Chico Seed Orchard


Area Status: Open
[Photograph]: Cramer Lane, Entrance to Genetic Resource and Conservation Center with Fall Colors.

The Chico Seed Orchard is located on 209 acres in Chico, California. 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.

The orchard's primary functions are:

  • Provide high-quality, source-identified seed.
  • Enhance reforestation success in current and future planting environments.
  • Promote gene conservation in the Pacific Southwest Region.
  • Focus on ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir seed production.

Seed produced at the Chico Seed Orchard benefits:

  • Ecological restoration
  • Wildfire recovery
  • Native American cultural values
  • Forest health, including research and disease resistance

The secondary function is to provide for recreation, public service, and education.  Recreational activities include:

  • 1-mile self-guided, paved and accessible nature trail
  • Wildlife and bird watching
  • Dog walking (leash required)
  • Picnicking
  • Trash and restrooms available
  • No public drinking water

Note: The main gate on site is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, except on holidays.  The pedestrian gate is open seven days a week, except on holidays, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. from March 1 through October 31.  From November 1 through February 29, the pedestrian gate is open daily, except on holidays, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors are not allowed on the property after dark.

[Photograph]: Genetic Resource and Conservation Center Nature Trail. [Photograph]: Giant Bamboo Along the Genetic Resource and Conservation Center Nature Trail. [Photograph]:  Foxgloves and Giant Bamboo Along Nature Trail. [Photograph]: Nature trail with flowering daffodils. [Photograph]:  Picnic area next to creek, along the nature trail.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: The pedestrian gate is open
Reservations: None
Area Amenities: Interpretive Site,Accessible,Picnic tables,Toilets,Drinking water
Restrictions:
  • Visitors are not allowed on the property after dark.
  • No public services available at the office.
  • Butte County pet leash laws apply, are posted, and are enforced.
  • Public access is restricted to specific roads and areas designated for recreational use.
Closest Towns: Chico
Restroom: Vault
Operated By: Forest Service

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities

Day Hiking

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 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.

The trail area supports an abundance of wildlife including: birds, snakes, rabbits, squirrels, rodents, insects, and many other species. These are listed in the trail guide.

California Wild Grape vines adorn many areas along the trail and the wide variety of other vegetation enhances the wildlife habitat. Small wood box-like structures attached to trees along the trail were constructed to provide housing for wood ducks and for bats. For your safety and theirs, please observe our wildlife inhabitants from a distance. 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.

Viewing Plants

The Comanche Trail 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 8 a.m. to 4 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.

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.

Special Feature Additionally arboretums identified in the trail guide are filled with a variety of trees planted during the Plant Introduction days of the Center. On the eastern side of the arboretums are the "Ma" and "Pa" kiwi plants, the oldest producing kiwis in the United States. A Camptotheca tree and a cork oak, also planted during the Plant Introduction era, are located in the parking lot area between the arboretums.

Interpretive Areas

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 8 a.m. to 4 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.

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.

Amenities

Interpretive Site: Nature Trail
Picnic tables: Yes
Toilets: Vault
Accessible: Accessible Nature Trail
Drinking water: No

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

Highlights

Location

 
  Latitude : 
39.708556

  Longitude : 
-121.782675