Neversink Connector Trail

Pennsylvania

Neversink Connector Trail Facts

States: Pennsylvania
Counties: Berks
Length: 1.2 miles
Trail end points: Reading Area Community College and Heritage Park
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 7455265
Trail activities: Bike, Walking

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Neversink Connector Trail Description

Reading's Neversink Connector Trail is a short paved pathway that branches off the Thun Trail, a 18-mile section of the Schuylkill River Trail. It begins near the Reading Area Community College and follows the northeast bank of the Schuylkill River for about a mile to end at Heritage Park. A short spur along the south end of the college takes trail-goers to Riverfront Park and the 3rd and Spruce Recreation Center.


At its eastern end, the trail parallels an infrequently used rail line along Canal Street. It is hoped to one day continue the trail east to connect with the trail network in the Neversink Mountain Preserve, as well as the Exeter Scenic River Trail.



Parking and Trail Access

Parking is available along Riverfront Drive, near the Reading Area Community College (10 South 2nd Street) and at the 3rd and Spruce Recreation Center (320 South 3rd Street).

Neversink Connector Trail Reviews

Not to be confused with the network of trails in the nearby Neversink Mountain Preserve, the Neversink Connector Trail is an urban greenway that extends southeast from the Thun Trail near the Reading Community College to Heritage Park at the city's south end. The trail runs along the northeast bank of the Schuylkill River for most of its length, in a wooded environment dominated by Riverfront Park. After passing under the Lancaster Ave. bridge, the trail briefly swings east, then follows Canal Street and an active, but little-used rail line to Heritage Park, a smaller park highlighting the city's past as an industrial and transportation hub. Unfortunately, any positive experience that users may have by enjoying the serenity of nature or learning about the city's history is likely to be marred by the poor condition of the trail and surrouding amenities. First, the trail's asphalt surface is deteriorating, with numerous cracks, bumps and potholes requiring cyclists to keep alert; the section under Lancaster Ave. bridge is especially rough, and vegetation has begun to encroach on the trail. Another negative aspect is graffiti and vandalism, which can be seen on many of the lightposts and signage lining the trail, as well as on the Lancaster Ave. bridge. Finally, a picnic pavilion in Riverfront Park has become an unofficial shelter/hangout for the area's homeless. I understand the bad economy has left Reading, like many other cities, badly strapped for cash, but letting recreation facilities deteriorate to this degree is inexcusable. I don't see why the police cannot better patrol the area, and the city should consider recruiting volunteers or teaming up with the Berks County Conservancy if they are unable to maintain the trail themselves. Harrisburg, which is in even worse financial condition, has managed to keep the Capital Area Greenbelt, including the Riverfront Park segment, in reasonable condition by making these types of arrangements, I see no reason why the same couldn't be done here. Lastly, on a somewhat different topic, the "Connector" in the trail's name likely refers to the fact that the trail connects the Riverfront and Heritage parks, and there is also a spur path to the nearby 6th and Spruce Recreation center. However, long-term plans envision it extending further southeast to the aforementioned Neversink Mountain Preserve, and, thence, to the Exeter Scenic Riverside Trail, which, together with the Thun Trail, will form a loop of multi-use trails through the city and its southern and eastern suburbs. However, the existing trail needs major work before that can happen.

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