Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve

The Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve is under the direction of the CSUC Research Foundation. Our mission is to work to preserve critical habitat and to provide a natural area for environmental research and education.

The Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve contains 3,950 acres of diverse canyon and ridge habitats, including 4.5 miles of Big Chico Creek, and is home to many species of plants and animals. BCCER was created with the purchase of the Simmons Ranch in 1999 and the Henning Ranch in 2001. It is owned by the California State University, Chico, Research Foundation.

The Reserve ranges in elevation from 700 feet to 2,044 feet and contains a wide variety of habitats, including creek riffles and pools, riparian areas, oak woodlands, chaparral, pine forest, rock cliffs, and springs. These diverse habitats support hundreds of wildlife species, including a number of listed species and species requiring large tracts of undisturbed habitat. BCCER contributes to the understanding and wise management of the earth and its natural systems by preserving critical habitat, and providing a natural area for environmental research and education.


  • Protect and monitor on-site natural resources
  • Provide a site with natural resources to support research and teaching in the Chico area
  • Develop, upgrade and maintain databases to support research and instruction
  • Provide public outreach and education to the extent possible

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Outdoor Education Classes Are Here!

Interested in planning a class field trip to the Big Chico Creek Reserve or the Butte Creek Preserve?  Please contact our Outdoor Education Coordinator Jon Aull at for details.

Reserve Access

The Reserve is open to the public from dawn to dusk every day, with the exception of hunt days. CSUC staff, students, and researchers can request access and assistance through the Reserve Access Management System by clicking here.

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