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Columbia MD Lakes Offer Seniors Active Retirement Living

Author: Kevin Schmiterson

Ranked eighth in Money Magazine's "2008 Top 100 Best Places to Live," Columbia, Maryland shines as a place where Howard County's senior community can thrive. Committed to providing both its young residents and senior citizens with a top-quality outdoor experience, Columbia has numerous lakes and ponds, more than 3,500 acres of open space, and ninety miles of trails. Bird watching, fishing, biking, walking and picnicking are just a few of the activities seniors on the go take pleasure in. Here are three popular lakes that offer a range of independent  living activities to suit your lifestyle:

Wilde Lake Park- A 1.46 mile, mostly paved path surrounds this 22-acre man-made lake which flows into Lake Kittamaqundi. Water depths range from 8 feet to 13 feet. Some picnic tables are available by the barn for outings, and there are a few benches on the trail. Handicap access is mostly along the north side. Many kinds of waterfowl have been sighted at the lake, including Yellow-crowned Night-Herons, Red-necked Grebes, Black Terns, and several species of gulls, ducks, geese, and warblers. In early spring flocks of Bonaparte's  Gulls visit the lake.

Lake Elkhorn- A 2.0 mile, paved path surrounds this 37-acre man-made lake, and there are other intersecting trails. Water depths range from 8 feet to 15 feet. The 23 acre park surrounding the lake also contains Fore bay Pond. Fishing is best in the spring before the submerging vegetation becomes too thick. Stocked with trout, the lake also contains bluegill and crappie. Gentle slopes and an easy walking trail offer Columbia seniors a chance to explore the historic Pratt Bridge and enjoy independent living. There is also a fitness circuit trail on the south side of the lake. A  150-person picnic pavilion, a smaller picnic pavilion, scattered tables and benches are other amenities.  Birds such as Greater Scaups, Black Scoters, Pine Siskin, and different species of warblers and flycatchers can be seen in and around the wooded wetland area.

Lake Kittamaqundi- A 3.0 mile, mostly paved trail surrounds this 27-acre man-made body of water. Water depth is approximately 7 feet. Nomanizan Island sits at the north end of the lake and is accessible only by boat. Popular for fishing, the lake holds bass, catfish,  crappie, northern pike, walleye, pan fish and carp. The 12-acre wooded park is handicap accessible. The trail sports a footbridge, a fitness circuit and a few  benches. Rent a boat at the boat dock during the summer months to explore the island. For fun, sail miniature boats. Enjoy a tasty meal at one of several  restaurants located on the west side of the lake. The Lakefront Summer Festival holds free evening concerts and movies throughout the summer for your pleasure.  Host to an abundance of birds, Lake Kittamaqundi visitors can see Snowy Egrets, Rusty Blackbirds, Red Phalaropes, and many varieties of  herons and warblers.

With abundant wildlife, striking scenery and numerous fun activities, Columbia lakes and ponds indisputably enhance the retirement living experience for Howard County seniors.

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