Woods Lake Park is situated on almost 6.5 acres in the heart of Kalamazoo, within the Oakland Drive/Winchell Neighborhood.
The 26-acre lake was named after Mr. Smith Wood, an early settler who owned property around the lake.
Woods Lake is a “kettle” lake; formed thousands of years ago when a melting glacier left a huge chunk of ice behind, which eventually melted, and the resulting depression (shaped like an old-fashioned “kettle”, or cooking pot) filled with water.
See if you can spot the resident Red-Tailed Hawks, Muskrats, and Great Blue Herons hunting and fishing here.
About 60% of the lake’s shoreline is owned by individual members of the Woods Lake Association, a Michigan non-profit organization formally established by area residents in 1983. The WLA’s mission is to “preserve the ecology of Woods Lake and protect the pristine beauty of the surrounding area”, which is accomplished with weekly water quality monitoring and professional management in cooperation with the State of Michigan, the Kalamazoo County Health Department, and the City of Kalamazoo Department of Parks and Recreation.
OF SPECIAL NOTE: The WALK Urban Nature Route mirrors some of the grounds of the Potawatomi Tribe Reservation.
When European settlers arrived in the area that was to become Kalamazoo County, the land was occupied by the Potawatomi Tribe, a branch of the greater Algonquin Peoples.
The Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians (Gun Lake Tribe) is part of the historic Three Fires Confederacy, an alliance of the Pottawatomi (Bodewadmi), Ottawa (Odawa) and Chippewa (Ojibwe). Tribal Nations in the Great Lakes region are also known as the Neshnibek, or original people. Learn more about the history of the Gun Lake Tribe HERE.
The original boundaries of the 19th century Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Pottawatomi reservation covers nine square miles. Below is a map of the reservation along with a rough guide as to where present-day roads follow its borders