TIPTON — The grand opening of the “Reach for the Sky” canopy walk at Hidden Lake Gardens has been postponed, but organizers say it is expected to open in the spring of 2023.
The treetop walk above the Botanical Garden hiking trails was scheduled to open on Saturday, October 22, but a rainy spring, supply chain issues and labor shortage concerns put it on hold. There will be a preview from 2-4:30 p.m. Saturday for canopy walk donors. It’s by invitation only.
The project is the result of a conversation between Paul Pfeifer, general manager of Hidden Lake Gardens, and Chuck Gross, longtime HLG hiker and lawyer for Tecumseh. Gross said he wanted to attract more people to the gardens rather than just driving around to experience it in all its wonder.
“We had the idea that maybe we could get people into the trees, and we started looking at ideas and projects that were already underway in other botanical gardens and arboretums across the United States. We really liked a project that was happening at the Holden Arboretum near Cleveland, Ohio,” Pfeifer said. “We went to have a look and eventually hired their designer, Phoenix Experiential Designs, who provided us with a good design for a canopy walk at Hidden Lake Gardens. We started fundraising soon after and reached our goal about a year ago. We had to raise $1.25 million to do the canopy walk and once we hit our fundraising goal we were able to move into the construction phase.
After:Hidden Lake Gardens Tree Tower and Canopy Walk Announcement
The project was announced in 2019 and construction began in March.
Although the Hidden Lake Gardens fundraiser has reached its goal, they are still accepting donations.
“We are still accepting donations for a newly created endowment to fund the upkeep, maintenance and programming of the canopy walk in perpetuity. We currently do not have an active fundraising campaign as we are focused on completing construction and finalizing installation details so the boardwalk can open to the public by spring 2023,” said Pfeifer.
A new development within the project is an entrance pavilion which is being built by the Sam Beauford Woodworking Institute.
“This part of the canopy walk project was not in the original design. We added it during the summer. We decided we needed some sort of entrance area, an entrance pavilion for visitors to gather before heading out for the canopy walk. Our contractor, Krieghoff-Lenawee, approached Sam Beauford School and came up with a design for a timber frame pavilion that would match the design of the canopy structure. The students are prefabricating the entrance pavilion for us, and it will eventually be installed once the walkway structure is complete,” Pfeifer said.
Everyone will be able to use the canopy walk. It’s American with Disabilities Act accessible.
“It will be suitable for wheelchairs, pushchairs, walkers, carts – those types of mobility aids – and visitors will be able to access both the canopy walk and the hiker’s trail that leads to the canopy walk,” Pfeifer said.