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Genetic Resource and Conservation Center
Genetic Resource and Conservation Center
About the Genetic Resource and Conservation Center

The 209-acre Genetic Resource and Conservation Center is located in the city of Chico, about 50 miles east of the Mendocino National Forest. Since beginning operations in 1917 as part of the U.S.D.A. Plant Introduction Station, the Center has been a site of advances in agriculture and tree improvement. Today, the Center is a key link in reforestation efforts. Native conifer tree seedlings, developed with the most desirable characteristics for growth, vigor and disease resistance, are grown at the Center and then planted in National Forests throughout the state. The Center is also involved in chemical, biological and clinical research projects that search for treatments for cancer, using such plants as the Pacific Yew.

Self-Guiding Nature Trail

The Comanche 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. Visitors may sign in at the main office and request a trail guide listing the common names of trees viewed along the Trail. The Center is generally open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

About the trail
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.

Other features of the Trail
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 (side entrance) and for bats (bottom entrance). 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.

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.

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.

Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association
1699 HWY 273, Anderson, CA 96007 | (P) 530-365-7500 | (F) 530-365-1258
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