About Howard County Recreation & Parks

The Howard County Recreation & Parks Department and our full-time and part-time staff of 1,271 dedicated individuals are proud of our role in enhancing the quality of life of our residents. We are responsible for the stewardship of 9,159 acres of public lands, the maintenance and operation of more than 50 parks, and we present over 7,000 recreation programs. We also enjoyed the involvement of our many volunteers, community members who contributed some 123,396 hours of their time – the equivalent of $2,846,745.70 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 sponsor events like July 4th Fireworks, Sunset Serenades, Sunday in the Park and Wine in the Woods, which drew a crowd of over 25,000 this past year.

CAPRA Accreditation

Howard County Recreation & Parks is accredited through the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation

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Agencies (CAPRA). To achieve accreditation, the Department was required to meet 144 standards encompassing all operations contained in leisure services. These professional standards serve as an aid for improving performance and maintaining quality. They provide park and recreation agencies with an ability to evaluate their operation, while achieving and maintaining a level of efficiency and effetiveness. Howard County Recreation & Parks achieved accreditation in 2001 and re-accreditation in 2006 and 2012. Howard County Recreation & Parks is one of only 102 accredited agencies in the United States.
CAPRA recognizes park and recreation agencies for excellence in operation and service. Charged with providing high quality services and experiences, park and recreation agencies across the United States turn to CAPRA Accreditation as a credible and efficient means of achieving these goals, while providing assurance to the public that the agency meets national standards of best practice. CAPRA accredits departments and agencies that provide park and recreation programs and services.
Mission 

To responsibly manage natural resources; provide excellent parks, facilities, and recreation opportunities for the community; and ensure the highest quality of life for current and future generations.

Vision 

The Department of Recreation and Parks strives to deliver recreation and leisure opportunities that will improve the health and well-being of the community and to serve as model stewards of the environment by managing, protecting, and conserving our resources for a sustainable future.

Core Values 

  • Exceptional Customer Service
  • Professionalism
  • Accountability
  • Knowledgeable, Well-trained Staff
  • Teamwork
  • Integrity
  • Trend Setting

View the 2015 Annual Report on our  forms and publications page.