The Quail Ridge Reserve is open to use for qualified research and educational purposes. All use must be approved by and coordinated with the Reserve Manager. It is imperative that all reserve users adhere to the safety and access rules. Information below includes details on liability waivers, preliminary visits, submitting applications for research or class use, facilities and resources available, fees, user responsibilities, safety tips, and potential hazards.


Researchers and educators who are considering using the reserve should contact the reserve manager by e-mail or phone to arrange a reserve tour and to discuss the feasibility of the planned use. Introductory visits do not require the submission of a Use Application, but may require completion of UC Liability Waivers.


1. Before visiting the reserve for the first time, all persons not affiliated with the University of California must read and sign the NRS Waiver of Liability, Assumption of Risk, and Indemnity Agreement, available here or from the reserve staff. These waivers may not be altered and electronic signatures are not acceptable.

2. Signed forms may be mailed or delivered to the reserve manager on the first visit. Classes not affiliated with the University of California, should obtain and return waivers before the class arrives.


1. Submit an online NRS Research Use Application: If you decide to conduct research at the Quail Ridge Reserve, you must submit an online NRS Research Use Application. We use the online Reserve Application Management System (RAMS). Approved applications are valid for one field season only (from the date of approval through June 30). If you have multiple projects, please submit an application for each project.

Each application requires a "Statement of Proposed Research Project". The Statement should be a complete, but brief, research proposal describing the research question, its significance, and the methods that will be used to answer the question. In particular, please clearly describe the location of field sites (as specifically as possible) and any potential disturbances to the reserve's ecosystem or cultural resources, including all experimental manipulations, collections, and the introduction of any species or genotypes. The application will be evaluated using the following considerations: potential impacts to natural systems; potential impacts to present or future long-term use of reserve for research or instructional purposes; potential conflicts with ongoing research or instructional programs; availability of alternative sites. Applications will be evaluated quickly so that research projects can commence in a timely fashion.

2. Subsequent visits. Once a research application is approved users must sign in near the field station each day that they use the reserve.

3. Researcher responsibilities. Researchers must provide the reserve managers with a location of research site locations (we will help GPS if necessary) and basic raw data (e.g., numbers of organisms, species, etc.) for station archives. Register metadata for all reserve datasets on the NRS Dataset registry.

Annual Summary of Research Project: Please provide the following by June 30 of each year. Reserve staff will e-mail a reminder. The summary and list of publications will be published in the NRS Annual Report and on the NRS Web Page:

  1. A brief summary of research accomplishments, including the title of the project and a list of all participants on the project with their affiliations.
  2. A list of your current publications based on research done on the reserve (complete references).
  3. Two copies of all published materials, including conference proceedings, abstracts, and technical reports (one bound copy only of theses and dissertations), resulting from your research. Please acknowledge the UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA NATURAL RESERVE SYSTEM, UCD QUAIL RIDGE RESERVE in any publication resulting from use of the reserve.
  4. Sources of funding for project, dates of funding, and the funding amount.


The Reserve and Field Station are available for single or multi-day field courses.

1. Submit an online NRS Class Use application. A separate application must be submitted for each visit. The Quail Ridge Reserve uses the online Reserve Application Management System (RAMS) for the submission of class use requests.

2. Reserve users who are not UC students or employees must sign and return a UC liability waiver prior to visiting the reserve. The parent or legal guardian must sign the release agreements for minors. It is the responsibility of the group leader (the person who submits the application) to find out who in their group must sign a release agreement and to insure that they are on file with the Reserve Manager prior to the proposed visit. Available here or from the reserve staff.

3. The group leader is also responsible for making sure each participant is aware of the reserve policies and guidelines listed on the application and in the information packet for the reserve being visited.


The Field Station is under construction and we hope to have a new facility open spring 2016. Tent cabins are available for sleeping, but until construction is completed we have no showers and only port-a-potties.

The Researcher House is a three bedroom house with nine beds. It has a large livingroom and kitchen, two baths, and laundery. It has some bedding, but visitors should bring your preferred gear.

There is a small Studio, with a full kitchen and bath, but tiny. Can house one person or two.

For all facilites: There is no cook. There is no janitorial service - users are expected to leave the facilities cleaner than they find them.

The facilities fill up quickly. Contact reserve staff for more information and availibility.

Reserve staff is available to answer questions, give advice, and provide information. The Natural History of the Quail Ridge Reserve handbook is available at the UC Davis NRS office. Also available from this office are brochures of the reserve and a set of GIS coverages of the reserve, including the maps found in the handbook.


There is not charge for day-use of the Reserve by approved applicants. Overnight rates (whether sleeping in a bunkroom or a tent) are $8.00/night for University of California affiliated students, staff, and faculty, and $10.00/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 $38/$49 per hour (UC vs non-UC rate) for stewards' time or $49/$65 per hour (UC vs non-UC) for director's time. While staff time can be requested, staff may not always have available time to fulfill requests.


1. Collecting is permitted only with the express permission of the Reserve Manager, appropriate collecting permits from state and federal agencies, and strict compliance with the UCD Animal Care Council. Any trapping and handling of vertebrates requires previous approval of the UCD Animal Care Council and the manager. See the Research and Class Use applications for further details.

2. Smoking is prohibited on the reserve. (The parking lot area of the Field Station may be used to smoke.)

3. Vehicles must stay on established roadways and vehicle trails. Please refer to the Road Use Guidelines and confer with reserve staff regarding road conditions. Off-road vehicle travel is prohibited. Park only in designated areas.

4. Leave all gates as you find them (e.g., if closed and locked, close and lock it after passing).

5. Pack out trash.

6. Do not disturb experiments.


Be aware that from many parts of the reserve, the nearest phone or cellular phone service may be a couple of miles away. It is advisable to carry first aid equipment, extra water, and a cell phone Cell phone reception is generally restricted to hilltops.

Be aware that hunters and off-highway vehicle enthusiasts use the surrounding areas - BLM lands and Private holdings - and trespassing and poaching may occur. Please help ensure everyone's security by notifying the Reserve Manager of any inappropriate uses of the reserve that you see.


Potential hazards include, but are not limited to, the following:

Rattlesnakes. Wear long pants and hiking boots, and use caution when hiking over rocks, logs, or in tall grass. Carrying a snakebite kit when working in remote locations is advised. For more information on Rattlesnakes see:

Poison Oak. Common in riparian areas and shaded north facing slopes. May be avoided. "Leaves of three, let them be." For more information on Poison Oak see:

Ticks. Ticks in this area may carry Lyme disease. Routine body-checks for ticks are advised. If bitten, monitor symptoms and consult with a physician. For more information on Lyme disease see: or

Mountain Lions. Avoid hiking alone, make noise, and if confronted, throw things and yell. Do not bend down. Do not run. For more information on California Mountain Lions see:

Rugged Terrain. Quail Ridge is a wildland environment. There are downed logs, unstable rocks, steep slopes, cliffs, ground squirrel holes, steep and narrow roads, and many other potential hazards. Use caution and good judgment.

Hantavirus. This is a potentially fatal disease caused by a virus shed by deermice. Do not handle live or dead rodents or their feces or urine. For more information on Hanta virus see:

Photo Credits: Title, King Snake (Mike Benard)

This page last updated: January 29, 2016  

Contact: Dr. Virginia Boucher
John Muir Institute of the Environment
109 The Barn, University of California, Davis, CA 95616
Phone: 530-752-6949; email:

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