The 2-acre Field Station serving Blue Oak Ranch Reserve was once a family retreat for the Blue Oak Trust, who held the property for its conservation values since 1990. In 2007, the Trust donated the entire Ranch (3,280 acres) and the beautiful Cedar Barn they constructed in 1993, to the University of California's Natural Reserve System. UC Berkeley was given administrative responsibility, and over the subsequent 8 years a Biological Field Station was established in the Cedar Barn, which included renovations and improvements for a resident Director and Reserve Steward, basic infrastructure and utilities, and a small campground with facilities to support the needs a a small number of seasonal researchers and field classes. In 2012, UC Berkeley was granted $4,887,000 from the Wildlife Conservation Board (a State agency) to design and construct a full-scale facility for year-round academic use by up to 50 faculty and students. UC Berkeley hired Jeff Luchetti Construction, and JL Modulars to lead the Design-Build process. Our facilities were completed in February 2016, and include a remodeled headquarters in the Cedar Barn, a classroom and large commons room, a group kitchen, restrooms and laundry area, a field lab, and staff offices. Full-time housing for Reserve staff was built, as well as 4 conditioned dorm and faculty cabins for up to 20, and 8 seasonal cabins that can house 30. Other additons include a large off-grid solar photovoltaic system powering the entire Station and residences, a 50,000 gallon drinking water and fire sprinkler system, a Utility Barn for general facility and ranch maintenance operations, and renovation of the historic Amos White Cabin. The thousands of acres surrounding the Field Station is permanently protected by conservation and open space easements, ensuring that these lands will remain permantly protected for low-impact teaching and research.
Blue Oak Ranch Reserve and its facilities are now available for use by educators, researchers, University of California departments,and local non-profit organizations. Unfortunately, the Reserve cannot be used for commercial uses, outdoor recreation, weddings or fundraising events.
The Reserve is generally open seven days a week, and our office is open from 8AM to 5PM. Arrangements can be made in advance for late arrivals or early departures. We will ocassionally close the Reserve for UC administrative holidays (we are always closed between Christmas and New Years) so plan your visits in advance and check our availability calendar for any Reserve closures.
Reserve user are asked to follow these rules:
DO NOT smoke, bring dogs, collect, hunt, ride mountain bikes, or ATV’s on the Reserve without prior approval from the Reserve staff.
DO NOT disturb Reserve residents, or experiments.
DO make a reservation in advance using the RAMS website. The Reserve is not open to the public or for any recreational activities.
DO keep vehicles on established roadways and vehicle trails and carry a cell phone (and fire extinguisher during fire season). A fire can easily start from parking in grass tall when your car's catalytic converter is hot.
DO close and lock any gates you pass through, even if they were open when you arrived.
DO stop by the Administrative office in the Cedar Barn to sign in and register your visit before proceeding to any research site or housing unit.