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Lake Calavera Preserve

Preserve manager: Center for Natural Lands Management (CNLM); owned by the City of Carlsbad

Preserve management plan: CNLM 2011; includes all city-owned preserves

Major threats: Heavy recreational use, including unauthorized trail blazing and vandalism to signs, invasive species

Current/ongoing management activities: Installation of fencing, signage, informational kiosks, invasive species removal, sensitive species surveys, public education and outreach, coordination with city Parks & Recreation Department's Trails Master Plan.

The Carlsbad Highland Ecological Reserve is owned by the State of California and was acquired to protect native plants and special habitats. Carlsbad Highland Ecological Reserve was designated as an Ecological Reserve by the Fish and Game Commission in 2000 and is under the jurisdiction of California Department of Fish and Wildlife.  Allowable uses in the reserve are defined at the state level, not the local level.  

The city’s Lake Calavera Trail Guide notes that the access roads through California Department of Fish and Wildlife land allows only for pedestrian use. No other pedestrian trails are authorized on the reserve property. The guide map reflects the boundary of the city-owned Lake Calavera Preserve and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife owned Carlsbad Highlands Ecological Reserve. This guide is available on the city website and at city facilities. 

Ecological Reserves are a specific type of preserve where mountain biking is prohibited per Sections 550 (bb) and 630 (g), Title 14, California Code of Regulations. Changing land uses on Ecological Reserves to allow mountain biking could have state-wide precedent setting effects. City of Carlsbad staff may not issue citations or perform enforcement in the reserve since it is not under the city’s jurisdiction.  Access roads through California Department of Fish and Wildlife land allows only for pedestrian use. No other pedestrian trails are authorized on the reserve property.  

More information
Map of Lake Calavera Preserve and Vicinity
Carlsbad Highland Ecological Reserve
City of Carlsbad Draft Trails Master Plan
Lake Calavera Trail Guide