A new campground opens in Mercer County Park

Park Commission Executive Director Aaron Watson (right) in front of one of the lean-to structures on the campground located in the East Picnic Area of Mercer County Park.
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Park Commission Executive Director Aaron Watson (right) in front of one of the lean-to structures on the campground located in the East Picnic Area of Mercer County Park.

A campground –to the delight of officials–has been established in Mercer County Park.

This campground adds something different as it is the first offering of overnight campsites in Mercer County Park, according to county officials.

“For me, this is a personal achievement. I grew up all my life camping and found it difficult to believe that there is no singular place in Mercer County where you can go camping,” Mercer County Park Commission Executive Director Aaron Watson announced. “I look at the next generation the millennial in particular, they are enjoying going outside. We really need to work on getting people back outside. We want our children to come out here and really enjoy nature. There is no better way to do that than by offering camping.”

Officials explained that the Mercer County campground features 10 campsites, which can accommodate six people per site.

The campground is located in the East Picnic Area of Mercer County Park in West Windsor.

“This particular park was always slated for camping it just never manifested itself. I wanted to make sure that became a reality and it is today,” Watson said.

The Mercer County Park System’s carpenters built six lean-tos on six of the 10 sites.

A lean-to is a shack or shed supported by posts or walls and has an inclined roof.

The lean-tos, chairs and tables on the campsites were made from re-purposed ash wood, according to officials.

“Unfortunately this emerald ash borer is destroying the ash trees not only through the park system but all throughout Mercer County. Instead of taking the wood and disposing of it, what we have done is dry it out and have our carpenters re-purpose it,” Watson said. “This is recycling at its best.”

The campground was created in six months.

“I was just blown away and this finished site just warms my heart. This just adds to the quality of life for our people here,” he said. “This place is an opportunity for women and men to bond with their children.”

There is a full service bathroom within 600 feet of the campground.

“We know the things that are a necessity at a campsite all we want folks to do is respect it. Travel lightly and bring what you need for the evening and leave the campsite as you found it,” Watson. “We put a lot of though into this and is done really well.”

“The campsites add a whole other layer and element to the park system. We do so many wonderful things at our main park,” he said.

Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes explained that all of the work done to create the campsites was done in house.

“When I first saw these sites my reaction was ‘WOW’. This is something people will enjoy. If camping, biking riding, fishing, and boating are your thing this is the place to be,” he said.

Hughes said he was glad to see that the county park system could use the destroyed ash trees to help create the campground.

According to officials, campsites are available to rental until Nov. 15. The sites will include a campfire ring, picnic table and charcoal grill.

For more information about the campground, visit www.mercercountyparks.org.