After many months of levee repairs, heavy equipment and road blockage, the Bobelaine Bird Sanctuary is finally open. Thank you for your patience. The Sacramento Audubon Society was an active partner to protect Sutter County from future floods and preserve the Sanctuary for years to come. It has not been without a cost. To donate to Bobelaine, please go to: http://www.sacramentoaudubon.org/payments.html
Bobelaine Audubon Sanctuary This is a 430 acre wildlife sanctuary owned by the National Audubon Society and managed by volunteers of the Sacramento Audubon Society. It was donated to National Audubon in 1975 by Bob & Elaine Crandall. Bobelaine is a rare remnant of the riparian forests that once projected two to five miles on either side of the rivers in the Great Central Valley of California. The sanctuary is also registered as a "State Ecological Reserve" and is protected by the State Department of Fish & Game and the National Audubon Society. It is also listed as part of an "Important Bird Area" by the National Audubon Society.
Our goals are to protect, restore, preserve and manage the Bobelaine Audubon Sanctuary as a perpetual example of native riparian and related ecosystems of a major California river. Maintain the sanctuary as a place for animals first and people only if they can respect the wildlife and fauna found in the sanctuary. Protect threatened, rare and endangered plants and animals that occur in the sanctuary. A list of plants found in the sanctuary can be downloaded here.
Location: Bobelaine Audubon Sanctuary is located about 18 miles north of Sacramento, CA, on the Feather River east of highway 99 at the east end of Laurel Avenue. (See below for Map and Directions).
Photos by Marc Hoshovsky (top 2) & Bill Clark (bottom)
Bobelaine Audubon Sanctuary - Trails Map
Directions The map shown at right may be downloaded here: pdf map
From Sacramento, take Hwy 99/70 north, when Hwys 99 and 70 split stay on 99 and cross the Feather river bridge. Turn right at the second signed street after crossing the bridge - this is Laurel Ave. From Marysville/Yuba City, take Hwy 99 south to just past the old Dingville sign, turn left on Laurel Ave. On Laurel Ave., go till you reach an "End" sign. At this point the road turns to dirt and gravel and is over private land. We ask that you slow to five miles per hour from the "End" sign to the parking area to keep the dust down. Continue on until you reach the "Bobelaine Audubon Sanctuary" sign, parking lot, kiosk and metal barn. There is a large color map in the kiosk showing the trails and the three entrances to the sanctuary. Map handouts should be available in the mail box adjacent to the kiosk. If the gate happens to be open DO NOT DRIVE UP THE LEVEE! Please park in the parking area.
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Photos by Marc Hoshovsky
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Things To See and Do For your birding enjoyment, you will find over five miles of signed and maintained grassy trails that run through climax oak forest, open grassland, by sloughs and a lake, mixed riparian woodland and to the bank of a major California river, the Feather. Over 190 species of birds have been observed, including Black Crowned Night Herons, Wood Ducks and Swanson's Hawks.
A wide variety of mammals are also found such as fox, deer, river otters, beaver, muskrat, skunk, and raccoon. We encourage use of the sanctuary as a classroom for all levels, grade school through college and post-graduate work. There is ample access, parking and turn around space for busses.
Wildlife Footprint Viewing One trail at the sanctuary is especially well suited for viewing a large variety of "critter" tracks. It is a dirt road at the inside base of the Feather River levee which is used very little but has soft powder or in the winter soft dirt that provides a good record of footprints. Some tracks which can be seen are: Deer, coyote, fox, raccoon, skunk, ground squirrel, gray squirrel, snakes, turtles, lizards, and many others. All types of bird tracks from the Great Blue Heron to California Quail are recorded. This road is about eighty-five percent shaded until about 1:30 p.m. each day. The best time for viewing the tracks is early morning when the sun side-lights them. The graded dirt road now runs the full length of the sanctuary which will take you past Woodduck slough and Lake Crandall, providing some excellent birding opportunities. During winter and early spring you may see River Otter and Beaver tracks in the soft soil on the road just inside the main gate. This area provides an excellent opportunity to show your child or your class what natures "critter" tracks look like. If you're lucky, you might find Mountain Lion or Bobcat tracks. Tracks have been seen in the sanctuary and lions have been observed on the levee. A field guide book of animal tracks will be helpful in making this an interesting learning experience for both adults and children.
Reference Books The Peterson Field Guide Series: "A Field Guide To Animal Tracks" by Murie; "A Field Guide To The Mammals" by Burt & Grossenheider. A beautiful Bobelaine Guide Book is available at monthly General Meetings of the chapter and at "Wild Birds Unlimited" 2533 Fair Oaks Blvd, Sacramento and "Wild Bird Center", 5339 Sunrise Boulevard, Fair Oaks.
Conditions of use Use of the sanctuary is restricted to birders, naturalists, photographers, students, artists and those interested in wildlife & nature, free of charge, from sunrise to sunset, seven days a week. You do not need to be a member of Audubon to enjoy the sanctuary. No studies nor release of any animals of any kind will be conducted without sanctuary management approval. Currently, we don't have a store or center at the sanctuary. Safety: As a result of the 1992 fire, there are many dead snags remaining in the sanctuary that can and do fall across trails. These may fall with little or no provocation. Wind and rain tend to aggravate the condition. Please stay alert, especially on windy or rainy days. Due to the extremely high fire danger at the sanctuary during the dry season, as well as consideration for other visitors, we ask that all visitors please refrain from smoking, in the parking lot, and on all trails within the sanctuary. Bobelaine Sanctuary is not wheel chair accessible. No camping is allowed on sanctuary property. (This includes the parking and barn area). No auto tour access into the sanctuary. All access is by walking trails. No picnics or any other party/park-like activities. No alcoholic beverages of any kind are allowed on sanctuary property. No glass bottles allowed in the sanctuary.
No model airplane or drones flying in the sanctuary.
No archery or weapons of any kind in the sanctuary.
Groups of ten or more people are asked to contact the manager to ensure your visit is as enjoyable as possible and does not conflict with major trail mowing or other sanctuary maintenance. Please, help us keep our sanctuary clean and enjoyable for all to use. As the sanctuary has no routine trash pickup, please, if you brought it with you, be sure to take it home. This applies to all sanctuary property, inside and outside the levee. Please stay on trails. As a State Ecological Reserve, all flowers, berries, fungi, plants & wildlife are protected and must not to be picked or otherwise removed from the sanctuary. No pets of any kind allowed in the sanctuary! No bicycles or wheeled vehicles of any kind allowed in the sanctuary except for sanctuary maintenance vehicles.
Please report any fishing or hunting activity seen around our lake or in the sanctuary directly to the local California Fish & Wildlife warden at 530-673-3902, Cell 530-624-8380. (Please do not confront fishermen or hunters directly). You can also call 1-888-334-CalTIP