The California Department of Fish and Game has scheduled a variety of programs and activities throughout the month of December and beyond, with many special events occurring throughout the state on the weekends.
Following is a listing of some unique outdoor opportunities.
Saturdays: Tundra Swan Tours at District 10, a 23,000-acre expanse of privately owned rice fields and restored habitat in Yuba County, north of Marysville. The free tours are led by naturalists and last about two hours. Tours for up to 30 people are held from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Registration is required at www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/2/swan-tours. For more information, call (916) 358-2869 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Weekends: Sandhill Crane Wetland Tours. Docent-led public tours are offered at Woodbridge Ecological Reserve the first three Saturdays and Sundays of each month through February. The reserve is located just west of Lodi and offers managed wetland habitat that attracts the sandhill cranes each year. Tours begin two hours before sundown. Visitors can register for tours up to eight weeks in advance online at www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/3/crane-tour. Self-guided tours, highlighted by a set of interpretive panels, also are available at the Woodbridge Ecological Reserve South Unit, 11154 W Woodbridge Road, Lodi.
Weekends: Gray Lodge Wildlife Area Tours. 12:30 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays through Feb. 5, 3207 Rutherford Road, Gridley. The 90-minute walking tour covers slightly more than one-half mile through a premier birding spot that highlights migratory waterfowl and other wetland wildlife. No reservations are necessary for groups of less than 20 people. The day use fee is $4.32 for visitors 16 and older who do not have a valid annual CDFW pass or California sport fishing, hunting or trapping license. There is no additional cost for the tour. Tours are canceled in heavy rain. For more information, call (530) 846-7505 or email email@example.com.
Weekends: Elkhorn Slough Ecological Reserve Tours. Volunteers lead walks every Saturday and Sunday, at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Binoculars and bird books are available for the public to borrow at no cost. The visitor center and main overlook are fully accessible. The day use fee is $4.32 for visitors 16 and older who do not have a valid annual CDFW pass or California sport fishing, hunting or trapping license. Groups of five or should notify staff that they are coming and groups of 10 or more can request a separate tour. For more information, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/lands/places-to-visit/elkhorn-slough-er.
Various Days: Gray Lodge Guided Wetland Tours, by reservation, 3207 Rutherford Road, Gridley. A wildlife naturalist will lead any group, school or organization on a half-mile route through the diverse wetlands of the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area. General information includes wildlife identification, behavior patterns and conservation efforts. Tours can be customized to include requested information. The minimum group size is 18 people. For more information, call (530) 846-7505 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Various Days: Nimbus Hatchery Fish Ladder in Operation, at Nimbus Hatchery, 2001 Nimbus Road, Rancho Cordova. In December, the public can view the ladder and spawning operations at the Nimbus Hatchery Visitor Center. For more information, contact Laura Drath at (916) 358-2884 or email@example.com, or visit www.facebook.com/nimbushatchery.
Various Days: Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Access Permit Application Deadline for Multiple Hunting Opportunities. Wild pig, deer, bear, turkey, dove and quail hunts are available through the SHARE program. A $10.50 non-refundable application fee (plus handling fees) will be charged for each hunt choice. For more information, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/share