Let’s Get Together to See the Latest Botanical Garden Attraction in Michigan. Dow Garden’s Canopy Walkway in Whiting Forest. Canopy walkways – also called canopy walks, treetop walks or treetop walkways – provide pedestrian access to a forest canopy. Early walkways consisted of bridges between trees in the canopy of a forest; mostly linked up with platforms inside or around the trees. They were originally intended as access to the upper regions of ancient forests for scientists conducting canopy research.
In 1905, the first piece of the Whiting Forest property was acquired by Herbert H. Dow, the founder of the Dow Chemical Company, and his wife Grace. Herbert indulged in his favorite hobby by planting an extensive apple orchard and digging two ponds for irrigation, which remain beautiful features in the forest. Herbert and Grace had seven children. Their oldest son, Willard, eventually became the second president of the Dow Chemical Company.
In 1939, ownership passed to Willard Dow. Upon his death, the property passed to his daughter Helen Dow Whiting, and her husband Macauley. The Whitings took great care to create a beautiful home for their six children and continued the apple orchard. When the Whitings retired to Sun Valley ID, they donated the property to the City of Midland. Now owned by the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, it was opened to the public in 2004.
In 2014, Metcalfe Architecture & Design and Jonathan Alderson Landscape Architects (of Philadelphia) began developing plans for construction in the summer of 2014. Phase one will be completed in 2018 with a sneak preview and includes lodge renovations, canopy walk, a forest classroom, and planting of a four-zoned orchard. The grand opening will take place October 2018.
Dow Gardens was started in 1899 by Herbert Dow, founder of The Dow Chemical Company. The Gardens, originally developed on eight acres of flat, sandy land, provided a creative outlet for Herbert Dow and his interest in agriculture and design. He created gardens, ponds and hills according to a simple philosophy that we still follow to this day: “never reveal the gardens’ whole beauty at first glance.”
Alden B. Dow, Herbert’s youngest son and an experienced architect, continued his father’s work on the Gardens. The family connection continued with the involvement of Herbert Dow’s grandson, Herbert Dow II.
Thanks to the dedicated guidance of the Dow family, the Gardens have grown to 110 acres. Today, the creativity of Herbert Dow is still revealed to all those who visit Dow Gardens.
Meet at the visitor center at 11am on Friday, October 12, 2018. APLD-MI members are free. Non-members pay the $5.00 entry fee.