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McLaughlin Natural Reserve



The Reserve consists of 7,000 acres (approximately 6,000 acres natural lands and 1,000 acres that have been impacted by mining, a field station, tenting area adjacent to the field station, and a primitive camping area known as the Core Shed. Some equipment may be available for researchers upon special arrangement with Reserve staff. Additional informational resources are available regarding geography, history, natural history, and past research at the Reserve.


The Field Station is available to approved Reserve users, potential users on their reconnaisance visits, or scientists undertaking regional research who need a place to stay while conducting their research. Detailed information about the Field Station and use policies can be found at this link. Please familiarize yourself with these rules if you plan on using the field station.

The field station has a large fully-equipped kitchen and dining area, showers, bunk rooms, a small laboratory workspace, a classroom, and a lounge area with DVD  and VHS players. Washer/drier are available upon request. There is a phone  which can be used with a calling card and which can receive calls for people staying at the field station (the number is (707) 995 0739; please note this number will not reach Reserve staff). There is a computer terminal for checking email, wireless internet service, and internet ports with ethernet cables.

The field station has 23 beds available across 6 rooms. There are 3-5 beds per room, with one or two of them being upper bunks. Three of these rooms have a double bed; these can be specifically reserved if the additional beds in those rooms are not required for other people. Field station users are also welcome to set up a tent/camper next to the field station. All indoor ammendities are available to those who choose to sleep in a tent/camper.

Visitors should bring their own toiletries, food, and bedding (except that we do provide a pillow, fitted sheet, and pillowcase). There is no janitorial service - users are expected to leave the facilities cleaner than they find them. Contact reserve staff for more information.

Camping is available through prior arrangement with the Reserve Directors. The main camping area is approximately 0.5 miles from the field station, near the entrance to the Reserve. It is situated in an oak woodland and has picnic tables, level spots for setting up a tent, and composting toilets. For group camping, we can provide a water tank with non-potable water for washing. You will need to bring water bottles to carry drinking water from the field station. Campfires must be approved by Reserve staff for each incident, and are usually allowed only during the winter and spring. Other locations for setting up a tent are available immediately adjacent to the field station. Researchers needing to camp in the field near their study sites must discuss these needs with Reserve staff prior to proceeding.

Fees: there is not charge for day-use of the Reserve by approved applicants. Overnight rates (whether sleeping in a bunkroom or a tent) are $6.00/night for University of California affiliated students, staff, and faculty, and $8.00/night for anyone not affiliated with University of California. Other than assistance provided by staff during orientation, requests for staff time may be billed at a rate of $46-$60/hour (UC vs non-UC rate) for directors' time. While staff time can be requested, staff may not have available time to fulfill requests and a time request may thus be turned down. If the directors delegate other reserve staff to complete the work requested, a rate of $35-$46/hour (UC vs non-UC) will be charged.


Reserve staff are available to answer questions, give advice, and provide information. We may also be able to help you out with some basic equipment needs (eg shovel, ladder, t-post pounder, etc) which may be available for research uses but require specific arrangement with Reserve staff.

Limited-distribution documents about the reserve and the Homestake gold mine are available at the reserve and at the UC Davis NRS office. Also available are a Natural History Handbook; various GIS coverages of the reserve; numerous generations of aerial photographs.

Detailed information is available on edaphic and ecological factors of a specific locaton on the Reserve known as "The Grid". This location, established in 2001 as a model ecosystem, spans 500 x 550m across a diversity of soil types and plant communities. Detailed data on soil properties and plant occurances are available at 50 m intervals across the Grid, as well as at 10 m intervals within 6 - 50 x 100 m blocks within the Grid. This area is currently being used by several research projects which are tapping into the baseline data available for this area. All research conducted on the grid needs to be approved by an adhoc committee consisting of the Reserve Directors and several Davis faculty.