The Mercer County Park Commission manages a complex system of public parkland owned by the County of Mercer. This well-maintained system, which in general is well used, provides numerous public amenities, including active and passive recreation opportunities and multicultural experiences. Several educational partnerships are established that utilize the park system to enhance environmental education.
To ensure the current high quality of the park system and to plan for a sustainable future it is important to make informed decisions about park maintenance and management. Investments in the current system must be prioritized and appropriate opportunities for expansion of County Park lands must be anticipated.
The goal of this report is to develop a baseline inventory, which includes descriptions of general physical conditions, user amenities, and the overall ecological features of individual County Park properties. This will include a review of existing inventories followed by ground truthing of available Geographic Information System (GIS) data.
This report encompasses a look into Mercer County regional identity by first studying the historic timeline of Mercer County’s development which helped us understand the historic landscape as it is today marked by historic districts, properties, and sites across the County. A demographic analysis followed the cultural landscape study to discover the County’s population density, income, and racial diversity. The regional scale inventory was completed with land use and natural resource inventory mapping studying Mercer County’s topography, physiographic regions, wetlands, forest cover, wildlife habitats of concern, terrestrial macro group habitats etc. This collection of inventory map analysis helped guide the County wide regional open space connection analysis and park facility inventory by first giving us a clearer understanding of the County’s landscape and applying the Mercer County Park properties to understand their composition.