University of Montana School of Journalism graduate Alan Panebaker drowned Sept. 19 while whitewater kayaking in New Hampshire.
Alan graduated from the School of Journalism in 2005. After graduation he worked for the Ashland Daily Tidings and Mail Tribune newspapers in Southern Oregon where he covered education and the environment. He earned a law degree in environmental law from Vermont Law School and had worked covering state politics for VTDigger.org, a statewide news website covering Vermont politics, consumer affairs, business and public policy. In July he took a job with American Whitewater as the Northeast stewardship director.
According to VTDigger Alan, an expert whitewater kayaker, went kayaking on Wednesday morning with two friends in the Flume Gorge of the Pemigewasset River. He reportedly lost control of his kayak as he descended a falls, hit a boulder, disappeared, and his boat re-emerged without him.
Alan was 29 years old and lived in Montpelier, Vt., with his partner Magdalena Dale and his dog Buddy. He is survived by his parents Dave and Janet and his his brother, Eric.
Panebaker wrote a blog entry in 2005 titled 'Keeping On' about the loss of a fellow kayaker with whom he'd paddled class 5 water. This is how he described his relationship with kayaking: "Paddling difficult whitewater is about being alive. It is the most pure and true experience that I have ever known, and it has brought me more joy, pain, and satisfaction than anything else. So while it may be a little fringe to be out there running the hardest whitewater you think you are up to, it isn't crazy. It's life."
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