Sagehen Creek Field Station

Sagehen Creek Field Station 1
Sagehen Creek Field Station / Photo by Lobsang Wangdu

Located within the Sagehen Experimental Forest on the eastern slope of the northern Sierra Nevada approximately 20 miles north of Lake Tahoe, Sagehen Creek Field Station has been dedicated to research and teaching since 1951. The University of California operates the station under a long-term special-use permit from the U.S. Forest Service. The surrounding watershed is also available to researchers and classes through an agreement with the Forest Service and includes extensive stands of yellow pine, mixed conifer, and red fir forests, as well as brush fields, scattered mountain meadows, and fens. Sagehen serves as the hub of a broader network of research areas known as the Central Sierra Field Research Stations, comprised of Sagehen Creek Field Station, Central Sierra Snow Laboratory, Onion Creek Experimental Watershed, Chickering American River Reserve, and North Fork Association Lands.

Graduate research at Sagehen has provided the basis for 80+ master’s and doctoral theses such as behavioral studies of dark-eyed juncos, stream runoff modeling, bees/butterflies in mountain montane meadows, and GIS as a tool for reserve master planning.

Summer Field Courses

UC Davis offers a five-week entomology field course and a two-week botany field course.

Community GIS Center provides advanced GIS support for researchers; established in collaboration with Truckee River Watershed Council, U.S. Forest Service, CA Fish and Game, Desert Research Institute.

K-12 Education

Adventure, Risk & Challenge (ARC), an intensive, six-week course for motivated English language learner students with leadership potential, is based at Sagehen. Local schools regularly bring students for outdoor education classes. UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science offers a one-week summer science camp for high school students.

Special Research of National Significance

National pilot project applying spatially placed area fuel treatments (SPLATs), a new approach to managing forest fire risk, to a real-world landscape.

Tim Brown
Reserve Director

Dan Sayler

Sagehen Creek Field Station
12030 Donner Pass Rd Ste 1-305
Truckee, CA 96161

Sagehen Creek Field Station website

Nevada County, 8.4 miles north of Truckee on Highway 89.

Housing in 22 buildings for up to 59 people year-round. Library/computer lab; two classrooms; communal kitchen, eating area, and deck; office space; fish observation house. Electricity with backup generator, wireless network with satellite Internet service, VCR, slide and LCD projectors. Flush toilets, showers, sinks, washing machines. Heat is available in all buildings.

The reserve bibliography includes citations of journal articles, books, theses, art, and other works published about or based on activities conducted at the reserve.

Plant List
Historic/current aerial photos; natural resource geographic information system (GIS); air and ground-based LIDAR mapping; detailed inventories of tree cover, understory vegetation and soils; various historic research datasets; stream-flow and chemistry records; precipitation chemistry records. Daily weather data (1953 to present) from National Climate Data Center; climate data (1961 to present) from Western Regional Climate Center. Streamflow/water quality data from U.S. Geological Survey; precipitation (2001 to present) from National Atmospheric Deposition Program. Online biological inventories of amphibians, birds, bony fishes, insects, mammals, plants, and reptiles. Onsite teaching collections of birds, insects, plants, and mammals.

Year-round resident station manager and assistant manager

3,642 hectares (9,000 acres) by agreement with the USDA Forest Service.

1,800 m to 2,650 m (5,900 to 8,700 ft.); station facilities located at 1,943 m (6,390 ft.)

Measurements taken at 1,943 m (6,390ft): water 88 cm (34.67 in); snow 515 cm (202.8 in.)

January: -10.5 to 4.5 ºC (13 to 40 ºF)
July: 3 to 26. ºC (37 to 79 ºF)
Dendra Weather Data

Sagehen Creek Field Station 2
Sagehen Creek Field Station 3
Sagehen Creek Field Station 4