Introducing Pennsylvania ACA State Director
Steve Barber is a dedicated paddler with 22 years experience on whitewater and 20 years of that experience is in the commercial rafting industries of West Virginia and Fayette County Pennsylvania. The ACA educates boaters, saves rivers, holds competitions, and encourages paddle sport recreation across the nation.
The State Directors of the ACA reflect those same ideals. Steve Barber, Director of the ACA-PA, started with a passion for boating that evolved into swiftwater training, educating others, competing in the World Rafting championships, and traveling around the world.
Steve was inspired to kayak after watching the old hypodermic needle-like boats go down Falls Mills, WV. Steve was in love with boating, but he wasn’t in a boat until Kent State. Steve learned trial by whitewater, running the big stuff as a beginner with his buddies rescuing his boat when necessary.
Learning by doing, Steve soul-boated, going sometimes 250 days a year, in blizzards, just to be on the river.
Steve went on to do almost all of it on the water. He’s been a raft guide, video boater, photo boater, safety boater, kayak instructor, swiftwater rescue instructor and an oarsman. He’s used those skills to help others, like as a video boater. Steve soaked in the camaraderie, with each video boater assisting his video boater bro.
Going from video to oars, Steve kept the camaraderie alive. He taught Nemacolin Woodlands staff how to be oarsmen, drawing from his overnight oarsman experience on the New, Youghiogheny and Colorado rivers.
There is perhaps no more important experience in Steve’s arsenal, though, than his swiftwater rescue experience. Steve learned from the legend Charlie Walbridge himself. In that study, the significance of staying sharp stayed with Steve.
Steve is responsible with his skills and with his river use. When it comes to Stewardship, Steve sets an example with his personal practice. He picks up the bottles he sees floating on the river. He tells his students during swiftwater clinics the importance of river health. He is a grass roots river keeper.
Steve keeps rivers and he competes on them. Steve was lucky to rodeo on his home river, the Gauley, competing in the 2001 World Rafting Championships. Paddling amongst giants, like Eric Jackson, Steve experienced the excitement of helicopters overhead, an announcer over the p.a., and crowds.
Steve is all about river recreation. He’s been all over the East Coast, South, and he’s dipped his paddle in the Grand Canyon. Steve’s boated from Upstate New York Old Forge, Georgia, Tennessee, Grand Canyon, the Ocoee, Russell Fork, New, Gauley, Blackwater, North Fork, Fike’s, Cheat, Big Sandy, Youghiogheny, Nolichucky, to the Johnson’s Creek. And he’s been on rivers in China. On crutches with a broken tendon, Steve journeyed down Three-Rivers Gorge, basking in the incredible nature and water life.
Steve is a boater, but he’s also a husband, father, cook, hunter, potter, and musician.
Steve not only enjoys fine food, he also enjoys hunting, a.k.a. taking his gun for a walk. Like a slower now, hunting lets Steve be fully present in nature.
Steve is many things. He is a family man, and he is a swiftwater instructor, oarsman instructor, video boater, raft guide, soul boater, and the ACA-PA State Director. Steve is thankful to apply all the experience with and passion for education, stewardship, competition, and recreation to lead the PA chapter of the ACA into a future as exciting as a swoll day on the water.