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.
Title 19 Parkland Rules and Regulations
Be a good witness, if you see something, say something!
Trail and Boater Safety
Staying Safe in our Parks
Remember to limit your distractions, paying attention to where you are and who is around you at all times. Bring a friend or a dog if you plan to recreate on a secluded route and only visit parks during regular operating hours (sunrise to sunset). Make sure you have proper footwear and apparel, water, and any other supplies you may need. If recreating alone, tell someone where you are going and when you should be home.
Lost and Found Children
Free Monthly Guided Hike Series
Discover what our parks system has to offer! Each month, the Park Rangers will host a free guided hike, and provide the opportunity to explore different parks and trails. Each hike will feature a different educational topic, and opportunities to see and learn something new in nature. Adults and children of all ages are welcome. Children under 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult. Well behaved pets are welcome with proof of current rabies vaccination. Please make sure to dress for the weather, wear closed toed shoes, and bring water. If you have questions about the hikes, please email Amy Carpenter-Driscoll at email@example.com or call 410-313-1673.
February - For the Love of Nature!
Saturday 2/15 at 2:00pm
Join us for a brisk afternoon hike at the Wincopin Trails. We'll learn about the winter habits of wildlife, see pieces of history, and observe the beautiful Middle Patuxent River. Our hike will begin promptly at 2:00pm, and last approximately 90 minutes. We'll hike a distance of 2.4 miles along unpaved, natural surface trails, with some up and downhill. This hike is suitable for novice hikers. Wear proper footwear, preferably waterproof with non-slip tread. Wear seasonally appropriate layers, and bring water and snacks as needed.
The Wincopin Trails are located at 9313 Vollmerhausen Rd. in Jessup, MD. An event sign will point you into the parking lot where we will meet. We remind you to secure your valuables in the trunk of your vehicle prior to arriving, or bring them with you on the hike.
March - Macroinvertebrates
Saturday 3/28 at 2:00pm
What's a macroinvertebrate? Where can you find them? Join us at the Savage Mill Trail to learn all about these amazingly important creatures that are so vital to aquatic ecosystems. We'll put your knowledge and netting skills to the test and see if we can catch and observe a few species of macroinvertebrates.
First, we'll enjoy a gentle walk along the Savage Mill Trail, a 1.4 mile, unpaved trail that takes you along the Little Patuxent River. We'll learn about the various species that call the river home, and find out where the river goes. After the walk, we'll put on our wellies, grab our dip nets, and wade into the shallows to try our hands at catching macroinvertebrates.
Dip nets and observation tanks will be provided. Please bring your own rain/muck boots or waders if you are interested in participating in netting. For the hike, dress for the weather and wear close toed shoes. Bring water and snacks as needed. The Savage Mill Trail is located the corner of Foundry St. and Gorman Rd. Parking is available along Foundry St. We'll meet at the trailhead.
Park Watch is an initiative to improve park and visitor safety, increase public ownership of parks, and deter and reduce crime through the combined efforts of trained, passive volunteers, Howard County Park Rangers, and the Howard County Police Department. For more information, visit https://www.howardcountymd.gov/parkwatch.
The Bark Ranger Program encourages dog owner patrons to clean up after their pets and use a leash while visiting Howard County parks. Dog feces that is not picked up is unsightly and also has negative environmental impacts. We encourage you and your pooch to take the pledge and be committed to protecting our environment.
For more information on the Bark Ranger program, call 410-313-1679.
Park Ranger Ride-along
How do I rent a pavilion or field?
To make a rental inquiry, call Recreation & Parks headquarters at 410-313-4700.
How do I register for a camp, program, or event?
You can register online at https://apm.activecommunities.com/howardcounty (an online account is required and may take up to 48 hours to approve). You may also register by phone by calling 410-313-7275 (Monday-Friday, 8am-4:30pm) or via mail to:
Howard County Recreation & Parks
7120 Oakland Mills Road
Columbia, MD 21046
What is HCRP’s policy on drone use in parks?
We ask that you to respect the privacy of others by keeping your drone away from crowds of people, sporting events, or activities with children. Please keep in mind that it is against parkland regulations to interfere with or harass wildlife and other patrons.
Why can’t I feed wildlife?
Feeding wildlife is problematic for many reasons. Animals that become accustomed to handouts from humans can develop unsafe or aggressive behaviors towards people or other animals. Animals that are regularly fed by people may harass park visitors or be struck by vehicles. “People food” given to wildlife has little to no nutritional value to the animals and may result in serious diseases from malnutrition. Lastly, animals that rely on handouts may lose the ability to forage and starve to death during times of year when people and natural food sources are scarcer in parks.
What should you do in the case of a thunderstorm?
Please evacuate the area and head to the closest building or enclosed vehicle. Remember, “When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors”. Do not resume outdoor activities until 30 minutes after until you’ve heard the last roar of thunder.
Where is the best location for fishing in Howard County Parks?
Centennial Park is home to the Centennial Lake, which contains many local freshwater fish species such as brown trout, blue gill, large mouth bass, and others. Other fishing opportunities include Savage Park and the Savage Mill Trail, which are located along the Little Patuxent River.
Do dogs have to be on a leash and are there any Dog Parks in Howard County Recreation and Parks facilities?
The only off-leash dog area is the Worthington Dog Park. In all other parks and facilities, you must keep your dog on a leash and follow the Title 19 rules and regulations while visiting our Parks.
Howard County Police Department
File an online report, check out community programs and opportunities, and get the latest news and updates for crimes and emergencies in Howard County: https://www.howardcountymd.gov/Departments/HOLDPoliceHome
Howard County Fire and Rescue
Learn about fire safety tips, ways to connect, and events in your community:https://www.howardcountymd.gov/Departments/Fire-and-Rescue
Howard County Department of Natural Resources
See rules and regulations, fish stocking and hunting schedules, recent news, state park maps, and upcoming events: http://dnr.maryland.gov/Pages/default.aspx
Contact Maryland DNR Natural Resources Police for emergency of assistance, 24 hours a day: 1-800-628-9944 or 410-260-8888.
Howard County Recreation & Parks
Learn Events, registration, news and programs: https://www.howardcountymd.gov/departments/recreation-and-parks
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