Columbia’s lush green acreage is just one of the perks of living in Columbia, where nearly a quarter of the land is protected as open space. The open space provides a place for walking, fishing, bird watching, biking, picnics, family reunions and community fairs, among many other uses.

Columbia Association maintains more than 3,600 acres of Columbia’s open space. This includes more than 114 miles of pathways and sidewalks for walking, biking and jogging; 171 tot lots; 284 footbridges; three manmade lakes; 41 ponds; 34 miles of stream valleys; the 40-acre Symphony Woods; Wilde Lake Park; and the Lake Elkhorn Park and Pavilion. It also includes an extensive network of pedestrian underpasses and overpasses, meadows, forestland, basketball courts, public tennis courts, Town Center and village center plazas located throughout the community.

Maintaining and enhancing these natural and man-made amenities is an enormous task, requiring the expertise and dedication of a diverse team from many different CA divisions, including planners, horticulturists, a landscape architect, and land management and construction specialists.

Columbia Association’s Open Space Management team plans, develops, manages and maintains Columbia’s impressive green spaces. In addition, some villages have an Open Space Committee, made up of community volunteers, who assist CA in managing the appearance of the village’s open spaces. Click here to take survey

Residents can help protect the open space. If you see downed or hazardous trees, vandalism or illegal dumping, or notice facilities that need attention, contact the open space office at 410-312-6330.

Need help navigating the pathways?

Download an electronic version of our pathways map here.

Exploring Columbia on Foot

Columbia Association’s (CA) series of outdoor walks return in 2019 with 11 days of exploring the lakes, streams, woodlands, and wildlife of Columbia.

“Exploring Columbia on Foot” will once again be led by award-winning environmental author Ned Tillman, who will guide discussions on the nature, history, and future of these wonderful outdoor settings, including the plans for them and challenges they may face in the near future. Each walk will be about two miles long, with four to five stops along the way.

The walks will be held on nine Thursdays and two Saturdays from April through November. Click here for the full schedule.

Tot Lot Renovations

Columbia Association has removed swing set frames from several tot lots due to the frames no longer meeting safety standards for continued service. Over time, CA will replace these swing sets so that kids and families can fully — and safely — enjoy the more than 160 tot lots in our community.

Click here for a list of affected tot lots.

Attention Dog Owners

Following a winter weather (snow/ice) event, CA uses both snowplows and de-icers to maintain pathway accessibility. Since many of CA’s pathways are used by children to walk to school on an as-needed basis, CA applies road salt (sodium chloride) on sections of the pathways, especially where there are steep slopes and heavy shade. Sodium chloride is effective in melting snow and ice and cost-effective in the quantities that CA must purchase it.

Please be mindful of this and avoid pathways where there is visible salt or carry your dogs, if necessary, in areas where there is salt remaining on the pathway, as sodium chloride can be harmful to pets when they attempt to lick it off of their paws.


Columbia Association’s mission is to make Columbia an even better place for residents to live, work and play and in support of this, Columbia Association (CA) maintains more than 3,600 acres of Columbia’s open space.

CA invites you to “get lost” in Columbia, where lush green acreage is just one of the perks of living here. Nearly a quarter of the land is protected as open space by Columbia Association, preserved for residents to explore its more than 94 miles of pathways; nearly twenty miles of sidewalks for walking, biking and jogging; three manmade lakes and 41 ponds; or for hiking through its 34 miles of stream valleys.

CA’s open space also includes an extensive network of pedestrian underpasses and overpasses, meadows, forestland, basketball courts, public tennis courts, and the Town Center and village center plazas located throughout the community.

If you plan on exploring CA’s open space, or boating or fishing on one of its lakes, please read and/or download the applicable information, rules, regulations and forms below.