More About Recreation and Parks
When Forbes Magazine announced that Howard County had made its top-20 list of “Best Places to Raise a Family,” they mentioned outstanding parks and recreation programs. Not long after, Money Magazine also ranked Columbia and Ellicott City as one of their “Best Places to Live” and agreed that our open space, parks, lakes and recreational amenities helped earn our spot on the list.
The Howard County Recreation & Parks Department and our full-time and part-time staff of 688 dedicated individuals are proud of our role in enhancing the quality of life of our residents. We are responsible for the stewardship of 8,800 acres of public lands, the maintenance and operation of more than 56 parks, and we present over 5,000 recreation programs that were enjoyed by 106,000 participants in the past year alone. We also enjoyed the involvement of our many volunteers, community members who contributed some 249,658 hours of their time – the equivalent of $5,110,500 in wages and salaries.
Our parks have played host to local, regional and national events like the Columbia Triathlon, Iron Girl Triathlon, Cherrybration, and numerous sports tournaments. We also sponsored events like July 4th Fireworks, Sunset Serenades, Sunday in the Park and Wine in the Woods, which drew a crowd of over 21,000 this year.