Alan Panebaker, 29, of Montpelier, Vt., died Sept. 19, 2012, on the Pemigewasset River in Franconia State Park in Lincoln, N.H., doing what he loved best: whitewater kayaking.
Alan was born Feb. 22, 1983, in Kalispell, Mont., the son of Dave and Janet Panebaker, of Steamboat Springs.
Alan loved the outdoors. He grew up in or near several national parks, including Glacier, Wrangell-St. Elias, Yosemite and Great Smoky Mountains as well as in Sylva, N.C., and Steamboat.
Alan was a Class V whitewater kayaker and paddled rivers throughout the United States and Canada.
He took up kayaking as a member of Boy Scout Troop 914 in Sylva, where he earned the rank of Eagle Scout. He played high school soccer in North Carolina and Colorado. He was an occasional ski competitor, but mostly he skied throughout the United States for the fun of it. In Vermont, he was known to arrive at work at 9 a.m. after an early backcountry outing.
Alan graduated from Steamboat Springs High School in 2001 and worked as an intern for Paddler Magazine. Alan graduated from the University of Montana School of Journalism in 2005 and cut his teeth reporting for the Ashland Daily Tidings and Mail Tribune newspapers in Southern Oregon, where he covered education and the environment. He later wrote a weekly outdoors column for the Anchorage Press in Anchorage, Alaska, and he published freelance work for Canoe & Kayak magazine.
He graduated from Vermont Law School in 2011 with a JD and a master’s degree in environmental law and policy; he passed the Vermont bar in November 2011.
He was a reporter for www.vtdigger.org, covering energy, health care and the Vermont Legislature from November 2011 to July 2012. In July, he began work as Northeast stewardship director for American Whitewater, a river conservation group.
Besides his parents, he leaves a brother, Eric Panebaker, of Jackson, Wyo.; his maternal grandparents, Ed and Alice Hardy, of Boulder; and his partner, Magdalena Dale, of Montpelier, Vt.
A celebration of Alan’s life will be held at 2 p.m. Oct. 27 at Charlie’s Hole on the Yampa River behind Bud Werner Memorial Library on 13th Street in Steamboat. A reception will follow the gathering.
Memorial donations may be made “In Memory of Alan Panebaker” to American Whitewater, P.O. Box 1540, Cullowhee, N.C. 28723 or www.americanwhitewater.org/content/Membership/donate. Condolences may be sent to his parents, Dave and Janet Panebaker, 31020 Fallen Falcon Trail, Oak Creek, CO 80467.