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Boat Tour - Black Hill Regional Park
A view of the lake, the pontoon boat is located on the lower right hand side of the picture. 5.00 Maryland ratingStar
Boat Tour - Black Hill Regional Park guyonthego

The pontoon boat tour is a 60-75 minute narrated tour of Little Seneca Lake offered on weekends and holidays during the summer. The man-made lake is 505 acres and is part of 2,000 acre Black Hill Regional Park. The boat tour narration is more occasional commentary about the lake and wildlife rather than a full narration for the duration of the tour. Tours are typically offered three times per day, weather permitting. In addition to the standard lake tour, additional boat tours are available for kids, nature photographers, and to view wildlife at night.

Most of the park lands were previously farms and were acquired by the county in the 1960s and 1970s. Construction of a dam to create the lake was completed in 1983, and it took about 3 years for the lake to form. This Youtube video shows the process: www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNFSlnM8Wm0. While boating is a popular activity, swimming is not permitted because the lake serves as a backup water supply and because the water would need to be further treated to make it safe. Additional park activities include hiking, walking, mountain biking, fishing and picnicking. There also is a small education center with nature displays. Both free and fee nature programs and outings are offered.

A guided boat tour of a large lake seemed like a good way to spend a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, the actual experience failed to measure up. A large group showed up at the last minute and included rambunctious children. They treated the boat like a playground, no areas were off limits and no behavior too rowdy. Their parents were either unconcerned or oblivious. As for the tour, the guide was polite but not very personable. The narration was dull and uninformative. He pointed out wildlife such as turtles as well as herons and cormorants, but little insight about the animals was offered. A few bird nests and beaver lodges also were noted but again without much discussion. Little Seneca Lake itself was not especially interesting to visit. The shoreline was mostly wooded with occasional suburban homes. Overall, this tour is not recommended. An evening tour to observe bats and beavers may be better for those into wildlife. For others, even though you will cover less ground, a kayak or rowboat rental should be more relaxing and provide a more enjoyable excursion.

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July 2019
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