety for trail users, residents and their pets who live along the trail. It’s important that cyclists are aware that they are riding through someone’s front yard and extra caution and consideration is called for.”

What about e-bikes?

We are often asked about the rules that exist regarding e-bikes. The Betsie Valley Trail currently has no special rules for e-bikes. The trail, with respect to e-bikes, is under state law which only allows e-bikes with pedal assist only — not throttled. The Friends position on this matter is as follows:

Trail users should understand and appreciate that the trail is for all to use — so share the trail!

All users should exercise caution and be courteous.

You don’t have to be on an e-bike to speed or ride recklessly. Let folks know when you’re approaching from behind. Use a bell or say “passing on your left”. 

Please report those who don’t show courtesy to other trail users. Describe the poor behavior you observe to the trail care coordinator by emailing If we find that trail users are frequently not following the rules, the DNR will start patrolling the trail and will ticket and fine violators. We certainly hope there is never a need to take this action.