MPEA

Middle Patuxent Environmental Area
  • Size: 1,021 acres
  • Habitat: Mostly upland deciduous woods with scattered remnant pines and Middle Patuxent River floodplain; eight-acre warm-season grass meadow; second-growth and edge; steep slopes; several small ponds; an extensive wooded wet area; Cricket Creek plus 16 smaller tributaries; and openings created by sewer lines. Portions are managed for American Woodcock.
  • Best Months: Spring and fall bring the widest variety of species; summer produces a diversity of nesting birds along with numerous species of butterflies and dragonflies.
  • Coverage Time: From an hour or two to a long half day.
  • Trails/Paths: Trails are concentrated in the central section of the property: Wildlife Loop Trail (2.5 miles, with red metal markers), South Wind Trail (2.3 miles, with blue metal markers), and a Connector Trail (0.6 mile, with orange metal markers). The round metal markers are attached to square wooden posts or trees.
  • Notable Birds: Wild Turkey, Mississippi Kite, Merlin, Virginia Rail, American Woodcock, Long-eared Owl, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Alder Flycatcher, Philadelphia Vireo, Black-capped Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Gray-cheeked Thrush, Bicknell's Thrush, Golden-winged Warbler, American Redstart, Prothonotary Warbler, Connecticut Warbler, Mourning Warbler, Summer Tanager, Vesper Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, Red-Crossbill, Pine Siskin.
  • Amenities: A few widely scattered benches along the trails. No restrooms.
  • Handicapped Access: Most of the MPEA is not handicapped-accessible, although a short section at the entrance to each main trail is level and either grass or gravel. Parts of all trails are rough and contain steep slopes; portions along the river may contain standing water after heavy rains. Paved Columbia Association (CA) paths originating in neighborhoods adjoining the MPEA allow some access, but some sections are hilly. Consult a CA pathways map.
  • Operation and Hours: Howard County parkland; dawn to dusk or as posted.
  • Special Attractions: Displaying American Woodcock in early spring; also, a prime county location for migrant and breeding thrushes. The two major trails contain numbered signposts at points of interest keyed to a brochure available at each entrance kiosk.
MPEA thumbnail
Compiler: Ward Ebert

© 2008