Discovering Lake Kittamaqundi

One day while I was out at the Columbia Lakefront on Lake Kittamaqundi, I started walking around the lake. Well, I tried to walk around the lake, but I discovered that the path ends. I found that a bit surprising, so I did a bit of digging around for information and I discovered some interesting things.

First, I discovered the lake was named after the first native American settlement in Howard County and, in this tribe’s language, Kittamaqundi means “meeting place.” It seems very fitting, indeed, for this lake as that’s exactly what it is: a meeting place. This is where you will find the People Tree, a boardwalk for walking, a gazebo with seating and restaurants with outdoor seating. It’s also a place where a ton of the Columbia Association (CA) events are held, events such as movies, concerts and dance lessons, open mic contests and more. It’s also where Howard County shoots off the 4th of July fireworks.

Next, I learned that there used to be a little island in the lake called Nomanisan Island. That is so cute! It was named in a naming contest the Columbia Association ran in 1980. It’s from No Man Is An Island by John Dunne. I asked about Lake Kittamaqundi and that island when I was talking with Chick Rhodehamel, CA’s environmental manager. He told me that the island was made into a peninsula during the dredging in 2011.

Chick explained that during the dredging project in 2011, wetlands were created in the north end of the lake as part of CA’s ecological preservation plan by building two peninsulas; one peninsula being the former Nomanisan Island. These wetlands were made for water filtration and habitat for wildlife, but also they slow the water movement in the lake, which might mean when future dredging is needed it might be possible to limit dredging just to the wetlands area of the lake instead of needing to dredge the whole lake. (That’s a big money-saver for CA and, by definition, for the assessment-fee paying property owners on CA-assessed land.)

As a consequence of creating the narrowing of the lake with the two peninsulas, there is now a possibility to connect the paths on either side of the lake. This would allow the wetlands to remain undisturbed while also allowing people to make a loop around the lake.

I saw evidence of this proposal when I went to the Connecting Columbia meeting in May. Can’t wait until it’s completed so I can add this loop to my list of pretty walks on Columbia’s pathways.


Melissa Sinclair works in the Communications & Engagement Division at Columbia Association (CA). Melissa recently moved to Columbia with her three-generation family. She has lived in more than a dozen cities and is looking forward to making Columbia, Md., her permanent home! Over the past year she has worked on losing weight, getting fit and doing volunteer work; she is now looking forward to working for CA after staying home with her family for the last several years. Melissa has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and a master’s degree in educational administration. Click here to read more of Melissa’s Getting to Know CA series.


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Filed under Getting to Know CA, Watershed

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