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Asylum Lake Preserve is a 274-acre parcel of land that is owned by Western Michigan University. The lake and adjoining property lie in the West Fork of the Portage Creek Watershed. The land is preserved as a passive-use recreation area under an agreement between the City of Kalamazoo and WMU. Asylum Lake's preservation was ensured as a condition of the development of the College of Engineering on Parkview Avenue. The property serves as a research area for professors and students of anthropology, biology, geography, hydrogeology, and environmental studies at WMU as well as other educational institutions. It is managed by the Asylum Lake Policy & Management Council, a 14-member council made up of representatives from local neighborhood organizations, environmental groups and WMU departments.




The trail improvement project is now complete!

WMU's Natural Areas Program, in collaboration with the Kalamazoo Nature Center, recently hosted a No Child Left Inside event at Asylum Lake Preserve. Over 140 third graders from area schools came to the preserve for a day full of garlic mustard pulling, water ecology lessons, and leadership activities. To learn more, read the Kalamazoo Gazette article: Third graders get lesson from WMU students in environmental stewardship at Asylum Lake Preserve or visit our Event Photos page.

Wildtype, LTD was hired to perform restoration work along the north and south edges of Asylum Lake. As you may have noticed, many brush piles have developed due to the removal of invasive vegetation. A plan was in place to burn these piles were this spring, however, due to unfavorable weather conditions, the burn will be post-poned until winter for safety and ecological reasons. For more information on the restoration project, see our Ecological Management page.

Dogs are allowed on the property but must be leashed at all times, including if in the water. This rule is enforced to protect the natural environment as well as other visitors and their pets. Kalamazoo County Animal Control Officers will be ticketing anyone with unleashed pets.

The Asylum Lake Management Council is currently working with a landscape architect firm to develop a comprehensive trail system at Asylum Lake Preserve. The trail system will include disabled and emergency vehicle accessible trails. Click on the following links to view maps of the preliminary draft designs:

Master Plan
Accessible Trails



Asylum Lake Preserve is located on the corner of Drake Road and Parkvew Avenue in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

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WMU Natural Areas Program

Mission Statement: WMU's Natural Areas Program partners with students and faculty, local ecological organizations, area schools, and volunteer groups in order to promote environmental stewardship, provide research and education opportunities, and create healthier natural areas on WMU properties.


Contact Information

Landscape Services
Western Michigan University


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