CDFW Reminds Visitors of Usage Rules at Burton Mesa Ecological Reserve

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Media Contact:
Janice Mackey, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908

Local Treasure Home to Badgers, Bobcats, Deer, Sensitive Plant Species and More

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is asking visitors to the Burton Mesa Ecological Reserve (BMER) to be mindful of the property rules.

The BMER is open to the public for walking and wildlife watching from sunrise to sunset. Mountain biking, hunting and horseback riding are prohibited. On all state properties, it is illegal to feed wildlife, operate motorized vehicles outside of designated areas, disturb bird nests, release any fish or animal, start any fire or light fireworks or other explosive or incendiary devices, disturb habitat, alter the landscape or remove vegetation.

“In the past year, we have seen an excessive amount of habitat destruction at the Burton Mesa property, which has included tree removal, altered vegetation and increased erosion,” said CDFW Environmental Scientist Christine Thompson. “Visitors are welcome and should stay in designated areas, observe usage rules at trailheads and respect the property. We all need to commit to protecting this reserve for all to enjoy in the years to come.”

The BMER consists of 5,368 acres and is characterized by unusual, low-growing, multi-trunked coast live oaks. It is one of the last significant stands of maritime chaparral in central California and is home to several rare, threatened and endangered species, including 14 plant species found nowhere else in the world. Badgers, bobcats, deer, mountain lions, woodrats, snakes and many other species occupy the habitat as well.

The property is owned by the State Lands Commission and leased to CDFW for management, operation and maintenance. In 2004, the Fish and Game Commission approved the designation of ecological reserve status due to its environmentally sensitive resources. Ecological reserves are designed to provide public enjoyment and education as well as protect fragile habitat for a variety of threatened and endangered plants, mammals and reptiles.

According to state law (Title 14, CCR section 630), CDFW is obligated to protect and maintain designated ecological reserves, which includes enforcing the rules. Failure to comply with the law could result in a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail.

For more information on BMER, please visit:

Video clips and pictures of vegetation damage can be found here: