General Regulations for California Recreation Areas

On this page, you’ll find an alphabetical summary of regulations for visiting California recreation areas. For area-specific rules, regulations, and procedures, link to our summary of individual locations:

  1. Auburn State Recreation Area
  2. Franks Tract State Recreation Area
  3. Harry A. Merlo State Recreation Area
  4. Lake Oroville State Recreation Area
  5. Lake Perris State Recreation Area
  6. Perris Reservoir State Recreation Area
  7. Picacho State Recreation Area
  8. Providence Mountains State Recreation Area
  9. San Luis Reservoir State Recreation Area



  1. Control: all animals must be under the person’s immediate control
  2. Public nuisance: noisy, vicious, disturbing, or dangers animals are not allowed and must be removed upon request by a peace officer
  3. Release: in general, animals may not be turned loose

(Also see “Cats” and “Dogs” below) [14 CCR § 4312(a) – (c)]



During the night, cats must remain inside a tent, camper, or enclosed vehicle. (Also see “Animals” above) [14 CCR § 4312(d)]



  1. Dog and pet restrictions

    Use of dogs

    Authorized areas: in general, dogs are only allowed in campgrounds, picnic areas, roads, structures, or in areas posted within the unit.

  2. Beaches: In general, dogs are not allowed on any beach adjacent to any body of water
  3. Control: dogs are NOT allowed to run loose and must either be (a) on a leash of no more than six feet and under immediate control of a person or (b) confined in a vehicle.
  4. Hunting: in areas where hunting is allowed, hunting dogs are also allowed
  5. Overnight: dogs must remain either inside a tent, camper, or enclosed vehicle.
  6. Public nuisances: noisy, vicious, or dangerous dogs—or one that is disturbing other people—are NOT allowed and must be removed upon request by a peace officer
  7. Release: dogs must not be released in a SRA except with written authorization.

(Also see “Animals” above) [14 CCR § 4312(a) – (g)]



California rules and regulations for using bikes or bicycles on national wildlife refuges, State wildlife areas, and State ecological reserves while while hunting for ducks and geese (scaup, brant, Canada geese, dark geese, snow geese, white-fronted geese, specklebellies, white geese); migratory game birds (doves, pigeon, snipe, waterfowl) resident small game birds (grouse, pheasant, ptarmigan, quail, turkey), resident small game (jackrabbit, rabbit, squirrel), big game (antelope, bear, deer, elk, pig, sheep), non-game (coyotes, crow, fox, raccoon), and/or fishing (bullfrogging, commercial fishing, crayfishing, crawfishing and sport fishing)

Use of bikes

In general, fish and bait may be taken for recreational—but not commercial—purposes. [14 CCR § 4305(b)]



When hunting is authorized and conducted in a lawful manner, area-specific regulations  supersede these general rules (see list above). [14 CCR § 4305(c)]



A bulletin board or similar device must be posted at (1) the district headquarters, (2) the unit affected, and (3) in a location convenient for the general public, with any special instructions and orders, e.g. hours of operation, swimming and boating restrictions, hunting and camping restrictions. [14 CCR 4301(i)]



In general, the recreational gathering of stones and minerals found occurring naturally on the undisturbed surface of the land, including panning for gold in the natural water-washed gravel of streams is allowed under the following conditions:

  1. Beaches: only allowed on beaches within the wave action zones or gravel bars subject to annual flooding on streams
  2. Boating Areas: NOT allowed
  3. Gold Panning: goldpans are allowed and waters must not be muddied beyond 20 feet
  4. Indian Artifacts: NOT allowed, e.g. arrowheads and stone tools
  5. Posting: Rockhounding is allowed only in units or portions of units that are properly posted (see “Notice” above)
  6. Swimming Areas: NOT allowed
  7. Tools: NOT allowed except for gold panning with goldpans
  8. Weight Restrictions: each day, no person may take more than (a) one specimen and/or (b) 15 pounds of mineralogical material from any one unit

[14 CCR §§ 4301 and 4611]



California rules and regulations for hunting raccoon on national wildlife refuges, State wildlife areas, and/or State ecological reserves

Raccoon Hunting

Spotlights are not allowed on any kind of animal or fish. [14 CCR § 4305(a)]



  1. Protection: in general, it’s illegal to disturb, feed, harm, hunt, injure, kill, net, poison, spotlight, take, tease, touch, trap, or any kind of animal or fish (see “Fishing” and “Hunting” above).
  2. Feeding: it’s illegal to feed any wildlife or feral animal listed on a notice, provided the notice is properly posted by the DNR (see “Notice” above). [14 CCR § 4305(e)]
  3. Release: in general, it’s illegal to release any animal except under his or her immediate control.

[14 CCR § 4305(a), (b)]



One Response to General Regulations for California Recreation Areas

  1. Pingback: Public Target Practice Areas in California | Legal Labrador

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