Trailfinder Meadow Webcam

Bird Feeder

Above Creek Cam

Trailfinder West Camera

Here are some of our webcams, there are others listed to the left under the webcams tab. If you see anything interesting on them or encounter a problem with them please let us know, thanks! (contact us)


Welcome to the James Reserve


The James San Jacinto Mountains Reserve is located on an alluvial bench situated at the lower end of Hall Canyon, a steep, western flank of Black Mountain. The reserve hosts a wide variety of plant communities: Sierra mixed conifer riparian forest, oak woodlands, montane chaparral, alder-willow-cedar riparian forest, and dry meadows. Habitats include mixed conifer and hardwood forest, montane chaparral, montane riparian forest, and a rapidly flowing mountain stream with manmade reservoir (Lake Fulmor) immediately downstream. The entire watershed is protected for research and study by the U.S. Forest Service. There are records of 259 species of vascular plants, 35 bryophytes, 6 amphibians, 18 reptiles, 125 birds (60 percent nesting), 35 mammals, and ~1,000 invertebrates.


Operating as a satellite to the James Reserve, the Oasis de los Osos Reserve is located at the west end of the Coachella Valley, north of Palm Springs, and encompasses 65 hectares (160 acres) situated on a steep elevational gradient near the base of the north-facing escarpment of Mount San Jacinto. A perennial stream, Lambs Creek, runs through the site, supporting on of the very few riparian woodlands in the Colorado Desert. Oasis de los Osos is protected by The Nature Conservancy (TNC). 


Research projects

There are numerous research projects on going at the reserve covering long horned beetles, lady beetles, southern mountain yellow-legged frogs, flying squirrels, phenology of the forest, carbon dioxide budgets from the atmosphere to deep into the soil, studies of the mycorrhizae and many others.


Field courses
Extensive teaching use of the site by university-level courses in biology, botany, animal tracking, earth philosophy, zoology, ecology, others.

Public outreach
The local community is welcomed for science/ecologically focused tours, meetings and courses on site; K-12 students visit for daylong and overnight field trips; Idyllwild community can use GIS for fire prevention and planning.


January 14th, 2012


Frog Update:

In 2011 The mountain yellow-legged frog working group released 270 eggs and 313 tadpoles at 5 different pools in Indian Creek on the UC James Reserve. Following these releases we regularly monitored for the presence of tadpoles to determine their survival. Previous years' reintroduction efforts had very low detectability of tadpoles following release. Tadpoles are very difficult to detect at these low densities and we were not expecting to have a high level of detectability in 2011. However, to our surprise we were able to verify tadpole survival during every survey in 2011.


The survival of tadpoles at the James Reserve indicates that the site is a good choice for mountain yellow-legged frog reintroductions. This reintroduction site is the first in southern California for the species and we are excited to learn as much as possible from these releases and improve our techniques along the way. 2012 should be an exciting year with more monitoring and reintroductions planned. -- Frank Santana, Research Technician, Applied Animal Ecology San Diego Zoo Institute For Conservation Research



Reserve Update:

We have had a warm and fairly dry year so far, just under 10 inches of rain, resulting from a interaction between the La Niña conditions and a positive Arctic Oscillation. Precipitation varies widely year to year, 3.85 in 2006 to 17.38 last year. The La Niña conditions have been generating drier than average conditions here in Southern California and the positive Arctic Oscillation is keeping the cold and snow to the north.  Because of this we are also expecting o have higher than normal wildfire conditions starting this winter and lasting into the spring. (NOAA info) The current information about drought conditions country wide can be found here. The highest areas for drought are in southern Texas, Georgia and Alabama with Extreme (D3) and (D4) Exceptional drought levels. Areas of California are Abnormally Dry (D0) to Moderate (D1) with Southern California predicted to develop drought status through the spring (NOAA info)


With the new year we have good news! We are about halfway done with our facility expansion, with many thanks to the Trailfinders for their generous fundraising, we couldn't have done it with out you! We have our cabins on site and all that remains is to build decks and connect the utilities. When we are finished there will be 3 residential cabins, two sleeping 10 people, and one sleeping 20, and a new classroom building.


The residential cabins have full kitchen and bathroom facilities, and will be great places to stay. This will increase our capacity to ~70 people in four buildings so we will finally be able to have multiple groups using the reserve. We are hoping to have this completed sometime in the early spring, but until then here are some pictures.

The classroom

The three cabins

The new kitchens

The bunk beds

The bathrooms