Please check our main Recreation & Parks webpage for all updates. 
Please call our inclement weather lines about the status of camps, programs, events, facilities, and parks: www.howardcountymd.gov/inclementweatherlines.

Park Rangers

Mission Statement

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. 

 

Safety and Reporting

Title 19 Parkland Rules and Regulations

Reporting 
Be a good witness, if you see something, say something!

  • In case of an emergency, dial 911.
  • Park Ranger Duty Phone (7am-10:30pm): 410-245-1410
  • 24/7 DIRT Tip line: 410-313-3478
  • "Tell HoCo" mobile application

Trail and Boater Safety
Securing Valuables 

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

Outreach and Educational Programs

Important Healthy and Safety Information- COVID-19

Howard County Park Rangers are committed to ensuring the safety of our park patrons. In accordance with the CDC’s recommendation and Howard County’s Health Department, all Ranger led events will require face covering for participants and Rangers. Adequate social distancing (minimum of 6ft between each person) will be practiced at all time during each event. Sanitation equipment will be provided, and materials handled by participants will be limited and disinfected.

If you plan on attending an event and experience flu-like symptoms, please stay home. If you are having a medical emergency, please call 911.

See below links for more information:

https://www.howardcountymd.gov/Departments/COVID-19-Coronavirus-Countywide-Updates

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/visitors.html

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 acarpenter@howardcountymd.gov or call 410-313-1673.

 

September- Watershed and Wildlife   

Sunday 9/13/2020 at 10:00am

Savage Mill Trail, intersection of Foundry street and Gorman road 

Explore the Savage Mill Trail with your local Park Rangers! Learn about the waterways that flow into Maryland’s iconic Chesapeake Bay. Discover bugs, birds, and fish that call the rivers and bay home while enjoying a morning hike! This semi-paved trail is accessible for adventurous hikers of all ages. Meet at the trailhead. Remember to bring water, sunscreen, bug spray, and good walking shoes. This is a free event.

 

October- Signs of Fall   

Sunday 10/11/2020 at 2:00pm

Wincopin Trailhead, 9313 Vollmerhausen Rd, Jessup, MD 20794

Explore this unique section of the Patuxent Branch Trail with your local Park Rangers! Be on the lookout for the first signs of fall! Learn about local wildlife and how they react to the change of seasons while enjoying a 2.5 mile afternoon hike. The trails are not paved but ideal for adventurous hikers of all ages. Meet in the parking lot near the information kiosk. Remember to bring water, sunscreen, bug spray, and good walking shoes. This is a free event.

 

November- Fall Foliage   

Monday 11/2/2020 at 9:00am 

Savage Mill Trail, intersection of Foundry street and Gorman road

Bring your camera and morning coffee to explore the Savage Mill Trail with your local Park Rangers! Discover the hisory of Historic Savage Mill and view the ruins along the river. Enjoy the vibrant fall colors and learn about trees that make them! Start your day off with this 1.8 mile hike on semi-paved trail that's great for hikers of all ages. Meet at the trailhead. Remember to bring water, sunscreen, bug spray, and good walking shoes. This is a free event.

 

Campfire with a Ranger

Saturday 9/12/2020 at 7:30pm

Savage Park, 8400 Fair Street, Savage MD, 20763

Join our Park Rangers and Robinson Nature Center Educators for a fun evening around a crackling fire! Get a glimpsse of parks after dark, and learn the basics of fire safety. Educators and Rangers will share nature campfire stories and everyone will enjoy s'mores! Bring a blanket and your bug spray!

Fee $10.00 per person. $25.00 for a family up to five members, call to register for family rate. 

Click here to sign up! 

 

Spooky Owl Prowl

Saturday 10/17/2020 at 7:30pm

Western Regional Park, 14800 Carrs Mill Road, Woodbine MD, 21723

Whooo is making spooky sounds in the forest? Join our Park Rangers and Robinson Nature Center Educators for a fun and interactive evening program. Learn about Maryland's native owls, their life history, habits, and haunting legends/ folklore inspired by these amazing birds. This Halloween inspired event is great for all ages! Wear seasonally-appropriate layers, good walking shoes, and bring a headlamp or flashlight, and water.

Fee $10.00 per person. $25.00 for a family up to five members, call to register for family rate.

Click here to sign up! 

 

Park Watch
Park Watch is an initiative to improve park and visitor safety, increase public ownership of parks, and connect volunteers with conservation efforts in their local parks. For more information, click here. 

Bark Ranger
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
Application
Volunteer form

FAQ's

How do I rent a pavilion or field?
To make a rental inquiry, call Recreation & Parks headquarters at 410-313-4700. You can also click here to reserve a pavilion online. 

How do I register for a camp, program, or event?
You can register online by clicking here (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.

Information Resources

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