In the 1930s, McDowell Grove was a camp for the Civilian Conservation Corps — a work-relief program part of President Roosevelt’s New Deal legislation — which built bridges, picnic areas, a boathouse, bridle paths and a limestone dam on the West Branch of the DuPage River. During World War II, the site served as a secret installation for developing radar technology.
Today, the 465-acre McDowell Grove Forest Preserve in Naperville is comprised of mature woodlands, open fields with eastern bluebirds and Cooper’s hawks, and a floodplain forest with towering butternuts and black maples. It’s recently been the site of a dam- modification project, which will return the stretch of river to a healthier, more natural waterway and improve aquatic habitats.
Starting May 2013, the District and DuPage County Stormwater Management will begin to restore a 3-mile stretch of the West Branch of the DuPage River. All trails will remain open but visitors should use caution near construction areas. For a map and more information, click here.