Looking a little like something right out of a fairytale, the Ned Brown Forest Preserve, or Busse Woods, is a 3,700 acre expanse of mature Great Lakes hardwood forest and is a small section of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County. Created in 1914, the Forest Preserve District of Cook County was the first forest preserve in all of the United States.
Thanks to Busse Woods’ impressive beauty, native wildlife, and exciting recreational activities, this section of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County is a major tourist attraction for visitors of Elk Grove Village.
Trees of Busse Woods
Busse Woods is an impressive Great Lakes hardwood forest. 440 acres of this land is a national natural landmark as it is a last remaining piece of flatwoods forest. This type of forest used to characterize the whole of the Great Lakes region as these level patches of ground meant that the runoff into nearby streams and bodies of water was slow keeping the ground of a flatwoods forest extremely damp.
Thanks to the unique conditions of a flat woods forest, 440 acres of Busse Woods is home to trees such as the Red Maple, the most common tree in the North Eastern United States, the Swamp White Oak, which can grow for up to 350 years, and the Black Ash, a tree that is characterized by a thick grey bark.
Other areas of Busse Woods are home to trees more common to the Great Lakes region like the Basswood, a tree unique to Eastern North America, the Sugar Maple, the primary source of maple syrup, and Illinois’ state tree, the White Oak.
Wildlife of Busse Woods
Busse Woods is not only an expansive wetlands, and diverse forest ecosystem, it is also home to a heard of 13 elk. These impressive animals graze the pastures of Higgins and Arlington Heights which is located in Busse Woods. Every year, visitors to Elk Grove Village come to see the elk herd.
The first elk came to Busse Woods in 1925 and was a gift from Yellowstone National Park. At the time, the herd consisted of just ten elk. Through the years, the elk herd reached a population high of 80. Since the 80′s, however, the herd’s numbers have dwindled considerably. Currently, the herd’s population usually hovers between 6-15 elk.
Visitors to Busse Woods can stop by the elk enclosure between May and early June when it is calving season. This year, the heard is expecting between 2-4 calves.
Recreation in Busse Woods
One of the most popular features of Busse Woods is the impressive 10 miles of bike trails which include an almost 8 mile loop around the woods. This bike trail is a popular draw for tourists and residents of Elk Grove Village as it offers a great way to experience the natural beauty of the great outdoors without straying too far from the conveniences of a city.
Busse Woods also has a 590 acre man-made lake, Busse Lake. While enjoying a leisurely bike ride or a hike through Busse Woods, Busse Lake can be a great place to stop and enjoy a relaxing lakeside picnic.
Located conveniently close to Busse Woods, the Ramada O’Hare Elk Grove Hotel offers friendly service, and comfortable accommodations and is just a few moments away from O’Hare International Airport. While visiting Elk Grove Village, why not hop on our free airport shuttle which runs every hour, and come stay at the best hotel in Elk Grove Village. While you’re here, make sure you plan a trip to our region’s natural wonder, Busse Woods located within the Ned Brown Forest Preserve.