Rules and Regulations

Landels-Hill Big Creek Reserve is open to any qualified user from any educational institution, public or private. All uses must be consistent with University objectives of teaching and research. Supervised public access is available during open house events held each spring. The reserve is not open for recreational uses such as hiking, hunting, fishing, camping, picnicking, climbing, boating, or biking.


These rules have been designed to preserve the Reserve in a natural state for short and long-term studies and to prevent disturbance to ongoing research and educational activities. To ensure that these objectives are met, all persons making use of this reserve must abide by the following rules and regulations. Permission to use the reserve may be withdrawn or denied if any of these rules and regulations are violated.


1. You must have completed an application form to carry out class or professional studies. Projects must not conflict with current research nor diminish the future research or educational value of the reserve. Applications are available on the internet at http://ucreserve.ucsc.edu/ bigcreek and at http://nrs.ucop.edu , by calling 831-667-2543, or by writing to the Resident Director, Big Creek Reserve, Big Sur CA 93920. Please apply at least one week in advance of your visit.


2. All individuals should be familiar with the emergency instruction sheet supplied with this application. These instructions are posted under the lid of the sign in box and at each facility. All individuals must sign a release form before visiting the reserve. Special approval from the manager is required (and release forms must be signed) to receive guests, friends, or family members at the reserve. 


3. Please call 831-667-2543 if you have any questions before visiting the reserve. All users must sign in the logbook when entering the reserve. Check for notices posted in the log-in box. Do not hike alone unless you leave word with someone as to your planned route and time of return. Hikers should take a map, flashlight, compass and extra food. Please sign out when you leave, and record any interesting observations in the nature log. When possible, use the trail and road markers to record the location of your observations.


4. The reserve is not a park designed for human comfort and safety but a wilderness reserve in which humans are intruders. Inexperienced visitors should be accompanied by a knowledgeable guide. The reserve contains extremely steep and rugged slopes, wave hazards, narrow roads, cliffs, loose rock, dead trees, fire hazards, flood hazards, and wildlife which is potentially dangerous. Poison oak is nearly everywhere on the reserve, and falling rock is a particular hazard. Entering the reserve is undertaken at your own risk, in full realization that these hazards require you to be alert, informed, and cautious.


5. Cliff and rock climbing, or any other sort of hazardous activity, is prohibited. If you need access to a difficult spot, get help from the staff. Be particularly careful around waterfalls and beaches. 


6. Group leaders are responsible for the behavior of their group. You should inform all members of the rules and you must supervise their activity.


7. Pets are not allowed to visit the reserve (except for qualified service dogs).


8. Collecting, harvesting, experimental manipulation or any other disturbance to reserve habitats or cultural artifacts requires specific permission from the reserve manager, who will request copies of any applicable permits. Recreational fishing or hunting is never allowed. Firearms are not allowed on the reserve.


9. The reserve contains private inholdings (Devil's Creek Flat and Stewart leasehold) which are off limits to visitors except for transit along the main roadway. Watch for signs for private property up the canyon and stay on the road while passing through. The reserve also borders on private property to the south (Gamboa Point "Circle M" Ranch). Special permission is required for entry into this area.


10. Camping is permitted in designated campgrounds only. Use the campground latrines for human waste; if these are unavailable solid waste and toilet paper must be buried. Visitors are expected to clean up campsites before they leave. Reserve visitors are also expected to carry out their own trash from camp to the garbage containers at the main entrance. A recycling bin is available.


11. Camp fires are permitted in designated campgrounds only, in the fire circles provided. During fire season (usually June through November) open fires are prohibited. Cook stoves are to be used only in camps.


12. Reserve roads are steep and narrow, with steep dropoffs to the side. Great caution should be used in driving reserve roads. Speeds should not exceed 12 mph (7 mph on turns) and in many cases will average 5-8 mph. If you meet an oncoming vehicle, stop and discuss with other driver which vehicle should back up to an appropriate turnout. If you slide off the edge of the road or otherwise get stuck, stop and get help. Don't risk your life trying to right a tipping vehicle. Off-road driving is prohibited.


13. Vehicles may be parked in designated areas only. Redwood camp visitors and day hikers should park by the office near the reserve entrance. Do not block the road, even when unloading gear at Redwood Camp (maximum of 2 vehicles at a time). All vehicles must stay on the roads. During fire season, ensure that grass and weeds do not touch the hot exhaust system of your vehicle.


14. Special permission is necessary for marine access (see manager). Boating and diving in the marine reserve must be pre-approved by the UC Santa Cruz diving safety officer (459-4881).


15. All tags or flagging must have your name and the date written on the flags, and be cleared with the reserve manager. Otherwise they are subject to removal at any time. The exact location of any permanent study plots or sampling disturbance must be cleared in advance, so as to avoid disturbing other research and to protect your research from future disturbance.


16. You are expected to incorporate the results of your studies into the reserve database, as appropriate. Confidentiality of the data can be arranged. We also ask that written materials resulting from work done at Big Creek include acknowledgement of the reserve. Reprints or copies of articles or theses based on work done at the reserve should be promptly delivered to the manager. 


Any comments or suggestions concerning management of the reserve will be appreciated.