Wild About Parks: Crystal Lake Park  LbNA # 48223

OwnerUPD - APNC    
Placed DateJun 13 2009
LocationUrbana, IL
Found By Risen
Last Found Jun 7 2012
Hike Distance?

Wild About Parks: Crystal Lake Park

This clue is part of the Urbana Park District’s Wild About Parks Quest--celebrating the Anita Purves Nature Center’s 30th anniversary. The Quest runs 6/13/09-6/12/10, but the boxes will remain in place indefinitely. Prizes can be won during the Quest for those who find 10, 20, and 30 boxes. Those who locate all 30 will be entered into a grand prize drawing. For more information, and for clue booklets, visit www.urbanaparks.org.

Crystal Lake Park
Difficulty: Moderate
Time: 40 min

This park is truly Urbana’s “gem” of a park. Find the parking lot to the west of the lake side facility and cross over the concrete bridge heading north into the park. As you cross the bridge watch the paddle boaters (during warmer months) maneuvering across the water.

Now follow the paved path to the left (west). At the drinking fountain stop for a drink (warmer weather) and look toward the group of large oak trees growing along the lake in front of a small embankment. In the spring these trees are a popular resting and feeding site for the many migrating birds that visit this park. These and the other large park trees are part of the Big Grove, a wooded area that once spanned 10 square miles along this park’s creek. During the summer these trees provide a home for both birds and other wildlife while keeping park visitors like you cool. A visit in autumn is certain to be a breathtaking view of fall colors.

Continue on the paved path to the large fountain. The lake is man-made and the fountain circulates water keeping the lake environment healthy. Notice the small man-made brook returning water from the fountain to the lake. Perhaps there are a few birds drinking or bathing in this brook.

Continue on the paved path to where it forks – keep to the right along the stream. When you come to the water main cover, it is time to leave the paved path and walk along the stream edge past the picnic area and pavilion.

When you come to a suspension bridge crossing over the stream, you have found a truly magical spot favored by local birders. To find this park’s letterbox, find where the bridge’s steel cable meets the bridge ramp. You may wish to prod the area with a stick before you retrieve the letterbox. Learn why local birders call this bridge the “magic bridge”. When you are finished, please replace the box as you found it.