Since 2019 Jim Gribble has been providing marketing, public relations and fundraising services for the Betsie Valley Trail. He also works on a volunteer basis for the Thompsonville Area Revitalization Project (TARP) among other non-profit groups. 
The Betsie Valley Trail (BVT) was built on the bed of the former Ann Arbor Railroad, whose tracks were removed by 1994.  Today the BVT is a 22-mile non-motorized trail that runs from Frankfort to Thompsonville.  As with other outdoor opportunities in the area, the Trail has seen a dramatic increase in use during the pandemic.
The Trail right-of-way is owned by the Michigan DNR, and the Trial is managed by the Betsie Valley Trailway Management Council.  The Council is a collaborative effort of several parties, including the Friends of the Betsie Valley Trail, a 501(c)(3) organization whose sole purpose is to foster the development and successful operation of the Trail. Recent projects of the group include the resurfacing of the Trail along Crystal Avenue and improved safety at the Trail's intersection with M-115.  The Friends are also building a badly-needed storage facility at the River Road trailhead site.
The Friends' latest project is the paving of the Trail from Beulah to Thompsonville.  This part of the Trail has been dramatically underutilized, no doubt because the gravel surface is rough and unwelcoming to most Trail users. The project is shovel-ready but will require subsantial funds.  The Friends are asking the DNR for $900,000, a request supported by local businesses including Crystal Mountian, Munson Healthcare, Stormcloud and virtually all Benzie County government entities.
Individuals are also urged to support the efforts of the Friends. To volunteer or donate, contact  To see Jim's PowerPoint program, click here.