Tidepool Etiquette

Despite Crystal Cove State Park being protected under MPA regulations for a number of years, collecting and other detrimental activities by visitors to our shores continues to occur. This is particularly true for the large number of educational field trips that occur throughout the year. We encourage you to continue to bring classes to the coast and conduct research within our reserves, but please adhere to the following guidelines:

  • If you are taking a class to and/or conducting research within Crystal Cove State Park, you must contact the park manager in a timely fashion (30 days) prior to your visit and fill out the Scientific Collecting Permit.
  • Collecting of any material, live or dead, within Crystal Cove is illegal unless you have a valid Scientific Collecting Permit (SCP) from California State Parks. “Collecting” includes picking up organisms, even if they are returned to the intertidal and not removed from the site. Failure to follow these regulations may result in fines and/or revocation of collection or research privileges in that Marine Protected Area and park.
  • Please note you are still required to notify the ranger station prior to any sampling sessions. Crystal Cove State Park’s ranger station can be reached at 494-494-3539.
  • For tidepool research and field trips, we ask that you and your assistants/students follow general good tidepool etiquette by avoiding any action that may negatively affect the tidepool habitat. Please avoid trampling plants, walking in tidepools, excessively handling organisms, picking up organisms, and overturning rocks as these activities are highly detrimental and may not be allowed under the Marine Protected Areas regulations. We also request that you, as team/class leader, wear clothing that identifies you as a member of your research institution.
  • All collections must directly relate to your permitted research and to the geographical area of focus. Collections authorized under the authority of a scientific collecting permit that are for the purpose of generalized study or classroom lab work must be obtained from outside of Crystal Cove State Park. As a condition of your permit, you must report all findings to the park within one year of your permit being issued in the form of a report, research paper, or other appropriate form. “