MEDIA CONTACT:  Julie Willmot
(609) 278-7137

TRENTON, N.J. — In an ongoing effort to provide better customer service and to “go green” by eliminating paper, the Mercer County Park Commission is accepting picnic area reservations via the Internet.

For the 2011 season, beginning February 17, 2011 at noon, residents can go online to make a reservation, pay, and receive a permit for any of the County’s scenic picnicking spots, said Park Commission Executive Director Kevin Bannon.

Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes, who created the Mercer County Office of Economic Development and Sustainability, said, “This process not only reduces paper waste, it makes reservations as easy as possible for those interested in holding a picnic in any of our beautiful Park Commission picnic areas.”

In the past, prospective picnickers would have to submit a written reservation form to be entered into a manual lottery, then wait to receive a letter of confirmation, followed by writing and mailing a check back for payment.  This is the second year the county has begun accepting online registrations, and more than 95 percent of registrations are now done via the www.mercercounty.org website.

“The process enables users to reserve a picnic spot most conveniently by offering access to the process 24-7,” Bannon said. Additionally, users can complete all steps in one visit to the website as well as search for desired available dates and the location of their choice,” Bannon added.

Interested parties should visit the Mercer County website at http://nj.gov/counties/mercer/commissions/park/picnic.html for more information, including pictures and more detailed amenities of each area as well as to make reservations starting at the prescribed date and time.

Interested parties should have either a MasterCard or Visa card ready to make a reservation.  Reservations will be made automatically on a first-come, first-served basis.  Users will have the opportunity to view dates and picnic areas that are not available. Reservation forms can also be obtained/downloaded and submitted to the Events & Recreation Center at 1638 Old Trenton Road, West Windsor, NJ, 08550 starting on Feb. 17, 2011.

The five available picnic areas available for rent are:
Mercer County Park East
Located off Dutch Neck-Edinburg Road in West Windsor Township, Mercer Park East can be reserved for any day of the week.  The area includes a 30-foot by 60-foot pavilion with four charcoal cooking grills, electricity, and running water.
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Mercer County Park West
Mercer Park West Picnic Area is located alongside Lake Mercer and within walking distance of the Marina. The area includes a 30-foot by 60-foot pavilion and is equipped with one large and one small charcoal cooking grill, electricity, and running water.
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Princeton Country Club
Located in West Windsor Township, the Princeton Country Club Picnic Area can be reserved for any day of the week.  Adjacent to the Princeton Golf Course, this picnic area is ideal for a picnic/golf outing.  The picnic area includes two newly constructed pavilions equipped with two charcoal cooking grills, electricity, and running water.
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Rosedale Park Picnic Area
Located in Hopewell Township, Rosedale Park comprises 472 acres including a 38-acre lake stocked with trout.  The park has two picnic areas, a family picnic area, which is open to the public, and a group picnic area available by reservation.

The group picnic area includes two newly constructed pavilions equipped with two charcoal cooking grills, electricity, and running water.

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Valley Road
Located in Hopewell Township, Valley Road Picnic Area is a 19-acre facility in its natural state equipped with a 30-foot by 60-foot pavilion that includes 2 charcoal cooking grills, one barbecue pit, electricity, and running water.

The Mercer County Park Commission also offers smaller public picnic areas for groups of less than 50 people on a first-come, first-served basis, free of charge with no permit required, at the following parks: Howell Living History Farm, Baldpate Mountain, Roebling Park, Mercer County Park, Rosedale Park, and South River Walk Park.  These areas may not be reserved.
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