Research Projects

Research can be an exciting and dynamic part of academia (if you are a King High School or Arlington High School student, make sure to scroll down to the second half of the post).  Riverside is fortunate to have so many universities and we often receive questions about conducting research in the park.  We encourage research and academic achievement, however, because we are a preserve, there are a few rules and regulations to bear in mind. Please visit HERE for the municipal codes.

Approval must be sought if the research in question involves:

  • leaving items in the park
  • removing specimens from the park

Approval is not needed if the research in question:

  • only requires that you walk into the park and look at or take photos of specimens

Please remember: any collection is prohibited without permission. 

Visitors often want to collect flowers for personal uses such as pressing or as bouquets.  However, we ask everyone to please respect the law and refrain from collecting plants.  Flowers are the reproductive organs of plants, and if you take the flowers, you take the seeds with you.  This will deplete our seed bank and result in less flowers and plants next year.

To request a permit to collect or do research in the park, please contact the Parks team at  The team will direct you to provide the required information in order to have your proposal for research considered.  Projects are approved at the discretion of the Parks Division within the City of Riverside’s Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department.  Submission of a request for a permit is not a guarantee that permission will be granted.


King High School Honors Biology Students and Arlington High School Students:
If you are an honors biology student at King High School or a student at Arlington High School and have a plant project, you are free to come in and speak with staff about the various plants that exist in the park.  Because your project does not require collecting specimens, you do not need to apply for a research permit.  Here are a few FAQs that we often get that may help as you prepare to complete your project:

  • Can I schedule a tour for you to take me into the park and provide locations of the plants?
    • Unfortunately, we do not schedule tours for this project.  Our tours are reserved for school field trips and or organizations of special interest clubs and are not focused on botany.  For this project, you are free to join us on our regularly scheduled guided hikes that are open to the public.  Hikes occur every first Sunday of the month at 9 a.m. but are subject to cancellation due to inclement weather. Please be aware that hikes provide general park info and do not cover botany or plant specifics.

  • Can you identify plants for me?
    • No, unfortunately we can not identify plants for you.  Staff are here to help guide you, however we do not have botanists or biologists on staff.  Our staff are Parks, Recreation and Community Service Recreation Leaders and often do not possess the correct academic background for this project.  They can give you some basics, but please come in knowing what you are looking for.
  • Are the plants labeled?
    • No, because we are a wilderness preserve and not a botanical garden, our plants are not labeled and are allowed to grow wild where their seeds fall. 
  • Can you tell me where this specific plant is?
    • We do not know the specific locations of plants in the park.  As we are a wilderness preserve, the City allows the park to grow wild and does not keep track of where the plants grow.  
  • Do you have materials that I can check out to use while I look for plants? 
    • Field guides are available for your reference inside of the center.  Unfortunately, we do not have enough copies to check out to visitors for them to take outside with them.  To guarantee that all visitors have access, field guides always remain inside of the center.

As you head into the park, we ask that you remember these few rules for your safety as well as for the benefit of the park:

  • Please do not pick up snakes, stick your hands down holes, or walk where vegetation covers your feet.  While the park only has one venomous species of snake, the others will bite if they feel threatened.  Staying on the trails where you can see your feet ensures that you will not accidentally startle a snake that you did not see.
  • Please do not pick plants or remove anything from the park.  We are a preserve, and everything inside of our park is protected.  Removing or harming anything is illegal, and removing flowers depletes our seed bank and will result in less plants and flowers for next year.
  • Please stay on the trails and do not walk into field areas.  We understand that you are in search of plants, however many of our organisms in the park live in these areas, including the endangered Stephen’s kangaroo rat.  We ask that you stay on trails to prevent damaging their habitats.  

Good luck with your projects!