scenic view of a lake with reeds in the foreground and trees turning colors in the background over a blue, cloudy sky

Asylum Lake Preserve is a recreation-research land located at the WMU Business, Technology and Research Campus. It is currently owned by WMU.

About Asylum Lake

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 and Management Council, made up of representatives from local neighborhood organizations, environmental groups and WMU departments. The preserve is part of the Landscape Division's Natural Areas Program.

In 2019, a Story Map was developed to serve as a self-guided introduction into the Asylum Lake Preserve. It contains a brief history of the land, some management practices that continue to shape it, and some highlights that may be of interest to visitors.

View the Story Map


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

View on map



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. The council is in Phase II regarding the trails, which involves improving on existing trails.

Click on the following links to view maps of the preliminary draft designs: