The paving of the Trail will begin at the Beulah trailhead.

The Friends were excited to receive the news in October that our second try for a Michigan Spark Grant funded by American Rescue Plan Act was approved by the Michigan DNR.

“We were quite happy with the news of the grant,” said Jim Gribble, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for the Friends. “It will allow us to get started paving from Beulah to Thompsonville and we’re confident that improvement made in these first phases will build some momentum for the remainder of the project.”

The $400,000 will cover the cost of the first phase of the 12-mile paving project, paving one mile of Trail south of Beulah to Case Road. As described in the summer newsletter, the second phase involves replacing culverts from Case Road to Haze Road and is expected to cost approximately $1 million.

The third phase of the project is paving the remaining 11 miles of trail from Case Road to Thompsonville, at a cost of $3 million. We are seeking other grants and funding sources for the project. Improving the trail and the environment around it with each phase could open the door for other grant awards.

The Thompsonville Area Revitalization Project was recently awarded $346,000 to build a new rail-themed park and trailhead in the village. “The TARP project and others will once again make Thompsonville a center of activity and important crossroads for non-motorized traffic,” Gribble continued. “Making the Trail more accessible and usable for everyone is an important step in making this regional project a success.”

UPDATE: Jim Gribble shared the news live on 9&10 News Good Day Northern Michigan about the $400,000 grant and plans for improving the accessibility of the Trail from Beulah to Thompsonville. He highlights the Thompsonville Area Revitalization Project & Joy 2 Ride Benzie.

Scroll to SECOND video on this page to watch: