Adjacent to the Anita Purves Nature Center
Get directions here
Open from dawn until dusk every day.
Busey Woods is a 59-acre nature preserve with a boardwalk loop, seasonal ponds and more. It is adjacent to Crystal Lake Park with an entrance just west of the Anita Purves Nature Center. Collecting items, walking pets and cycling are not permitted. Trained naturalists are available and classes are designed for all age groups
and interests. To inquire about programs and services, call the Anita Purves Nature
Center at 384-4062.
Busey Woods Gateway Trail
In 2013 the Urbana Park District completed a multi-phase project that connected the Anita Purves Nature Center to Busey Woods with an accessible hard pathway and re-landscaped the area outside the center with plants that are attractive to local and migrating birds. A new interpretive exhibit along the trail tells you more about avian residents and visitors.
From Dumping Ground to Desirable Forest
Busey Woods is a remnant of the Big Grove, an oak hickory forest that stood in this area at the time settlers arrived. It was not until the 1970s that the Urbana Park District began to use and manage the woods. In recent history it had been used as a bird watching area or as a place to bring university classes for nature study. But it also became a dumping ground when Lincoln Square, the nearby mall, was constructed. You can still see rubble in the woods today. Since the early 1970s, and especially since 1991 when the district purchased the woods, the district has made strides to bring the woods back to a more undisturbed state through management techniques.
What is Natural Areas Management?
The Urbana Park District manages Busey Woods in a manner that allows for the healthy growth of native species. This means the regular removal of invasive plants and the use of prescribed burns. Staff relies on volunteers with an interest in natural areas (a Natural Areas Committee)to help develop annual and long range management plans. A dedicated staff member oversees this and three other natural areas in the district. The C-U Optimist Club sponsors management of Busey Woods.
Join us for Stewardship Saturdays to help us remove invasive species and keep trails clear. Call ahead to 384-4062 to let us know you are coming. See the Leisure Guide for dates and times.
Natural Areas · Paths · Trails