Join the Park Commission for kayak tours of Mercer Lake this summer.

Spend your summer mornings surveying the shoreline of Mercer Lake for sun-bathing turtles, great blue heron and other native wildlife during the Mercer County Park Commission’s kayak tours.

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 accessible only via kayak. Led by county naturalists, 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.

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 six scheduled kayak tour dates: Fridays, June 30, July 7 and 14, Aug. 11 and 25, and Sept. 8. 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 and they are designed for both beginner and experienced kayakers.

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 tours are $25 for Mercer County residents and $30 for out-of-county residents. Pre-registration is required. Call (609) 888-3218 or email natureprograms@mercercounty.org for more information and to register.