By Fritz Klug
Western Michigan University doesn’t just offer opportunities for running at the Student Recreation Center, but also in two nature preserves in Kalamazoo.
The Asylum Lake and Kleinstuck Preserves offer trails for passive recreation (walking and running) in nature just minutes from campus.
The trails are used in the winter as well for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
For Cari DeLong, natural areas manager in Facilities Management at WMU, running outside on the trails brings an extra sense of calmness. DeLong said there is a benefit to the natural terrain, including hills and rugged terrain.
“It’s great to get outside and experience some wildlife,” she said.
Asylum Lake offers 274 acres of wilderness including countless trails, two lakes and a stream.
DeLong said she is currently working with a consulting firm to create a comprehensive trail system for Asylum Lake as well as accessibility trails, including access for emergency vehicles. There will also be directory signs on the trails in case someone gets lost while on the trails.
In the center of the preserve is a 52-foot lake that is safe for swimming, DeLong said.
From Stadium Drive, take a left on Drake Road and make an immediate left into a small, gravel parking lot or continue on Drake and take a left at the top of the hill into a larger gravel parking lot that allows for entrance to the main grass land area.There are also entrances and parking along Parkview Avenue and Winchell Avenue.
In the middle of the Winchell and Maple Street neighborhoods sits 48 acres of natural habitat known as the Kleinstuck Preserve.
Kleinstuck is currently owned by the university, but has undergone many improvements, including signs and trail maintenance, by the Stewards of Kleinstuck, a neighborhood group.WMU and Kalamazoo College students have used the land for research projects.
There are many entrances to Kleinstuck, on Chevy Chase Boulevard, all of which are private besides the one on Stern Street.
Going southwest on Stadium Drive, take a left onto to Howard Street. Drive past Oakland Drive and make a left onto Sterns Street. Take that until it dead ends.