Opinion: Stunning nature at Whiting Forest

Paul W. Smith
Elizabeth Lumbert, director of Dow Gardens and Mike Whiting, president of the Dow Foundation, enjoy the view from a small bridge in Whiting Forest.  Behind them, the "Orchard Arm" of the Canopy Walk looms 42 feet above the ground.  The Canopy Walk also has a "Spruce Arm" and a "Pond Arm."

“Outta’ My Mind on a Monday Moanin’“

David Lorenz is a lucky guy. And we are lucky to have Dave in the job he clearly loves. Dave serves as vice president of Travel Michigan, responsible for leading the state’s tourism branding, advertising and public relations efforts.

He oversees the award-winning Pure Michigan tourism campaign, and tells us all about all of the great things to see and do in our great State of Michigan on his “Travel Michigan” radio show, Sundays at 4pm on WJR, where he always tells us, “Your trip begins at Michigan dot org.”

We felt “just like Dave” at our first stop of a quick two-day travel boosting remote broadcast from one of the state’s growing gems.

Most of us have been familiar with the Dow Gardens complex, a landmark public garden built in 1899 by Dow Chemical Company founder Herbert Dow. My listeners and I had the distinct pleasure of having Mr. Dow’s Great Grandson, Macauley (Mike) Whiting Jr., president of the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, introduce us to the family’s latest gift to Midland, the “Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens” (a forest like no other).

The updated nature grounds feature a 1,400-foot-long canopy walk that is suspended 40 feet above ground and is one of the longest in the country. The $20 million gift to spiff up the really big backyard of Mike’s childhood now features a 14,000-square-foot playground, water features, apple orchard, amphitheater, cafe, trails and swings, accessible to all.

Be sure to look for “Mike’s Tree”, the one he fell out of years ago.

Thanks also to Elizabeth Lumbert, Director of Dow Gardens and our “guide”, Kimberly Ferguson.

Go to, then get the family together, and go!

Paul W. Smith is host of The Paul W. Smith Show on WJR-AM (760) from 5:30-9 a.m. Monday-Friday.