Welcome to the James San Jacinto Mountains

Safety at the James and Los Osos

The James and Oasis de los Osos provide unique opportunities for researchers and students to come and explore and learn about nature. However, just as in an on-campus laboratory, the opportunity to use the outdoor “laboratories” of the Reserves come with some risks, both for the users and the plants and animals of the area. Thus some precautions need to be taken into consideration when visiting either the James or Los Osos. Though most of the basic in-the-field safety measures will apply to both sites, because of their differences in facilities and degree of isolation, responses to accidents or emergencies in each will differ and will be indicated.  Below covers the mostly commonsense safety concerns that users should keep in mind, that will be followed by specific responses if an emergency occurs.


  • In using both reserves, keep in mind that you are visiting relatively pristine areas, which is their main attraction for research and classes! All of our efforts when in the field should be mindful of trying to keep these areas that way…pristine.
  • Stay on the trails: Unless your research necessitates accessing areas away from the trails, which will have been approved if appropriate, please stay on the designated trails in both sites. Off trail  can have a variety of impacts on the delicate vegetation of the areas as well as possible safety hazards for users.
  • Though the chances of anything happening are low, it is best to be aware that both areas have rattlesnakes, bees/hornets, and irritating plants. Keep in mind that rattlesnakes are not out to bite you, they are more concerned with protecting themselves. If you see a snake or hear one rattle, immediately stop. Once you know where the snake is and how far away it is from you, the best reaction is to back away slowly.  If you have allergies to insect bites/plants, be sure to make your instructor and the reserve personnel aware of this.
  • IF you are bitten or stung or in need of other immediate medical treatment, AT THE JAMES: contact the Reserve personnel IMMEDIATELY. AT OASIS DE LOS OSOS:  dial 911 (cell reception is very good on site) or call the Riverside County Sheriff’s Dispatch Center at Cabazon, which is only a few minutes away and available 24/7 (951-776-1099).
  • In the case of snake bite, follow the recommendations of the Mayo Clinic as to what you should and should not do while waiting for treatment.
  • Follow the links here for more detailed emergency contact information for the James Reserve and Oasis de los Osos.


Code of Conduct at the Reserves

When visiting the James and Los Osos Reserves, it is expected that users abide by commonsense codes of conduct regarding respect for one another. This is especially the case regarding sexual harassment, which is not tolerated at the Reserves. The expectations for this conduct are formalized in the following informational sheets, which also provide courses of actions if they are not met.