Valentine Eastern Sierra Reserve
Valentine Camp

Valentine Camp is a center for research in the high Sierra Nevada and the upper Owens Valley. The reserve lies in a glacier-carved basin in a transition zone between the sagebrush desert of the Great Basin and the coniferous forests of the high Sierra Nevada. With its varied topography and soils, the site encompasses several distinct habitats: Sierran upper-montane forest and chaparral, Great Basin sagebrush, and wet montane meadow, all occurring within a relatively small area. Mammoth Creek flows through the site, bordered by high montane riparian vegetation. Several large springs and small seeps add to diverse habitats. Valentine Camp joins with the NRS's nearby Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory (SNARL) to comprise the Valentine Eastern Sierra Reserve (VESR).

Forest management

Low-impact horse-logging and hand crews engaged on site to reduce fire hazards and improve forest health.

Public outreach

Outdoor science education programs for local schools; K-7 summer school; college internships; public tours; short courses.

Field courses

Site visits by university courses in wetland delineation, botany, and plants of the high country.

Environmental monitoring

Spring discharge at reserve monitored to assess effects of groundwater pumping by local Mammoth Lakes community; monitoring spring flows in Mammoth Creek; reserve manager monitors development in surrounding area and participates in local planning.

Selected Research

  • Fire ecology: Valentine Camp firehistory studies, stand-age analysis, and fuel-loading maps will be used to develop a fire management plan.
  • Wetland mapping project: Identification and delineation of wetlands in Long Valley.
  • Plant ecology: Population ecology, ecophysiology, and genetics of mountain brome grass.
  • Avian ecology: Artificial nest boxes are used to attract house wrens for study in breeding behavior and endocrinology.
  • Expanded research opportunities: Studies of insects, mammals, and amphibians are conducted on the reserve and at other regional sites.

Contact Information
Daniel R. Dawson
Valentine Camp
1016 Mt. Morrison Road
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
Phone: 805-893-5698

Valentine Camp Website

Mono County, on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada in the town of Mammoth Lakes.
Google Map

Housing for 16 in three renovated cabins w/ modern cooking, sleeping, bathroom facilities; electricity; Internet; spring water; limited parking/storage space; new log classroom building; supplies available in neighboring Mammoth Lakes; single lab space, dormitory space for class groups (up to 25) and extensive lab facilities available at SNARL.

Plant List
Synoptic collections of plants/insects available at SNARL and UCSB; bibliography of publications based on on-site research; aerial photos.

VESR staff reserve manager located at SNARL; year-round resident caretaker at Valentine Camp.

62 hectares (154 acres)

2,437 to 2,605 m (7,994 to 8,545 ft.)

Average Precipitation
51 to 64 cm (20 to 25 in.) per year.

Average Temperature
July maximum: 28ºC (82ºF)
January minimum: -10ºC (14ºF)

© Regents of the University of California.