Keep calm and carry on!

A new season means new beginnings and a fresh start. Spring cleaning isn't just for your home, you know! Sometimes Mother Nature needs a fresh start too.

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Now that spring has arrived and we've finally seen some 70 degree days I'm eager to start hitting the trails and exploring the great outdoors. Some of my favorite parks and trails in the Kalamazoo area include Bow in the Clouds Preserve off Gull Road and Nazareth, the Celery Flats in Portage, and Asylum Lake Preserve near Drake and Parkview in Kalamazoo.

Asylum Lake Preserve
Asylum Lake Preserve - Lauren G/TSM

Because my backyard literally overlooks Asylum Lake it's the preserve I visit most frequently. Did you know the Asylum Lake Preserve is actually owned by Western Michigan University? In fact, according to WMU,

The land is preserved as a passive-use recreation area under an agreement between the city of Kalamazoo and WMU...The property serves as a research area for professors and WMU as well as other educational institutions.

All that being said, when you see flames coming from the Asylum Lake Preserve area this spring don't panic; it's actually on purpose!

The WMU facilities department just issued the following alert ahead of several prescribed burns that are set to take place this spring:

Asylum Lake Preserve will undergo a forest and prairie burn...signage will be placed to alert visitors to not enter the burn areas.

Why Burn?

There are several reasons burns are prescribed for forest areas including:

  • Fires lengthen the grow season for native plants and shorten the grow season of weeds
  • More native plants flower, produce seed and are more robust when fire is used
  • the soil is enriched by the fire and the nutrients released by ash

When Will The Burn Happen?

Prescribed burns can be a tricky thing as conditions have to be just right. The university reports the burns are scheduled to take place between April 9 and May 15, 2024 however due to weather conditions the exact burn dates have yet to be determined.

If you are curious or live in the area you can stay up to date by follow WMU Facilities on social media here.

Planning a Trip to Kalamazoo's Asylum Lake Preserve? A Few Things to Know...

If you're planning on visiting the WMU-owned Asylum Lake Preserve, this will hopefully help you plan your trip.

Gallery Credit: Google Maps/TSM Chelsea Rose

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