|Benzie County, Michigan|
Location in the state of Michigan
Michigan's location in the U.S.
860 sq mi (2,227 km²)
321 sq mi (831 km²)
538 sq mi (1,393 km²), 62.62%
49/sq mi (19/km²)
Benzie County, Michigan's smallest in terms of land area, is located in the northwest of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, in the "little finger" position of the mitten-shaped peninsula. Lake Michigan is to the west, Leelanau County and the Leelanau Peninsula are to the north. Grand Traverse County and Traverse City are to the east. Wexford County is to the southeast and Manistee County to the south. The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore extends into the northwest portion of the county. Crystal Lake is a prominent physical feature of the area. The Platte River rises out of a lake district around Lake Ann in the northeast of the county and flows southwest and the northwest into Platte Lake before emptying into Lake Michigan at Platte River Point. The Betsie River rises in neighboring Grand Traverse County, flowing southwest across the southeast corner of the county into Manistee County, where it bends northwest until just south of Benzonia where it receives the outflow of Crystal Lake and then flows mostly west through Elberta and Frankfort and into Lake Michigan.
Portions of the Pere Marquette State Forest lie within the county and offers several trails including a 10 mile route along the Betsie River and a 5.8 mile trail near Lake Ann. There are state forest campgrounds at Platte River and Lake Ann. The Betsie River State Game Area is located just east of Elberta. 50 miles of the Betsie River is a state-designated Natural River from Grass Lake, just west of the Grand Traverse County line, to its inlet into Lake Betsie just east of Elberta.
- US 31 enters the county from the south, passes through Benzonia and Beulah on the south end of Crystal Lake before turning to exit the county on the east side.
- M-22 traverses the western edge of the county, providing a scenic drive along the shore of Lake Michigan.
- M-115 enters the county from the south, angling northwest, and merges with US 31 for a couple of mile until Benzonia where MI-115 continues west to end in Frankfort.
- M-168 is one of the shortest state highways in Michigan, extending 0.95 miles from a junction with M-22 in downtown Elberta northwest to the former Ann Arbor Railroad ferry docks.
As of the census2 of 2000, there were 15,998 people, 6,500 households, and 4,595 families residing in the county. The population density was 19/km² (50/sq mi). There were 10,312 housing units at an average density of 12/km² (32/sq mi). The racial makeup of the county was 96.39% White, 0.28% Black or African American, 1.59% Native American, 0.16% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.39% from other races, and 1.19% from two or more races. 1.46% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 96.8% spoke English and 1.9% Spanish as a first language.
There were 6,500 households out of which 28.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.2% were married couples living together, 7.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.30% were non-families. 24.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 2.86.
In the county the population was spread out with 23.4% under the age of 18, 6.2% from 18 to 24, 27.1% from 25 to 44, 25.8% from 45 to 64, and 17.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 98.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.4 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $37,350, and the median income for a family was $42,716. Males had a median income of $30,218 versus $21,730 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,524. About 4.7% of families and 7.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.2% of those under age 18 and 5.2% of those age 65 or over.
The county government operates the jail, maintains rural roads, operates the major local courts, keeps files of deeds and mortgages, maintains vital records, administers public health regulations, and participates with the state in the provision of welfare and other social services. The county board of commissioners controls the budget but has only limited authority to make laws or ordinances. In Michigan, most local government functions — police and fire, building and zoning, tax assessment, street maintenance, etc. — are the responsibility of individual cities and townships.
Benzie County elected officials
- Prosecuting Attorney: Anthony Cicchelli
- Sheriff: Robert Blank
- County Clerk: Dawn Olney
- County Treasurer: Linda M. Wilson
- Register of Deeds: Michelle Gray
- Drain Commissioner: Terry Money
- County Surveyor: John Smendzuik
(information as of September 2005)
Cities, villages, and townships
- Almira Township
- Benzonia Township
- Blaine Township
- Colfax Township
- Crystal Lake Township
- Gilmore Township
- Homestead Township
- Inland Township
- Joyfield Township
- Lake Township
- Platte Township
- Weldon Township
- Snavemiij.com - Photos, art, and articles relating to Lake Michigan, Benzie County, Frankfort, and Arcadia.
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