UC Irvine Reserves
The Burns Pinon Ridge Reserve lies at the westernmost edge of the Mojave Desert, where Joshua trees give way to the pinons and junipers of higher elevations. To the west, the peaks of the San Bernardino Mountains cast a rain-shadow over this boulder-strewn land. Animal communities from the desert and the mountains cross paths at the Burns Reserve. Mountain quail and Gambel's quail, desert and coastal horned lizards, and desert and dusky-footed woodrats live here among the sculpted granite.
A three-hour drive from UC Irvine and two hours from UC Riverside, the Burns Pinon Ridge Reserve is located in the Morongo Basin, just north of the town of Yucca Valley. The 121 hectares (303 acres) contained within this site are protected for research and teaching through the University of California's Natural Reserve System (NRS) and administered by UC Irvine.
Research possibilities at Burns are enriched by this reserve's proximity to a community of natural area research sites throughout the California desert. Directly southeast of Burns is Joshua Tree National Park, more than one-half million acres that encompass parts of both the Mojave and Colorado deserts. The national park and the Burns Reserve share many biophysical elements characteristic of the western Mojave Desert. Opportunities exist for comparative studies between the two sites, as the reserve provides a protected site to extend some kinds of research that may be difficult to conduct in the public park. Three other sites of desert research are also available through the UC Natural Reserve System. Oasis de los Osos, part of the James San Jacinto Mountains Reserve, is a half-hour drive south of the Burns Reserve; the Philip L. Boyd Deep Canyon Desert Research Center is an hour drive south; the Jack and Marilyn Sweeney Granite Mountains Desert Research Center is a two-hour drive east in the Mojave National Preserve.