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Midland — Visitors will soon have the chance to get a bird’s-eye view of a central Michigan forest through a new $20 million canopy walk that’s set to open this year.

The Canopy Walk in Midland’s Whiting Forest is expected to open in October. The attraction sprawls 1,400 feet long over the forest with bridges and walkways.

“It’s going to be peak color in October,” said Kyle Bagnall, Whiting Forest program manager. “We don’t want people to have to wait.”

The one-of-a-kind walk takes visitors up to 40 feet in the air.

“We really wanted to make this experience accessible, especially if you’re in a wheelchair and have never climbed a tree before,” said Bagnall. “You’re going to be 40 feet up in the treetops when you get to go on canopy walk.”

The attraction has three paths, each overlooking a pond, an apple orchard area and a cargo net, where visitors can experience the thrill of being suspended above the ground.

The project required removing dead ash trees, but about 1,000 new trees have been planted to replace those cut down, Bagnall said. Another 2,000 trees are expected to be planted in the future to fill out the forest, he said.

The 54-acre site will have more than 70 different apple trees, a cafe, natural artwork and a playground, said Chuck Martin, grounds manager for the forest.

It’ll also connect to the rose garden at Dow Gardens, Bagnall said. The canopy walk should stay open year-round as weather permits, he said.

“It was designed as a gift to the community in many different ways,” said Bagnall. “So, Whiting Forest and Dow Gardens is a way for people to get outside and enjoy beauty and be with each other in a beautiful setting.”

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