The Manistee National Forest is beloved by both me and my husband as we both label it our “playground” for picnics, drives, fishing, snowmobiling, hiking, and just about everything else under the sun. Did you know that the word “Manistee” means Spirit of the Woods? That has always had a calming effect on me.
The name “Manistee” is from an Ojibwe word first applied to the principal river of the county. Of course the specific county would be Manistee County. The derivation is not certain but it may be from ministigweyaa, “river with islands at its mouth”. Other sources claim that it was an Ojibwe term meaning “spirit of the woods.”
Naturally, I favor the latter term. When applied to the national forest the latter meaning seems to be the best. It even speaks of a presence within this forest that I have often discerned for myself. It provides those that enter its massive boundaries a sense of peace. Try it for yourselves sometime!