Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve

Rules and Guidelines

The mission of the CSU, Chico Ecological Reserves System is to continue the understanding and wise management of the Earth and its natural resources by preserving critical habitat, and to provide a natural area for environmental research and education. When accessing the reserves please observe and adhere to the following rules and guidelines:

General Rules & Guidelines for Use

Use of the BCCER will be allowed if the proposed activity and level of use are deemed to be consistent with the mission, use guidelines, and management plan of the reserve. Activities that may be determined harmful to the natural values, ecosystem, functions, and native bio-diversity of the reserve, or preclude its possible future use for University-level research or instruction, will not be allowed. Use will be limited so that natural and cultural values are not adversely affected.

  • Entry is walk-in only unless the user is a student or faculty conducting research, or the user is attending a scheduled reserve activity.
  • Hunting and fishing are allowed ONLY by permit and during specified times according to State Fish and Wildlife Regulations
  • No firearms (except for permitted hunting)
  • No access is permitted to non-hunters on hunting days
  • No dogs or other pets allowed
  • No fires or camping
  • No swimming
  • No automobiles, ATVs, dirt bikes, bicycles, or horses
  • No collecting of plants, animals, rocks, fossils, or artifacts
  • Alcohol use is not permitted on the BCCER except by approved alcohol permit, served at meals or official functions
  • The use of illicit drugs on the BCCER is prohibited

Violations will be prosecuted under Title 14, Section 630 of the California Code of Regulations.


Anyone planning to use the reserve should be aware of the natural hazards that exist in this remote, rugged environment: Due to the limited number and exits of roads, becoming trapped by a rapidly advancing wildfire is a serious possibility. Other natural hazards include high, cold winter and spring flows of Big Chico Creek, sheer cliffs and the falling rocks or landslides they generate. In hot weather, sun stroke, heat exhaustion and dehydration are significant hazards. Poison oak, wildlife (bear, mountain lion, rattlesnake), wasps, lyme disease (tick transmitted), and plague (flea transmitted) are among additional hazards. There is no drinking water on the premises.


Because of the remoteness of the BCCER, visitors should carry first aid kits and exercise caution in undertaking any potentially hazardous activities.
For response in medical emergencies, one or more persons in each visiting group should have training in basic first aid and CPR.
If the problem is serious, emergency help 9-1-1 is to be contacted immediately. 

Warning: Cell phones will not work in most parts of the canyon.


The reserve manager has primary responsibility for approving proposed uses. In difficult cases, the reserve director will consult with the BCCER Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) before approving or rejecting an application. If a user fails to comply with any of the requirements, the reserve director, after proper consultation, could restrict or terminate on-going reserve use, and the user's subsequent use applications may be rejected. Appeal of use rejection or termination will be by way of dispute resolution by an informed, ad hoc board consisting of faculty members with appropriate areas of expertise.