Welcome to the James San Jacinto Mountains

Reserve Use Guidelines

Access to the reserve is by permission only, this is primarily to protect the reserve itself and manage it’s use. The reserve is fully fenced and the gates are always locked. Please call (951) 827 6835, or email for directions and restrictions. To use the James Reserve for research or teaching you must submit a use application in advance, and there are fees associated with use.

Rules and Regulations

We welcome qualified users to the James Reserve. All use must be consistent with the mission of the University of California Natural Reserve System.

The group leader is responsible for making sure that each participant is aware of the Reserve policies and rules (and their compliance) listed on the application and below

First Aid kits, epipens, and AED are in the bottom left cabinet as you enter the kitchen of the Trailfinders Lodge.

Fire extinguishers are inside all buildings. There is also one by the picnic shed in front of the main entrance, one on the north side of the building by the office entrance, one in the parking lot by the firewood shed, and one on the wall of the cooking shed in the campground. Due to recent strong bear activity in the reserve do not leave food in your vehicles or outside.  Also when not in the Lodge please close all windows and doors.

  • All individuals must print and sign a Waiver (https://james.ucnrs.org/waivers/) prior to entering the Reserve. Waivers can be emailed before the visit or delivered to the staff upon entering the Reserve
  • Smoking is prohibited on the Reserve
  • Leave gates as you find them
  • Except when loading and unloading vehicles must be parked in the lower parking lot only.
  • Off-road vehicle travel is prohibited
  • Pets are not allowed
  • Friends and family are not permitted at the Reserve unless they are directly involved with the proposed use that is approved in your application
  • All trash must be removed from the Reserve. Under no circumstances should any trash be left, buried or burned on the Reserve. You may not leave trash at Lake Fulmor
  • The use of the kitchen implies that pots, dishes, stove, and counters must be cleaned as soon as possible. Failing to do so will attract ants and our staff will enforce it.
  • Collecting is permitted only with written permission of the Reserve Director and appropriate collecting permits from state and federal agencies
  • Approved Animal Care Protocols from the applicant’s home institution are required
  • Viable seed cannot be used as bait for live trapping
  • A $50 cleaning fee will be applied to all overnight stays. This fee will be removed from the invoice if the users will leave the place clean to hotel standards (Refer to Cleaning section below).
  • Do not disturb research plots or subjects
  • Research plots should be clearly marked and identified with the name of the researcher and the date
  • At the conclusion of the project, markers and equipment will be removed by the user
  • Users will familiarize themselves with “House Rules” posted at Reserve facilities
  • Camping is only allowed in the campground across the creek from the lower parking lot
  • Check out time is noon, unless prior arrangements have been made with the Reserve Director
  • Conserve electricity and turn off all lights when not in use (esp. bathrooms). The entire Reserve is off the grid, and is solar power based
  • Minimize use of water as we are on our own well and it requires electricity to pump the water
  • Use of the following (and similar) appliances is forbidden due to power restrictions: coffeemakers, toasters, electric skillets, hairdryers, curling irons, etc.
  • Please leave the doors to the the buildings closed when not in use. We have inquisitive wildlife and need to keep them out of the building
  • Open fires are generally not allowed. They may be allowed during exceptional conditions of cold and wet weather WITH explicit authorization by the Reserve’s Staff. Barbecues are generally allowed under no wind conditions and  if supervised by responsible people. The Reserve is surrounded by thousands of acres of USFS land and we HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO KEEP THE FOREST AND SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES SAFE. Most wildfires in the San Bernardino National Forest are caused by HUMANS. Wildfire suppression is extremely expensive. Forest Use Restrictions are in place to protect the public and natural resources and the Reserve follows these regulations (https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/sbnf/home/?cid=fsbdev7_007776)
  • Do not bring firewood. Nonlocal firewood may be infested with Goldspotted Oak Borer which causes mortality to oak trees
  • If you use the museum study collections, please be very careful, many of the specimens are old and fragile. Specimens should be replaced in the same locations that they were found. Please make sure the specimen case doors are fully closed and latched when not in use
  • Do not touch the electronic equipment located outside on the Reserve. This equipment includes cameras, weather motes and stations, solar power arrays, antennas, etc., and is used for habitat sensing.
  • Playing Frisbee or ball is only allowed in the parking lot area.

Failure to do so will result in suspension of your future use of the James Reserve. Use of the Reserve and facilities is a privilege. We expect the grounds and facilities to be left in better shape than when you arrived. The Reserve staff does not provide any kind of cleaning or janitorial service. No collecting or trapping is allowed without approval of the appropriate use application.

Cleaning Regulations

The Reserve OPERATES WITH A STAFF OF TWO FULL-TIME EMPLOYEES and we DO NOT HAVE THE BUDGET TO HIRE janitors or housekeepers. This is our home, and we expect you to be respectful guests. WE COUNT ON YOU TO TAKE CARE OF THE JAMES RESERVE. OUR BEST GUESTS LEAVE IT IN BETTER CONDITION THAN THEY FIND IT WHEN THEY ARRIVE. A cleaning checklist will be given at your arrival. Failing to comply with ANY of the tasks in the list will result in $50 cleaning fee.

Here are some basic instructions on what this means:


ALL FLOORS need to be swept and mopped including the spaces under beds and tables. ALL WINDOWS must be closed and the blinds down.

KITCHEN, dishes have to be washed dried and put away. The sink has to be spotless and free of food remains. The stove, the hood over it, and the walls around it must be clean and free of grease. The kitchen table, chairs, counters and cabinets  doors have to be wiped clean. The cabinets inside must be free of crumbs, stains, or food remains. The fridge has to be spotless inside, unplugged and left open. The trash cans have to be clean inside, and the trash must be taken away from the reserve by users. Please leave everything organized as you find it.

BATHROOM, the sinks and showers have to be disinfected inside and outside. The toilet and toilet seat have to be disinfected and perfectly clean inside and outside. The toilet bowl must be scraped with a bowl cleaner and a scrub. The shower mat has to be shaken vigorously outside and hung back in the bathroom. The mirrors have to be spotless. The floor must be swept and mopped carefully. The trash can must be emptied.

BEDROOMSthe beds must have to keep their covers on and they have to be left clean. The windows have to be closed and the blinds down and shut. The floor must be swept and mopped even under the beds. The bunk bed ladders must be in place.

WOODSTOVE, has to be cleaned and the ashes disposed inside the metal bucket.

ALL TRASH AND RECYCLING need to be packed and taken with you.

Each building is provided with all cleaning products and tools to perform the tasks.

Safety Regulations

Use of the James Reserve, like any wild and natural area, may involve some risks. The Regents of the University of California will not accept any liability for accidents which might occur on or near the University property. Your use of the James Reserve is done strictly at your own risk! You can avoid potential problems by being aware of the following possible risks.

Never hike alone, always work with at least one other person and make sure that your instructor knows where you are going and when to expect you back.

Rattlesnakes are common and rarely rattle so please be alert. They will bite you if you step on them. In case of rattlesnake bite remain calm, and find someone who can drive a vehicle. Do not attempt first aid such as snakebite kits, constriction tourniquets, or ice pack. The latest information we have claims that doing nothing other than getting to a hospital is the best treatment. Do not kill a snake even if it bites you. The hospital does not need the animal in order to administer anti-venom or other treatments

The nearest paramedic is 7 miles south on Highway 243 in Pine Cove. There is a telephone in the Trailfinder Lodge. The nearest pay telephone is 2 1/2 miles south from Lake Fulmor on Highway 243 at the Lawler Lodge County Park facility. Dial 911 for all emergency requests (medical, fire, criminal).

Mountain Lions are common in this mountain range. If you encounter a cat, and it is not acting aggressive, merely leave it alone. If it is acting aggressive, make sure you stand up straight, continue staring it in the eyes, and make lots of noise. Do not run or crouch. If injured by any wildlife, make sure that you can identify what it was and inform the appropriate medical personnel.

If you smell or see smoke while working outdoors, please return to the Reserve and report it to a Reserve staff member, or call 911 and report it to the authorities.

If you are in the field and hear the emergency siren, please return immediately to the Trailfinders Lodge for further instruction.  If there is a need to evacuate, the parking lot is the designated gathering point.

Swimming in Lake Fulmor is done strictly at your own risk. There are no lifeguards, and there may be broken glass and fishing lines under water.

Do not handle rodents, they may carry bubonic plague. Exposure to rodent saliva, urine, blood or feces may lead to potential infection from Hanta virus. Ticks in this mountain range are known to carry Lyme disease.

If you would like to contact us using snail mail our address is:

James Reserve
PO Box 1775
Idyllwild, CA 92549