Canoe ~ Kayak ~ SUP ~ Raft ~ Rescue

ACA State Director for Pennsylvania Supports Friendsville in Deep Creek Lake Public Hearing

I’m proud to be representing the ACA and the whitewater community at the Deep Creek Lake Public Hearing.

Deep Creek Lake Management Public Hearing, American Canoe Association Pennsylvania State Director

Full meeting audio:

Learn more about the Deep Creek Lake Water Management Plan from another post. Below is some personal experiences from the Upper Yough.

Upper Yough Video KayakerMy name is Steve Barber and I’m currently the American Canoe Association State Director for Pennsylvania. I’ve also spent 19 years on the Upper Yough and worked this section of river commercially as a media boater and safety boater for 9 of the 19 years.


The Upper Yough is one of the best whitewater sections on the east coast.

Upper Yough, Heinzerling Rapid
I’ve been on the Upper Yough section for 19 years. The first time I was on it was in a raft with Chris Danse a legendary Wildwater Expeditions guide from the New and Gauley rivers in Fayetteville WV. He guided us down the river with a style all of us trainees had never seen or used in the big water ways of southern West Virginia. He spun continuously looking always down stream with a focused stare, educating his crew on movement through the tight boulder strewn technical whitewater. He guided the raft in a way that  used the rocks to stall the boat or drag across to initiate the timing and positioning to navigate this steep whitewater ribbon. We ran slots where our intimate 4 person crew would deliberately low side the raft to squeeze through tight passage meant only for water, or so I thought at the time. Our movement in the raft was constantly leaning forward and paddling with quick, short precise strokes then alternating to highsiding the stern of the boat to lighten the bow and essentially boof the raft over waterfalls and pour overs. It was essentially kayaking in a small 4 person raft. The first time I was on it I was hooked. I’m sure many people have this same kind of story who fell in love with this section of the Youghioghney River.

Shortly there after I was driving the three hours one way that it took to get there from southern West Virginia to kayak and learn this class IV-V legendary section of whitewater.

Kayaking the Upper Yough was and always will be very active for me. A kayaker needs all their skills and foundations as a boater to navigate this waterway and there is always a different way to go. It seems endless and you can make it as hard or extra difficult as you want it. Then throw in the varying levels. On the Upper Yough the levels I’ve experienced are from 1.8′ which is the lower end of summer release to 3.4′ which is the highest I’ve seen it or even really want to. It’s one of those rivers that every inch makes a big impact on the features of the river and when I worked it commercially 1.8′ to 2″ was the bones. The Take Out in Friendsville was full. 2′-2.3′ was the fluff and people were having normal stories the raft guides loved these levels due to the predictability and proportional amount of water and time needed to make the moves were all in harmony.  2.4′-2.6′ was the juice getting really pushy and you needed to have your head out of your a$$. Roger Zbel would love to be in the bottom eddy of Powerful Pop Up and yell at me that it wasn’t 1.8′ anymore Steve!  The parking lot in Friendsville wasn’t as full during this water level. 2.6′-2.8′ was really big. At this point for me at least was where alternate lines had to be run because pour overs were just to big and holes to retentive such as the hole above the Cleavers and the Big Hole in Triple Drop. 3.4′ was a crazy day and I was in a raft and the river was sick. It was good to see it. I remember working some of these high water days as a safety boater and photo boater thinking dam it’s on today. Saving myself if I had a swim was a major issue let alone saving people that fell out of a commercial raft, but that was my job and at the time I was good enough to perform it.  It’s fun to think back on some of those high water days.Ohiopyle Trading Post and Rive Tours Rafting Guide I pretty much prayed for people not to fall out of the raft and if I had to make it happen I just did it and didn’t think about it. What a wild place and time. So many folks on my boat through crazy whitewater rapids and awesome rafting shots captured of my fellow guide staff taking guests to the edge of what insane for most normal folks, but just another day at the office for Upper Yough Raft Guides.

I loved safety boating on the Upper Yough.  My friend Marc Harmon checked me out as a Upper Yough Safety boater. He was powerful and smooth and always ran the boof with style.

Upper Yough Safety Boater


This was a video I created detailing the job of an Upper Yough Safety Boater.

This was a video I created for the Upper Yough in 2009 during my time as a media boater.

It was really great and I thank everyone I worked with for welcoming this southern boy into this northern scene.


Facebook Stream

ACA - Pennsylvania shared an event. ...

WV Beers for WV Public Lands!

February 21, 2018, 6:00pm - February 21, 2018, 7:00pm

Do you like beer? Do you like our public lands? We have just the event for you! Join us for WV Beers for WV Public Lands, presented by the Morgantown Chapter of West Virginians for Public Lands and West Virginia Rivers Coalition in partnership with Sierra Club. We will have several WV beers on tap from Short Story Brewing and Chestnut Brew Works, all proceeds going to West Virginians for Public Lands; a photo booth provided by As You Are Boudoir, props included; raffles and door prizes provided by Pathfinder, 304 Food Works, and Black Bear Burritos; and excited volunteer leaders ready to educate and inform. We will see you there!

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No PFD’s. I guess if you fell off floating may be your second worry. This is terrifying. ...

Log rafting, 1958. Carpathian mountains, Ukraine. Absolutely terrifying!

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Kayak fishing on the Yough anyone. Awesome video. ...

Trout, bass, kayaks. What more could you ask for. #kayakfishing #rock

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Calling all snorkelheads ... ...

The View Below: Amazing Sights in Our Streams and Rivers

March 4, 2018, 2:00pm - March 4, 2018, 2:30pm

Freshwater Journeys in partnership with Roots & Shoots at BucknellU and Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association, Inc. presents .... The View Below: Amazing Sights in Our Streams and Rivers Sunday, March 4, 2:00-3:30 PM Gallery Theatre at Elaine Langone Center Bucknell University (Lewisburg, PA) We often perceive that there isn’t much to see beneath the surface of our nation’s freshwater rivers and streams, but once we look underwater, an amazing world appears. Fish of incredibly diverse colors, shapes, and behaviors live in freshwater ecosystems. The streams themselves create other worldly, breathtaking streamscapes, giving humans willing to submerge themselves the opportunity to witness incredible ecological feats, such as thousand-mile fish migrations, predator-prey interactions, or the vibrant-colors of mating displays. The underwater world of our rivers and streams is unexpected, largely unnoticed, and amazing! Underwater naturalist Keith Williams shares his adventures of exploring and discovering the underwater world of our Susquehanna River and her tributaries, including the Pennsylvania 2018 River of the Year – the Loyalsock Creek – in this engaging free presentation. About the Presenter: Keith Williams has developed river snorkeling-based science curriculum and has established river snorkeling programs for non-profits and the U.S. Forest Service. Keith has led thousands of people on river snorkeling adventures. His first book on river snorkeling, Snorkelhead, was published in 2016. FREE and open to the public. This project was financed in part by a grant from the Community Conservation Partnerships Program, using Environmental Stewardship Funds, under the administration of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation and administered by the Pennsylvania Organization of Watersheds and Rivers. #PARiveroftheYear #LoyalsockCreek #LoyalsockLove #Susquehanna

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