Sacramento, California - Protecting Sensitive Habitat and Providing Public Enjoyment a Win-Win for All Species: The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is reminding those who visit state ecological reserves to be mindful of the site’s specific rules and regulations.

Many state lands not only provide public enjoyment and education regarding natural resources, but they also protect fragile habitat for a variety of threatened and endangered plants, mammals, reptiles and other species.

“It’s important to understand that activities vary from property to property and it’s the user’s responsibility to know what is permitted,” said CDFW Senior Environmental Scientist Julie Horenstein. “Whether you are hiking, fishing or wildlife watching, users should stay in designated areas, observe usage rules posted at each site and respect the property. In the end, the primary purpose of ecological reserves is to protect special species and habitats.”

According to state law (Title 14, CCR Section 630), CDFW is obligated to protect and maintain designated ecological reserves which includes enforcing the rules.

Reserves open to the public have hours from sunrise to sunset. On all state properties, it is illegal to feed wildlife, operate motorized vehicles outside of designated areas, disturb bird nests, release any fish or animal, start any fire or light fireworks or other explosive or incendiary devices, disturb habitat, alter the landscape or remove vegetation.

Failure to comply with the law could result in a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail.

Lastly, when visiting California’s ecological reserves, remember to pack out what you pack in and leave behind the treasures you find for others to discover. This will ensure the ecological reserves will continue to protect sensitive species and habitats and be there for future generations to enjoy.

For more information on CDFW’s ecological reserves, visit http://www.dfg.ca.gov/lands/er/.