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Wildlife & Habitat

Howard County’s rich farm­land and abun­dant forests cre­ate an ideal set­ting that nat­u­rally attracts a vari­ety of wildlife. Over 150 species of birds, fish, mam­mals, plants, and rep­tiles call this area home. Pre­serv­ing the envi­ron­ment while pro­tect­ing the safety of all of its res­i­dents (humans, ani­mals, and plants) is a del­i­cate bal­ance, but vital to the pro­tec­tion of our land and its inhabitants.

Mid­dle Patux­ent Envi­ron­men­tal Area
Howard County Depart­ment of Recre­ation and Parks man­ages the 1,021-acre Mid­dle Patux­ent Envi­ron­men­tal Area (MPEA) in coop­er­a­tion with the Mid­dle Patux­ent Envi­ron­men­tal Foun­da­tion. This nat­ural area con­tains a diver­sity of habi­tat types. The upland and bot­tom­land hard­wood for­est, fields, wet­lands, ponds, and ripar­ian (river­ine) habi­tats are home to a diver­sity of wildlife, includ­ing an impres­sive list of about 150 species of birds, over 40 species of mam­mals, and numer­ous amphib­ians, rep­tiles, fishes, but­ter­flies, plants and other wildlife. The pri­mary com­po­nents of the MPEA’s mis­sion are nat­ural resource con­ser­va­tion, envi­ron­men­tal edu­ca­tion, research, and pas­sive recre­ation. The area is man­aged using ecosys­tem man­age­ment con­cepts to restore and pro­tect the diver­sity of com­mu­ni­ties found in this region. Five and one-half miles of hik­ing trails, with two inter­pre­tive nature trail brochures, give vis­i­tors an oppor­tu­nity to enjoy and learn about the area.

To find out more about MPEA pro­grams and man­age­ment activ­i­ties, con­tact MPEA Nat­ural Resources Man­ager, Cheryl Far­faras at 410−313−4726 or email cfarfaras@howardcountymd.gov.

Other Envi­ron­men­tal Areas
Howard County has a num­ber of sites des­ig­nated as envi­ron­men­tal areas. These are sites where no sports or orga­nized ath­letic activ­i­ties are allowed. They were set aside for the pur­pose of pro­tect­ing and con­serv­ing the nat­ural resources and are there for the enjoy­ment of those who take plea­sure in pas­sive recre­ational activ­i­ties such as walking/hiking, bird watch­ing, plant and ani­mal iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, pho­tog­ra­phy, etc. They all fea­ture walk­ing paths or trails and offer a broad vari­ety of habi­tats and ecosys­tems for your view­ing plea­sure. None of the sites have restroom facilities.

David Force Stream Val­ley Park
This park is a 221-acre nat­ural resource area that is rel­a­tively undis­turbed. This area is allowed to remain as an impor­tant forested area to pro­tect water qual­ity, pro­vide habi­tat for wildlife, and sup­port recre­ational hik­ing and nature obser­va­tion. Check out the web­page for more infor­ma­tion and Trail Map.

Font Hill Wet­lands Park
This envi­ron­men­tal edu­ca­tion park fea­tures mostly open and lightly wooded areas, hard sur­faced paths and board­walks, two ponds (fish­ing only at large pond on Cen­ten­nial Lane side of park), obser­va­tion areas, and a stream. (25 acres) Park­ing only on Font Hill Drive side of park.

Patux­ent Branch Trail
Mostly wooded fea­tur­ing a scenic path­way (3.4 miles total) with his­toric inter­pre­tive signs. This sec­tion of path­way con­nects Sav­age to the Lake Elkhorn loop path (hard surfaced).

There are MANY more Howard County parks and trails for you to explore. For a list­ing of parks and envi­ron­men­tal areas, please visit the Howard County Parks Direc­tory. You will find more details about the parks, for­est con­ser­va­tion and wildlife.

Green Tip

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