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Are you looking for a peaceful and relaxing way to spend some time outside and enjoy the beauty of a summer morning? The Mercer County Park Commission will host several kayak tours of Mercer Lake in West Windsor this summer, giving the community a chance to experience up-close all the wonders nature has to offer.

These tours will explore the nooks and crannies of the 365-acre Mercer Lake that are only accessible via kayak. Led by County Naturalist Jenn Rogers, participants will have the opportunity to paddle along the lake’s edge for views of the native wildflowers in bloom, float alongside a beaver dam, and maybe even see a bald eagle swoop down to grab a snack from the water. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced kayaker, you are invited to pick up a paddle and survey the shoreline for sun-bathing turtles or spot a great blue heron fishing.

Mercer Lake is home to many native plants and wildlife that are seldom seen in central New Jersey. Situated at the extreme northern reaches of New Jersey’s coastal plain, Mercer County Park is in an area of transition between inland and coastal forests. Its sandy soils are host to an array of specialist plant species, and many types of wildlife can be seen at the lake’s edge.

There are five scheduled kayak tour dates: Friday July 10; Friday, Aug. 14 and 28; and Wednesday, Sept. 9. The tours are run out of the Mercer County Park Marina in West Windsor, from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Tours are open to people 16 years of age and older. The Park Commission will provide the kayaks, paddles, binoculars and life jackets, as well as instruction on the basics of kayaking prior to heading out on the lake. Participants should bring plenty of water and shoes that can get wet.

The tour rates are as follows: Mercer County residents, $20 per person; out-of-county residents, $22 per person. Due to the popularity of these tours and a limited number of kayaks available for each tour, pre-registration is required. Please call 609-303-0706, e-mail natureprograms@mercercounty.org or visit www.mercercountyparks.org for more information and to register.

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Mary Galioto
Mary Galioto is the founder, publisher and editor of MercerMe. Originally from Brooklyn, Mary has progressively moved deeper and deeper into New Jersey, settling in the heart of the state: Mercer County. Formerly the author of an embarrassingly informal blog, Mary is a lifelong writer and asker of questions and was even mentioned, albeit briefly, in the New York Times and Washington Post. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from SUNY Binghamton and a Juris Doctorate from Seton Hall Law School. In her free time, Mary fills her life with excessive self-reflection, creative endeavors, and photographing mushrooms. Mary also works as the PR Coordinator at the Hopewell Valley Arts Council, serves on the volunteer Board of Trustees of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT), holds a seat on the Hopewell Borough Board of Health, and is a member of the Hopewell Valley Municipal Alliance.

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