Reserve User Information

Reserve User Information

Eligible visitors

Access to the reserve is generally restricted to research and teaching uses. The reserve is not open to public recreational access. Visits to the reserve are coordinated by the Reserve Director and all applications to use the reserve must be approved in advance by the Reserve Director.

Reserve Use Guidelines

Reserve Use Guidelines have standardized the founding principles and values of the NRS. Activities that will or are highly likely to irrevocably harm the natural values, ecosystem functions and native biodiversity of the reserve, or preclude its possible future use for University-level research or instruction, will not be allowed. In evaluating applications for reserve use, reserve managers may consider, among other things, the impacts on natural systems and long-term use. Evaluation criteria include:

(a) Impacts on Natural Systems. Potential positive and negative impacts on natural systems (e.g. significant new research, extensive collections, significant habitat alterations, introductions of species or genes).

(b) Impacts on Present or Long-term Use. Potential positive and negative impacts on present or future long-term use of the reserve for research or instructional purposes. The guidelines allow for zoning in the reserves. Reserve management plans may zone certain areas that contain fragile resources “off-limits” to most users. Furthermore, reserve managers are given the latitude to direct highly manipulative research to field stations outside the NRS: For highly manipulative research that may irrevocably harm the natural values of the reserve or preclude its future use for University-level research or instruction, the prospective researcher may be directed to areas outside the reserve if such areas are available, or the application may be denied.

Guidelines for Non-native Genotypes

Research that involves the introduction or translocation of a plant, animal, or microorganism on an NRS reserve can endanger both the native populations of the same species and the entire community in which the species lives. Since 2001, an NRS-wide process has been in place to evaluate proposed introductions and translocations of exotic genotypes and to provide guidance to prevent the problems associated with them.

Application Process

Research projects

  • If this is a new research project, contact the Reserve Director to discuss the project requirements and suitability.
  • Go to the Apply to Do Research page and follow the instructions to complete a RAMS application.
  • Multiple visits (“activities”) may be appended to a single application.
  • The Reserve Director will be notified automatically and will review the application.
  • The application is not approved until the applicant is notified by the Reserve Director.
  • If you have more than one research project, a separate application must be filed for each project.
  • The group leader is responsible for making sure each participant is aware of reserve policies and guidelines listed on the application and below.

Class Use Applications:

  • Complete a RAMS application.
  • A separate application must be submitted for each visit.
  • The Reserve Director will be notified automatically and will review the application.
  • The application is not approved until the applicant is notified by the Reserve Director.
  • The group leader is responsible for making sure each participant is aware of reserve policies and guidelines listed on the application and below.

Waiver of Liability

Every nonexempt visitor to the reserve must submit a signed Waiver of Liability. Sign the document before you arrive at the reserve and give it to a staff person immediately upon arrival.

Main Waiver – Use this document for individuals visiting the reserve.

Group Signature Form: If you have a group of adults; attach this group signature form to the Main Waiver.

The following types of people are exempt from having to fill out a waiver:

  • UC employees acting within the course and scope of their employment.
  • UC students who are supervised by the faculty/instructor on a field trip to a reserve.
  • Members of the public who visit reserves for a public event advertised to the general public.
  • Persons with a legal right to enter a reserve under a contract or other legal document (e.g., contractors).
  • Non-UC employees who enter a reserve within the course and scope of their employment (e.g. utility workers).
  • Family members or personal guests of resident reserve staff, and past/potential donors, provided they are under close supervision of reserve staff.

Waivers conform to legal standards and cannot be altered in any way.
We cannot accept electronic signatures.
Waivers for minors must be signed by the parent or legal guardian.


Directions and gate combinations will be given to the group leader after an application is approved. The group leader must give the names and arrival dates of all drivers to the Reserve Director who will give their names to Security. Access to the Reserve will be denied unless Security has the driver’s names in advance of their arrival.

Sign in

Visitors are required to sign in at the Sign-in Box located at the entry monument gate. Sign in on the day that you arrive and sign out on the day that you leave at the conclusion of your visit to Boyd Deep Canyon Reserve. If you stay at the reserve for several days, then you do not have to sign in and out every time you leave the reserve. Class instructors may sign in for the class (i.e. all individuals in the class do not need to sign in).

Researcher Responsibilities

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

  1. All individuals must sign a waiver prior to entering the Reserve.
  2. Collecting is permitted only with written permission of the Reserve Director and appropriate collecting permits from state and federal agencies.
  3. Approved Animal Care Protocols from the applicant’s home institution are required.
  4. Smoking is prohibited on the Reserve.
  5. Vehicles must stay on established roadways and vehicle trails. Off-road vehicle travel is prohibited.
  6. Park in designated areas only.
  7. Use road turnouts for passing on the one lane access road. Turnouts are marked with white lines.
  8. No children, pets, or guests are allowed within the Reserve.
  9. Viable seed cannot be used as bait for live trapping.
  10. Do not disturb research plots or subjects. Check with staff about areas that should not be disturbed and areas that are closed to entry.
  11. Research plots should be clearly marked and identified with the name of the researcher and the date.
  12. A written description of the area and subjects should be given to the staff.
  13. At the conclusion of the project, markers and equipment will be removed by the user.
  14. Users are responsible for housekeeping during their stay, and when they depart, the facilities will be left clean to the     standards of the Reserve Director.
  15. All trash must be removed from the Reserve. Under no circumstances should any trash be left, buried or burned on the Reserve.
  16. Users will familiarize themselves with “House Rules” posted at Reserve facilities.

Campground Use Rules

  1. Use of the campground is restricted to groups of 30 or less.
  2. All vehicles must be parked in spaces provided on the loop road.NO VEHICLES MAY BE DRIVEN OFF OF THE ROAD.
  3. Camping is restricted to the area within the loop road. DO NOT CAMP IN THE DESERT OUTSIDE OF THE LOOP ROAD.
  4. Camp stoves or the picnic grills may be used for cooking.
  5. Camp fires are permitted in existing fire rings only.
  6. Users must provide their own fire wood. Natural material from the Reserve cannot be used.
  7. The Reserve is zoned for research and teaching. All classes are restricted to the Teaching Area. Please check with the staff for a description of the boundaries.
  8. Classes staying at the campground are not entitled to use the facilities at Boyd Center.

Annual Summary of Research Project

Please provide the following by June 30 of each year. The summary and list of publications will be published in the NRS Annual Report and on the NRS systemwide Web Page:

  1. A brief summary of your research accomplishments, including the title of the project, a list of all participants on the project with their affiliations.
  2. A list of your current publications based on research done on the reserve (complete references).
  3. Two copies of all published materials, including conference proceedings, abstracts, and technical reports (one bound copy only of theses and dissertations), resulting from your research. Please acknowledge the University of California Natural Reserve System, UC Riverside, Boyd Deep Canyon Desert Research Center in any publication resulting from use of this reserve.
  4. Source of funding for your project, dates of funding, and the funding amount.

Depositing research data

Requirement for Reserve Users to Deposit Bibliographic Data

For work utilizing wholly or in part an NRS reserve or its facilities, researchers will need to provide the NRS Information Management System with the full bibliographic citation (whether for a report, thesis, book, research paper, or conference proceedings, etc.) within six months of publication. In addition, individual researchers are required to provide paper copies of published articles or an electronic version (PDF file) to the Reserve Director. We ask that individual researchers include the NRS reserve name as one of the “key words” in every manuscript prepared (

Requirement for Reserve Users to Deposit Metadata

Compilations of metadata are now routine across all disciplines. For datasets based on work at NRS sites, we are requesting that individual researchers fill out a form that describes their data set. Such metadata can be entered online at the NRS website. The metadata listing does not raise any issues of ownership of intellectual property, as we are only requesting descriptions of such data sets.
For ongoing multi-year studies, researchers need to submit a metadata database entry at the end of the second year of such a study and, again, upon completion of the study.

As indicated above, compliance with these requests is important to both the future of the NRS and to society at large. Failure to deposit both the bibliographic and metadata information as requested may lead to automatic denial of future Use Applications.

Fee Schedule

Per Person Per Night$12.50$15.00
Lab Space Per Person Per day$5.00$7.50
AGAVE HILL: Per Person Per Night$5.00$7.00
CAMPGROUND: Per Person Per Night$2.00$4.00
Group Activity $80.00/4 hrs. $120.00/8 hrs.

Preference for housing and lab space will be discussed with the user, but all assignments will be at the discretion of the Director.

Use of the Campground or Agave Hill does not include access to Boyd Center facilities.

Additional fees will be assessed for cleaning at the rate of $25.00 per hour if facilities are not left clean to the standards of the Reserve Director. Assessment of cleaning fees will jeopardize future use of the Reserve by the individual or group.

All persons using the Reserve must be actively engaged in a research project or class instruction. Spouses and family members are not accommodated unless engaged in a research project. Children and pets are not allowed.

Potential Hazards

Boyd Deep Canyon Reserve is a wild natural area that may involve some risks. The Regents of the University of California will not accept any liability for accidents that might occur on or near the University property. Your use of Boyd Deep Canyon Reserve is done strictly at your own risk! You can avoid some potential risks by being aware of the following:

  1. If at all possible, never hike alone. Make sure that your instructor or Boyd Deep Canyon staff knows where you are going and when to expect you back. Take a cell phone even though you may be out of range. It may or may not work in your location, but if it does, then it might just save your life.
  2. Ignorance is no excuse for making unsafe decisions. Familiarize yourself with basic desert safety guidelines.
  3. Dehydration can lead to life threatening conditions: Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke. Drink plenty of water. Water uptake is facilitated by food, so eating snacks will help you maintain hydration. If you wait until you are thirsty, then you already have a negative water balance. A useful rule of thumb for avoiding dehydration in hot environments or during strenuous activity involves monitoring the frequency and character of urination. If one develops a full bladder at least every 3-5 hours and the urine is only lightly colored or colorless, chances are that dehydration is not occurring; if urine is deeply colored, or urination occurs only after many hours or not at all, water intake may not be adequate to maintain proper hydration.
  4. Rattlesnakes: Rattlesnakes are abundant on the Reserve and around the buildings. Avoid them by using common sense: a) Never walk around at night without a flashlight; and b) never put your hands or feet anywhere that you have not looked. Snakes have the right-of-way. Do not move them or try to pick them up under any circumstances. If they are in a place where someone is likely to step on them, then notify a staff person. They will evaluate the situation and move the snake if it is necessary.
    • If you are bitten by a rattlesnake remain calm, and find someone who can drive you to a medical facility for treatment. Only in extreme situations should you attempt first aid with snakebite kits, constriction tourniquets or ice pack. You may do more harm than good.
    • Do not attempt to capture or kill the snake if it bites you. Rattlesnakes are the only venomous snake in the area and the hospital does not need the animal to administer anti-venom or other treatments.
    • The nearest hospital is Eisenhower Medical Center, 39000 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage, 760-340-3911, located on the corner of Bob Hope Drive and Country Club Drive. Bob Hope Drive is accessible from I-10 or Highway 111.
  5. Do not handle rodents; they may carry bubonic plague, and exposure to rodent saliva, urine, blood or feces may lead to potential infection from Hanta virus.
  6. If you smell or see smoke, and you think it is from a wild fire, call 911 and report it. If you are working in the Pinyon Flat area or on Santa Rosa Mountain leave the area immediately. There is only one road to evacuate the mountain.
  7. Unhappy Reserve Director: Red-spotted toads are common around the buildings at night. Use caution when driving near the buildings from dusk to dawn. The toads look like small rocks in the road. If in doubt, stop, get out of the car and confirm that it is or is not a toad. Move toads off the road before you drive on. It is tough enough to be a toad in the desert without having to contend with roads and inattentive drivers. We appreciate your cooperation in this matter. Keep the Director happy.
  8. Mountain Lions are common in this mountain range.

Stuff to know

  1. Users must provide bed linen, pillows, towels, and personal toiletries.
  2. The kitchen is well stocked with cooking paraphernalia, small appliances, utensils, crockery, etc.
  3. Users provide their own food and beverages other than water. Grocery stores are located nearby in Palm Desert and other cities, and include Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and a Costco.
  4. Cell phone reception is good at Boyd Center, but deteriorates rapidly to the south of the buildings.
  5. Boyd Center has wireless LAN connectivity and wireless internet access.
  6. There is no television reception at the Center, but there is a television and DVD player.
  7. Nearest hospital: Eisenhower Medical Center, 39000 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage, 760-340-3911. The hospital is located on the corner of Bob Hope Drive and Country Club Drive. Bob Hope Drive is accessible from I-10 or Highway 111.
  8. Nearest fire station: Mesa View/Station 67, 73-200 Mesa View, Palm Desert CA 2260
  9. Security at The Reserve [private community]: (760) 837-4830.
  10. Boyd Deep Canyon Mailing Address: 54900 Desert Research Trail, Indian Wells, CA 92210.
  11. See the Reserve Director for FedEx and UPS deliveries.