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Regional Resources

Regional Resources

The following lands are easily accessible from the UC Merced SCICON Field Station and provide access to a variety of field sites in the southern Sierra Nevada and foothills.

SCICON -- operated by Tulare County Office of Education the Outdoor School of Science and Conservation is located adjacent to the field station and in the foothills of eastern Tulare County at an elevation between 2000 and 3500 feet above sea level. Within this 1100-acre campus are many miles of hiking trails, a museum of natural history, planetarium, observatory, raptor center, amphitheater, and natural areas. Twenty cabins adorn the campus as housing for students, teachers and staff. Meals take place in the spacious John Muir Lodge. SCICON serves over 20,000 K-12 students and visitors each year. Contact SCICON Conference & Retreat Facilities for conference and large group accommodation information.


Circle J – Norris Ranch : 620 acres of oak woodland savannah with vernal pools.


Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks *: This dramatic landscape testifies to nature's size, beauty, and diversity—huge mountains, rugged foothills, deep canyons, vast caverns, and the world's largest trees – the giant sequoia. The parks lie side by side in the southern Sierra Nevada east of the San Joaquin Valley. Weather varies a lot by season and elevation, which ranges from 1,370' to 14,494'.


Sequoia National Forest : Hosts giant sequoia trees, which grow in more than 30 groves in the forest's lower elevation slopes. Soaring granite monoliths, glacier-carved canyons, elevations range from 1,000 feet in the foothill region to peaks over 12,000 feet in the rugged high country.


UC Merced Sequoia Field Station : includes one cabin and one research/classroom facility, located in the historic Wolverton Ski Area, approximately one mile from Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park and generally accessible year-round.


River Ridge Institute : provides leadership in sustainable land management and natural resource conservation to landowners, planners and the general public.


Mountain Home Demonstration State Forest : One of eight Demonstration State Forests, in California, operated by California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal-Fire). MHDSF in eastern Tulare County protects some of the largest old growth sequoias in the state and rich archaeological and Native American cultural resources.


Blue Ridge National Wildlife Refuge : a large, ridge-shaped mountain approximately 4.5 miles long and 3,000 feet from base to top, with the peak elevation at 5,733 feet providing 897 acres of designated Critical Habitat for the California condor. The refuge is part of a cooperatively managed area designated as a Wildlife Habitat Area by the Habitat Management Plan. 


Pixley National Wildlife Refuge : The Pixley National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1959 by executive order to provide wetland habitat for migratory waterfowl and shorebirds. Of the 6,939 acres that comprise the Refuge, approximately 5,350 is upland habitat made up of grassland, alkali playa, and vernal pool habitat, 755 acres consists of seasonal wetlands, and 15 acres consist of riparian habitat.


Sopac McCarthy Mulholland Blue Oak Ranch Preserve ( Sequoia Riverlands Trust ): the 908 acre preserve includes rolling blue oak woodland, chaparral and the headwaters of Sycamore Creek. Located within the Tule River area, this magnificent nature preserve protects an important corridor of habitat between the foothills and higher elevation streamside areas for rare mammals, like the Pacific fisher and for songbirds like the rare Swainson's thrush and black swift as they migrate between their summer and winter ranges.


Kaweah Oaks Preserve ( Sequoia Riverlands Trust ): 344-acre nature preserve, protecting one of the last remaining valley oak riparian forests in the San Joaquin Valley


Dry Creek Preserve ( Sequoia Riverlands Trust ): A fully restored aggregate mine reclamation site that hosts a rare sycamore alluvial woodland community type, found in just 17 stands scattered across central California.


Nearby towns: Springville (6.4 miles), Porterville (22.5 miles), Visalia (48.7 miles)

* Research in the National Parks

If you are planning to conduct research within Sequoia or Kings Canyon National Parks, you will need a Park Service research permit. Be sure to start the process early, since permits can take several months to obtain. To request a research or collecting permit, visit the National Park Service's  Research Permit and Reporting System .  If you are working on other public lands (BLM, National Forest), you will need to obtain permits for that work as well.