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.


  • Support the educational mission of CSU, Chico by providing a site with natural resources to support research and teaching
  • Develop, upgrade and maintain databases to support research and instruction
  • Protect and monitor on-site natural resources
  • Provide public outreach and education

Check out this short film about our Outdoor Classroom on YouTube

The Reserves in the News

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Close Encounters of the Insect Kind

See the article on our annual butterfly count in Chico State Today.

Putting the Fun in Fungi

See Ashley Gebb's article on our fall mushroom foray in Chico State Today.

Where Education Meets the Land

An overview of the BCCER by Zach Phillips.


Visiting the Reserve

The Reserve is open to the public from dawn to dusk every day, with the exception of hunt days. There is no drinking water on the premises.


2016-17 Year in Review Now Available

Wondering what we have been up to? Check out our 2016-17 Year in Review.


Give A Gift

With our secure site, investing in the CSU, Chico Ecological Reserves has never been easier. 


Outdoor Education Classes Are Here!

Interested in planning a class field trip to the Reserves?