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Authored by Kaitlyn Tothero and English Dawson

Now through September, Berks Nature invites you to explore and enjoy learning all about our Berks Nature Preserves in our new ‘The Nature Place’ Exhibit!

Berks Nature owns and manages six public preserves all around Berks County. Two of these preserves – The Ontelaunee Wetlands Preserve and Ephraim Malickson Wildlife Sanctuary (Tekene 2) – just recently opened to the public providing new trails and fresh opportunities to explore the great outdoors!

Our other long-standing preserves include Angelica Creek Park (home of The Nature Place), Neversink Mountain Preserve, Bob’s Woods at Earl Poole Sanctuary, and Gravity Trail.

Angelica Creek Park

Bob’s Woods at the Earl Poole Sanctuary

Ontelaunee Wetlands Preserve

Gravity Trail

Neversink Mountain Preserve

Ephraim Malickson Wildlife Sanctuary (Tekene 2)

Berks Nature partners with Widoktadwen Center for Native Knowledge on various events and community efforts throughout Berks County. As an organization, we are aware that the land that we now protect, own, and manage, is based in Lenapehoking, the traditional homeland of the Lenape People, who are the rightful past, present, and future caretakers of this land. We are grateful for millennia of Indigenous care for this land and water, and seek to learn from Indigenous expertise in living well with All Our Relations.
Berks Nature and our public preserves are located on occupied Lenape land, and we deeply regret the erasure of the Lenape from popular histories of these places.

In addition to the dog-friendly walking trails and Nature Play Zone, The Nature Place has various interactive and educational exhibits as well as a nature store. In 2023, The Nature Place’s exhibit space has been dedicated to these preserves and specifically, the rich history of Neversink Mountain.

Local historian and author (and long-time friend of Berks Nature) Paul Druzba, has provided us with numerous artifacts collected from our Neversink Mountain Preserve. Paul is the author of the book, “Neversink: Reading’s Other Mountain”, which recounts the history of the mountain during its “Resort Years” from 1880 to 1930, when it boasted six resort hotels, and its own electric mountain railroad, all of which are now gone.

Paul’s incredible retelling of Neversink Mountain’s history is available for purchase at The Nature Place store.

Some of these artifacts include melted glass found at the Highland House after it burned down in 1930, a staircase railing from the Klapperthal Pavilion (1901), and miscellaneous garden tools including a garden gate latch and axe head found near a chicken coop at the Glen Hotel!

The Nature Place is also featuring an art gallery by Art Plus Gallery, a non-profit artist cooperative in West Reading. Each piece that is for sale was created at one of our six public preserves (listed above)!

There’s fun for the kiddos too! Build your own train track to help the train get around Neversink Mountain, learn about what makes our preserves unique with our fun-fact guessing game, or “Color Across the Preserves”!

Interested in learning more and exploring all this exhibit has to offer? Join Berks Nature, Art Plus Gallery, and Paul Druzba on Thursday, May 4th for our Berks Nature Preserves Exhibit Reception!

Berks County Land Acknowledgement: We acknowledge that Berks County resides on Lenapehoking (leh-NA-pe-ho-king), the traditional home of the Lenape. We recognize, support, and advocate for Indigenous peoples who live here now, and for those who were forcibly removed. We acknowledge, honor, and respect the past, present, and future of the diverse Indigenous peoples connected to this land, whose presence continues in the region due to their resilience. As a community, we join Indigenous peoples in acting as responsible stewards of this land.


  • Trail Sage says:

    We wonder why Berks Nature is putting “no trail signs” on Neversink Mountain. This impedes Mountain Biking community. The bikers who keep the trails clean. Your signs are unsightly , a waste of supporters funding and a reason I cannot come to donate money to

    • Regan Moll-Dohm says:

      We always appreciate it when we receive such candid feedback from our neighbors and trail users. We’d love to take this opportunity to give you some additional context regarding the complex management decisions involved with stewarding Neversink Mountain.

      There are a few reasons why we may close or retire a trail:
      One reason is due to a trail’s the proximity to private property. Although we manage numerous acres of Neversink for public use, we do not own the entire mountain. There are several private, residential properties located throughout, many of which are not denoted by fences or signage. It’s important to keep mountain visitors on only sanctioned trails to avoid inadvertently trespassing on private property out of respect for our Neversink Mountain residents.

      Equally important to remember is that first and foremost, Neversink Mountain is a nature preserve; as the primary stewards of the mountain, Berks Nature constantly strives to promote biodiversity and overall ecological health of the mountain’s rich and diverse ecosystems. We must balance recreation with ecological integrity, as the two are not always compatible. For example, many unsanctioned trails are not built properly, unintentionally intersect with sensitive wildlife habitats, or are simply too abundant in a given area. Consequently, an overabundance of poorly sited and poorly built trails will create excessive erosion, which hurts Neversink Mountain’s understory and creates pollution for local waterways (too much sediment deposition in a stream will smother the aquatic organisms living within). We will close or retire trails in these circumstances, when they threaten the mountain’s ecological health.

      Another way we minimize our disturbance on the mountain is by making use of existing roadways. For example, there is a portion of the Neversink Trail off of 20th Street that doubles as an access road for MetEd, which is one of the reasons this has become a designated trail.

      The Reading Eagle has published an article further discussing the problems posed by rogue trails across Neversink Mountain and Mount Penn – it could be a good read to further clarify our stance. Read it here!

      As a fellow nature enthusiast who clearly loves their time on Neversink Mountain, we hope this explanation resonates with you. Managing a nature preserve of Neversink’s scope is a complex balancing act, full of compromise. We hope you will continue to find joy on Neversink Mountain.

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