The Kern River Preserve is managed by Audubon-California for the preservation of one of California's finest remaining riparian forests and the wildlife it supports. The South Fork Kern River is home to California's largest lowland riparian forest. It is one of four "Flagship Projects" of the California Riparian Habitat Joint Venture. The Kern River Preserve, and environs, was one of the first ten sites in the U.S. to receive "Globally Important Bird Area" recognition. 332 bird species have been recorded here. Most significantly, two hundred species nest here including major breeding populations of Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Summer Tanager, and Willow Flycatcher. The preserve is open from dawn to dusk every day of the year including all holidays.From Bakersfield (1 hour, 58 miles) Take Highway 178 east through the Kern River canyon and past Lake Isabella - continue through the communities of Mountain Mesa and South Lake. The preserve is 1.1 miles beyond the T-intersection of Highway 178 and Sierra Way. On the left is a large sign for Audubon California's Kern River Preserve. Turn left and drive down the dirt road, do not stop or park until you reach the parking area inside the preserve, as the road to the preserve is located on private property.