Lands Pass Program Coming Soon to the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve
By Kelly O’Reilly, California Department of Fish and Wildlife Land Manager

What? New Lands Pass Program and Visitor Fees at Bolsa Chica

Why? The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) was required to expand the Lands Pass Program by a statute that was adopted by the legislature a few years ago. New regulations pertaining to the Lands Pass Program include the following subsections of Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations:

• 550(b)(8): ““Lands Pass” is defined as a proof of payment of a fee for entry for authorized uses other than hunting that is required of visitors who are not carrying a valid hunting, fishing or trapping license on Department lands listed in subsections 551(w) and 630(c).” (Note: Section 551(w) pertains to Wildlife Areas and Section 630(c) pertains to Ecological Reserves (see below).

• 630(c): “Ecological Reserves That Require a Daily or Annual Lands Pass for Authorized Uses other than Hunting: Pursuant to subsection 550(c) and 550.5(c) of these regulations, it shall be unlawful for a visitor to enter any ecological reserve or portion thereof listed in this section without carrying a valid Lands Pass or a valid hunting, fishing, or trapping license on their person. A Lands Pass must be purchased in advance. Information on how to purchase a Lands Pass and exceptions to this requirement are provided in subsection 550.5(c).” (Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve is listed in this section.)

Currently, the majority of funding used to manage CDFW lands is generated from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses. Other funding sources are shrinking. The expansion of the Lands Pass Program will generate additional revenue from all types of visitors in support of the lands they appreciate.

When? On January 1, 2018, Lands Pass signs will be posted in each of the public parking lots on the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve.

Who must buy and carry a Lands Pass?
All visitors except the following:

  • Everyone under 16-years of age;
  • School (pre-school through grade 12 and college) classes or youth groups, including accompanying adults;
  • Any researcher carrying a valid Access Letter allowing them to conduct research on the reserve;
  • Visitors carrying a valid California fishing or hunting license in their own name; and,
  • Volunteers while they are working on the property.

How much?

  • Daily Lands Pass: $4.32
  • Annual Lands Pass: $24.33

How to purchase a Lands Pass?

The nearest license counter to the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve is the Los Alamitos Field Office, located at 4665 Lampson Avenue, Suite C, Los Alamitos, CA 90720. The license counter is open Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 11:30am and 12:30pm to 4:30pm. The phone number is (562) 342-7100. For more information about the Lands Pass Program, please go to