Busse Woods, also known as the Ned Brown Preserve, is a 3600 acre holding located in northwestern Cook County in Illinois. Busse is one of the richest and most diverse natural areas in the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Flatwoods support red maple, swamp white oak and black ash, as well as sensitive fern, hop sedge and blue flag iris. Busse’s upland forest is an ancient remnant, full of tall red oaks and hickories, maple, ash, basswood, elm and very large ironwoods. Many of the trees here date back to before European settlement. The woodlands and forest shelter wildflowers such as bloodroot, great white trillium and woodland phlox.

Busse is the home to many species of animals. Birds include a variety of migratory waterfowl and grassland birds such as Henslow’s sparrows, bobolinks, and meadowlarks. Woodlands birds include warblers and owls.  Mink and muskrat may be seen swimming the shoreline while deer and coyote roam the preserve.


Busse Woods has 32 formal picnic groves, along with numerous other locations within Busse, to picnic within the preserve. Families, corporations, class reunions, and friends take advantage of the numerous picnic areas available. You may register online with the FPDCC in order to reserve a picnic grove.


Busse Woods possesses an eight-mile paved trail loop that is heavily used by walkers, joggers, rollerbladers, and bikers. The trail is easily accessed from any parking lot within the preserve. In addition, there are trails that can be accessed from Biesterfield Rd and Golf Rd which will provide access to the main loop.


The 590 acres of water within this lake opened to fishing on September 1, 1980. The north pool contains 25 acres of water, the south pool 146 acres and the main pool 419 acres. Fish stocked include largemouth bass, bluegill, redear, northern pike, brown bullhead, channel catfish, crappie and walleye. The wide variety of shallows, drop-offs, brushy areas and open water afford an extremely productive and interesting fishery from the shoreline and boats. The six fishing walls provide “deep” water fishing adjacent to the shoreline and four have wheelchair ramps to the parking areas.

An Illinois fishing license is required for all persons except those under 16, disabled or blind. These waters are designated Fish Preserves – only two poles with no more than two-hooks per pole per person. No bow and arrow fishing.

Please refer to the statewide sport fishing regulations for limits on all fish that have not been specifically identified above.

Ice fishing is permitted upon designated areas of the south and main pools. The inflowing creeks, resulting in unsafe ice, will prohibit the use of some of the waters.


Canoes, rowboats and sailboats are allowed only on the South and Main Lake with launching ramps available into both water areas. Electric trolling motors are allowed. Watercraft rental is available from April through October. Gas outboard motors are not permitted.


A heard of elk resides within Busse Woods. Stop by and marvel at their size.

Winter sports

Snowmobiling is allowed in designated areas south of Golf road and east of the frontage road. There must be a snow base of four inches and vehicles must be registered with the State of Illinois and the Forest Preserve District of Cook County.

Cross country skiing is permitted on all paths and open areas with the exception of the snowmobiling area and lake surfaces.

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