Forest Ranch Outdoor Adventurer Birding Hiking Hunting

Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve

  • 3521 14 Mile House Rd, Forest Ranch, CA 95942
(530) 898-5010
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The Big Chico Creek Eco­log­i­cal Reserve (BCCER) 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. The 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 Big Chico Creek Eco­log­i­cal Reserve is locat­ed on the ances­tral land of the Mechoop­da Indi­an Tribe and under the direc­tion of Chico State Enter­pris­es. Their mis­sion is to work to pre­serve crit­i­cal habi­tat and to pro­vide a nat­ur­al area for envi­ron­men­tal research and education.

Pub­lic Use of BCCER

Nature Hikes and Observation

Pub­lic walk-in access for nature view­ing is open from dawn to dusk every day (except for hunt days, which are not­ed on the web­site). All pub­lic access is walk-in only from the gat­ed area unless grant­ed access oth­er­wise. Hik­ing, flower, and wildlife observ­ing are com­pat­i­ble with the edu­ca­tion­al goal of the reserve. Please use com­mon sense to pre­vent habi­tat damage.

Pets and swim­ming are prohibited.


Big Chico Creek in the reserve (and most of Upper Bid­well Park) is open to fish­ing with sin­gle-hook arti­fi­cial lures and zero lim­it from Nov. 1 through April 30. Only arti­fi­cial lures with bar­b­less hooks may be used.


Hunt­ing by humans has been part of the reserve ecosys­tem for at least 3,000 years. Cur­rent­ly the reserve con­ducts lim­it­ed, lot­tery-based, hunt pro­grams for deer and turkey in spe­cif­ic zones only. Suc­cess rates, tis­sue sam­ples and hunter obser­va­tions pro­vide use­ful research data.

Goals of the Reserve

  • 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
Perspective Point