| Story by Meghan McMahon |
McKinley Woods unites new and old unlike any other Will County forest preserve. It’s the only place in the preserves where you can explore the remains of an old Civilian Conservation Corps camp from the 1930s, while also visiting another piece of local history that lives on today in the form of the newly renovated Four Rivers Environmental Education Center, which was once private property known as Moose Island.
The Channahon preserve’s two access areas both unite past and present. Frederick’s Grove, acquired by the Forest Preserve in 1931, was home to the CCC camp and also briefly a German prisoner of war camp during World War II. Today, it is one of the top spots in the preserves for birding and wildlife viewing. Kerry Sheridan Grove, home to the education center, was acquired more recently, in the 2000s, but is still full of local lore from its time as a private resort.
At Frederick’s Grove, you can feel the site’s age as you meander through the woods.