Chico Seed Orchard - Site # 53|
|The Chico Seed Orchard (previously known as Genetic Resource and Conservation Center) is located on 209 acres, in Chico, CA. Development started in 1904 when the site was assigned to the Agricultural Research Service for the purpose of plant breeding research and plant introduction from all over the world. Primary function is to produce seeds for reforestation - Douglas Fir and Ponderosa Pine Seeds. From time to time, late spring and early summer facility may be closed so seed orchards can be treated.|
The main drive-in gate is open 7am to 3pm, Monday-Friday, excluding Federal holidays. The walk-in pedestrian gate is open during the summer 7am to 7pm daily. During the winter, 7am to 5pm.
|Background: ||The facility was originally named the Plant Introduction Station. Two of the station's early accomplishments included introducing the pistachio in 1917 and the kiwi in 1934. The "mother" and "father" kiwi are still at the Center and are the oldest producing kiwis in the country.|
Today, the Chico Seed Orchard produces plants for projects such as reforestation, wildfire recovery, watershed restoration, fisheries, riparian habitat for threatened and endangered species, Native American culture values, oak woodland restoration, mine reclamation, campgrounds and interpretive areas, forest health including research and disease resistance.
This USFS arboretum offers outstanding wildlife viewing throughout the year. Trees and plants from around the world provide shelter for 200 species of birds. Red-tailed hawks, red-shouldered hawks and American kestrels roost in the canopy. White-tailed kites have aerial duels for territory. Nuttall's woodpeckers, acorn woodpeckers, and northern flickers inhabit cavities in the oaks. Songbirds abound during winter and spring, including marsh wrens, western bluebirds, cedar waxwings, Anna's hummingbirds, cliff swallows, lesser goldfinches, and fox sparrows. Watch the winter and spring skies for geese, swans, and cranes.
|The Habitat: ||Oak woodland and riparian. |
|The Experience: ||The Comanche Trail: a self-guiding nature trail (1 mile loop) meanders through a unique botanical area in Edgar Slough which has remnants of exotic species that were planted when this was a Plant Introduction Center. During normal work hours employees are available to answer questions. The Center is generally open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.|
The major portion of the trail is located west of the Center's main office. The trail can be entered near the main office or from the west end of the trail. There is also a small section of paved trail just north of the main office which extends the trail eastward to the main road. Signs have been placed to identify many of the trees on the trail. These signs include the botanical name and common name if known. The signs are numbered to correspond with the numbers in the free trail guide. Plants on the trail which have not been identified are either native plants common to this area, plants for which identification can no longer be verified by available records, or duplicates of plants already identified in the trail guide.
|Viewing Tips: ||Birding hotspot! Some resident snakes and mammals. Paved 0.75 mile nature trail universally accessible. Weekday parking near office; weekends and after hours until dusk, park at gate and walk through wheelchair accessible gate.|
|Site Notes: ||Picnic tables and benches are located along the trail for lunch or for you to just sit, rest, and enjoy the sounds, smells, and view. Each season offers a different perspective of the nature trail. In spring you'll find flowers in blooms; in summer a cool place to relax; in fall leaf colors to rival those in New England; and in winter, bare branches revealing migratory birds and nests perched high above the ground.|
|Nearby Viewing Sites: ||Bidwell Park|
|Festivals & Events: ||Snow Goose Festival of the Pacific Flyway - January|
|Visitor Information: ||Chico Chamber of Commerce - - https://www.chicochamber.com|
|| Paved. |
|Road Hazards: |
| Number of Parking Spaces: 19|
|Parking Fee: No|
|Proximity to viewing area:|
| Pull-Through Parking: No|
|Parking Notes: Parking for 12 cars inside the facility and parking for 7 cars outside main gate entrance, includes accessible parking.|
You can access parking inside the main gate Monday - Friday, 7am to 3:30pm, Monday-Friday.
|Special Tips: ||Visitors are not allowed on the property after dark.|
There are no public services available at the office.
Butte County pet leash laws apply, are posted and are enforced.
Interpretive Site, Accessible, Picnic tables, Toilets, Drinking water
|How to Get There: ||In Chico, from Highway 99 take Skyway exit east. Drive 0.25 mile and turn right on Dominic Drive. Go one block; turn left on Morrow Lane. Drive 50 yards, turn right on Cramer.|
| Contact Information |
|Managing Agency: ||USDA Forest Service, Mendocino National Forest|
|Agency Site URL: ||https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/mendocino/recarea/?recid=25248|
|Physical Address:||825 N. Humboldt Ave.
|Site Phone:||(530) 934-3316|| || |