McLean Fen Forest Preserve

7N710 McLean Blvd.
South Elgin, IL


McLean Fen is a small but important wetland where hillside seeps and perched fen plant communities persist in a forgotten corner of farmland, now visible from the Stearns Road Bridge. Gentians, goldenrods, and a host of other prairie flowers add to the palette of colors here in summer.

This 3-acre wetland was almost completely lost in December 1988 when a freight train derailed, dumping 24 carloads of soybeans. When the rail cars were dragged away from the wreckage, they were put on the fen, causing considerable damage to the fragile site. The wreckage was later removed and wetland mitigation ensued. Although protected now, the fen is wholly dependent upon groundwater seepage and upwelling, and the life source of this wetland is threatened by urban demands for more groundwater.
Currently, there is no public access to McLean Fen.