Mission: To enhance the park patrons experience by providing quality customer service and information related to park safety, amenities, resources, and regulations while protecting the environment.
For more information, visit https://www.howardcountymd.gov/parkrangers
The Natural Resources Division of the Howard County Department of Recreation & Parks performs all inspections and enforcement of post-development forest conservation easements in Howard County. With the passing of the Howard County Forest Conservation Act in 1993 development regulations now require consideration of forest resources and the creation of forest conservation easements during most development projects. Inspections staff within the Natural Resources Division verify forest conservation easements are in compliance with project-specific requirements during the development phase and enforce restrictions on certain types of activities and land use within easements after development is complete. For further information, please refer to the links below or email Scott Bowen or call 410-313-3723 to discuss any questions or to report a possible violation of the Howard County Forest Conservation Act.
The Creation and Granting of Easements
The Need for Inspections
Recommendations for Project Success
Forest Conservation Brochure
Please contact Brenda Luber for information regarding the submittal and review process for forest conservation and landscaping plans or to schedule an inspection of a forest conservation or landscaping project.
Natural Resource Compliance, Public Outreach and Open Space Acceptance
The Natural Resource office conducts tasks related to natural resource compliance, public outreach and open space acceptance. They respond and follow up on all complaints and inquiries related to natural resource issues on County owned Open Space. Issues include: evaluating hazardous trees; enforcing regulations such as encroachments, i.e., fences, sheds and other structures; and investigating the illegal clearing of parkland. The staff also attends public meetings and informative sessions to relay the Department’s mission in managing Open Space and other Natural Resources lands. This includes disseminating and explaining Parkland Rules and Regulations. For more information on these topics or to report a natural resource violation email Charlie Peregoy or call 410-313-1678.
Check out our Open Space Fact Finder
What is Open Space?
Open space refers to land that have been set aside through the development process as conservation areas and are deeded over to the County by the developer of a subdivision. You will find open space areas in nearly every community in the County built after the 1970's. The land usually contains environmentally sensitive areas such as wetlands, woodlands meadows riparian areas, etc. The conservation of such areas is important because they lessen the impact of development, provide critical wildlife habitat and are often part of natural greenways that are crucial in today’s fragmented environment. The Department currently manages over 3,300 acres of such land.
Why Can't I Alter or Use the Open Space Behind My Home?
These open space areas are public lands and not intended for the personal use of adjoining property owners nor to serve as lawns, storage areas, gardens or playgrounds. Their purpose is for environmental protection and conservation.
The enforcement of regulations consists of issuing warning notices and civil citations to gain compliance. However, the Department’s approach is to try and gain voluntary compliance through education and restoration versus issuance of citations and fines. The final component of this unit is to conduct inspections and provide expertise and site analysis for lands being considered for ownership by the County. This includes Open Space dedication as well as properties being purchased in fee simple. These inspections insure that the lands coming to County ownership are in a safe, clean condition.