History

Lake Elkhorn, in the Village of Owen Brown is a 37 acre lake on the Elkhorn Branch of the Little Patuxent River. George Harold Dasher for whom the neighborhood of Dasher Green is named, lived all his life in Howard County, farming the land with his brothers at Elkhorn Farms. The new lake, park and arboretum derive their name from the original Dasher farm.

Lake Elkhorn was created in 1974 by building an earth filled dam, which impounds 225 acre feet of water drawing from a watershed of about 2500 acres. A concrete spillway at one side of the dam permits controlled overflow. At the head of the lake, in what was a marsh, a silt pond with a filter dike was formed. In a cove at the lake's edge, near the Owen Brown Village Center is a major small boat dock which provides boaters with access to the lake.

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Dedication

Warren Raymond (1947-2005)

This arboretum is dedicated to a friend of both the Howard County Forestry Board and of the Columbia Association. An avid musician and gardener Warren studied at Longwood Gardens to become a Certified Tree Expert and, working for the Columbia Association, became the Assistant Division Director for Open Space. Warren joined the Howard County Forestry Board in 2000 and helped with the planning of this arboretum at Lake Elkhorn. He is fondly remembered by all who knew and worked with him. 

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On Saturday, April 23, 2005, Maggie Brown, President of the Columbia Association, and Steve Parker, Chairperson for the Howard County Forestry Board, opened the dedication ceremonies at the lake.

Jim Vannoy, representing Jim Robey, the Howard County Executive, presented to Terry Raymond a certificate of appreciation for Warren Raymond's many years of service to the citizens of Howard County and to the Columbia Association.

Chairman of the County Council, Guy Guzzone was present to give an uplifting speech about the importance of trees in the County, and of the importance of the Forestry Board's 'Arboreta without Walls' project. 

Assisting with the ribbon cutting were Doug Raymond, Chick Rhodehammil, Terry Raymond, Maggie Brown, Pearl Atkinson-Stewart, Guy Guzzone, Jan Clark, Andy Stack, and Jim Vannoy. 

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Trees at Lake Elkhorn

As a recreational facility in Columbia, Lake Elkorn has a fine collection of both native and exotic trees and shrubs. Many of the trees below are linked to its Arbor Tag which describes the distinguishing features of the species. Those pages can be used to make your own laminated tree tags.

Hazel Alder Alnus serrulata
Green Ash Fraxinus pennsylvanica
White Ash Fraxinus americana
Bald Cypress Taxodium distichum
American Beech Fagus grandifolia
River Birch Betula nigra
Boxelder Acer negundo
Red Cedar Juniperus virginiana
Black Cherry Prunus serotina
Sweet Cherry Prunus avium
Crabapple Malus coronaria
Crapemyrtle Lagerstroemia indica
Dogwood Cornus florida
Kousa Dogwood Cornus kousa
Redosier Dogwood Cornus sericea
White Fringetree Chionanthus virginicus
Blackgum Nyssa sylvatica
Washington Hawthorn Crataegus phaenopyrum
Hemlock Tsuga canadensis
Mockernut Hickory Carya tomentosa
Pignut Hickory Carya glabra
American Hornbeam Carpinus caroliniana
Black Locust Robina pseudoacacia
Honey Locust Gleditsia triacanthos
Red Maple Acer rubrum
Silver Maple Acer saccharinum
White Mulberry Morus alba
Black Oak Quercus velutina
Pin Oak Quercus palustris
Red Oak Quercus rubra
White Oak Quercus alba
Autumn Olive Elaeagnus umbellata
Virginia Pine Pinus virginiana
London Plane Tree Platanus x acerifolia
Purple Plum Prunus cerasifera
Norway Spruce Picea abies
Sweetgum Liquidambar styraciflua
Sycamore Platanus occidentalis
Tulip Poplar Liriodendron tulipifera
Black Walnut Juglans nigra
Black Willow Salix nigra
White Willow Salix alba

Focus

Much of the landscape at Lake Elkhorn has been left in its natural state, yet there are over fifty different species of trees around the lake path.

Sometimes called a "Blue Beech", a key feature of the Hornbeam is its beech-like blue-gray smooth bark.It is often a short shrubby tree with strangely muscular or twisted trunks and branches. These twists evolve into vertical ridges.

While related to the birches, not the beeches, the Hornbeam has a beech-like leaf which is pointed and has striking parallel veins. The main difference is that the Hornbeam leaf is doubly serrated with teeth not only at the end of the veins, but between as well.

The flowers are catkins found along the branches, not at the tip like the Hop-Hornbeam. The fruit is a small seed borne on distinctive 3-lobed bracts.

This muscle-bound looking tree has a leaf and flower similar to the Hop-Hornbeam, but the bark and trunk of the Blue Beech are dead giveaways. In autumn the American Hornbeam will turn red-orange and scarlet while the Hop-Hornbeam changes to a clear yellow.

Location

Lake Elkhorn is located off of Broken Land Parkway in the Owen Brown Village of Columbia. See Google Maps for directions.