New bridges to make mountain trail more accessible

EXETER TWP., Pa. - The Klapperthal Trail on the Neversink Mountain Preserve in Berks County is getting three new bridges that are wider, making the trail accessible for wheelchairs and hand cyclists.

"It's very important to create access for these types of athletes," said John Pacharis.

The idea came from Pacharis, once a Reading police officer and an avid mountainbiker. Five years ago, he was in a motorcycle accident, tearing three ligaments in his left knee.

"It was bad at first," he said. "I went through a real bad depression, and I was basically couch- and housebound for almost two years."

Until he decided to buy a handcycle.

"It got me back out with my family and I was able to be with my friends again," Pacharis said.

Limited mobility was Pacharis' "mountain." Now, he and others can ride on.

"Hopefully, we can get other adaptive athletes out here and show them that you can be out in the woods again," he said.

Construction of the three bridges could wrap up as early as Saturday.

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