Our Staff

Our Guides

The Lord has blessed ACO with a truly incredible staff. The men and women that have chosen to be part of this organization all enjoy the same common bond of wanting to share the rivers we paddle with you, our guests. They range in age from their late teens to being “seasoned citizens” and come from all walks of life. They are some of the most caring, dedicated, and professional raft guides you’ll ever paddle with. All together, our guides have 394 years of river running experience! We are very proud of each and every one and wanted to give you this opportunity to meet them before your next trip with us.


Select a guide here to jump to his or her bio:  

Allison Stein

Portrait of Allison Stein

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

I love being outside and being active in the outdoors, especially anything on the water. Rafting combines all of these!


What do you enjoy most about your job?

Every time you go down the river it is different from the last time. And the people.


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

The Genesee Country Village and Museum in Mumford NY


Duties

  • raft guide
  • site manager


Year Hired

2015


Anna Martin

Portrait of Anna Martin

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

I love being outside—it was as simple as that. Wandering through the trails and woods at Letchworth is enchanting on its own, but getting down in the valley and looking at the gorge from the bottom up is magical. We have the best views in the park!


What do you enjoy most about your job?

The excitement the gorge brings to our guests is a huge highlight for me. We meet people from all over the world, and we get to share a common passion on the water. It’s pure bliss to see children and adults fall in love with nature, and with the beauty of Western New York. It’s also exciting to watch people step out of their comfort zones and try something new. There is a whole world out there waiting to be explored!


Most memorable outdoor experience?

We live in a playground! I can’t say one experience was more epic than another because they have all been so amazing. My first time caving is pretty high up on the list, and then there are many incredible kayaking, climbing, hiking, mountain biking, rafting and skiing experiences that will stay with me forever. I love being outdoors, and I am grateful to live in an area where so much adventure is accessible.


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

There are so many hidden gems in Western New York—from lakes, hiking/biking trails, state lands, rivers, and parks, we have the opportunity for adventure all year around. I would recommend Hemlock Lake for a beautiful and relaxing day in your kayak, or Rock City for a fun day of exploring!


Duties

  • raft guide


Year Hired

2018


Art Kretschmer

Portrait of Art Kretschmer

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

I wanted to be involved with what my dad was doing and loved being outdoors.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

Interacting with the guests.


Most memorable outdoor experience?

Searching for the 6’ rabid squirrel at Letchworth State Park.' (ask him to tell you the story)


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

Genesee County Park – there are lots of nice hiking trails and it’s a great place to take our dog.


Duties

  • raft guide
  • bus driver
  • site manager


Year Hired

1999


Bill Gross

Portrait of Bill Gross

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

Invitation by guides, since I had river experience years before I accepted the invitation.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

Sharing with customers a safe, great time.


Most memorable outdoor experience?

Besides rafting, skiing in Colorado.


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

Zoar Valley. Some old-growth trees and home of one of the largest wild grape vines in the USA.


Duties

  • raft guide


Year Hired

2011


Brian Castner

Portrait of Brian Castner

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

I can't think of a better way to spend so much time on the water.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

Teaching people about rafting, especially those that have never gone before and are apprehensive. Watching their transformation from being afraid to really enjoying themselves is the best.


Most memorable outdoor experience?

Hands down so far, taking two of my sons on a five-day wilderness camping trip in the Adirondacks.


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

Buckhorn Island State Park on Grand Island - the hiking/cross-country skiing trails are amazing, especially being able to make your way out to the Niagara River just above the falls.


Duties

  • raft guide


Year Hired

2008


Brian Swart

Portrait of Brian Swart

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

I came as a guest and fell in love with it.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

The whitewater on the river and the family atmosphere within ACO.


Most memorable outdoor experience?

I took a road trip to S. Dakota and tent-camped all the way out and back. I saw so many beautiful things as I traveled.


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

Webster Park - there are lots of great hiking trails and the sunsets are beautiful.


Duties

  • trip leader
  • ACA certified SRT instructor


Year Hired

2005


Chuck Evingham Jr. (in memoriam)

Portrait of Chuck Evingham Jr. (in memoriam)

Note

Sadly, following a courageous battle with cancer, Chuck passed away in the fall of 2016. He will be missed by many however his legacy will live on forever in the hearts of all whose lives he touched over the years.


What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

The adventure, being outdoors & interacting with people.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

The endless variety of people I meet and experiences to enjoy.


Most memorable outdoor experience?

I had an out-of-boat experience (i.e. - a flipped raft) while on the Lower New in WV., which led to a great deal of celebrating life!


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

The bike paths through Clarence, Newstead, and Akron are very scenic and pleasant.


Duties

  • trip leader
  • safety boater


Year Hired

2006


Cody Pesta

Portrait of Cody Pesta

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

Adventure, adrenaline, and the opportunity to give the best version of myself to others.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

I get to utilize my strengths, meet new people, and do my part to help provide amazing experiences for those who go out with us.


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

The Finger Lakes National Forest


Duties

  • raft guide
  • ACA certified SRT instructor
  • BSA accredited merit badge counselor


Year Hired

2017


Dan Schrantz (in memoriam)

Portrait of Dan Schrantz (in memoriam)

Note

Dan passed away unexpectedly of a heart attack in early August of 2018. He was one of the elder statesmen in the rafting world, having worked as a guide initially for ARO, and then ACO & ZVC since the late 1970's. His friendship and mentorship to so many of us will be remembered always.


What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

I enjoyed being outdoors on the water as much as possible and to be paid for it was an added bonus.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

Introducing others to experiencing the joy of paddling and showing them the beauty of the local waterways.


Most memorable outdoor experience?

Canoe camping down the west branch of the Susquehanna River with some close friends.


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

The cross country ski trails at Allegany State Park, they are incredibly serene.


Duties

  • trip leader


Year Hired

1987


Danica Stewart

Portrait of Danica Stewart

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

I needed some extra cash, wanted more time outdoors and love being in, on, or around the water. The solution seemed obvious.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

The scenery - no matter what the day brings I need only look around to realize how lucky I am.


Most memorable outdoor experience?

I once co-led a group of at-risk boys on a 30 day canoe trip down the Suwanee River. We paddled from the very start in Georgia, through Florida and into the Gulf of Mexico. The trip in of itself was amazing, but the way the whole experience transformed the boys in such a positive way is what really made it memorable.


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

Conklin's Gully in Naples, NY. 'Although you can take the path along the edge of the gully to see the cascades, I prefer walking in the stream and climbing up the waterfalls because it makes me feel like a kid again.'


Duties

  • trip leader
  • site manager
  • lead team-building facilitator


Year Hired

2005


Daniel Ott

Portrait of Daniel Ott

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

It is a great way to spend time outdoors.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

The time on the water and the time with guests.


Most memorable outdoor experience?

A solo 3 night wilderness camping trip.


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

The Wiscoy Creek near Rossburg , NY near the Wiscoy Creek Lodge.


Duties

  • raft guide


Year Hired

2017


Dave Cornell

Portrait of Dave Cornell

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

I’ve always enjoyed being in the outdoors especially around streams and rivers. Having been a guest in 2009, when I was given the opportunity to change careers, Raft Guiding with Adventure Calls Outfitters was the first thing that popped into my head.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love seeing the smiles on our guest’s faces and hearing the laughter (and screams!) as we go down the river.


Most memorable outdoor experience?

1) Riding horses and fly fishing with my wife in the Rocky Mountains of Montana. 2) Kayaking fishing offshore Cape Cod with whales surfacing close by.


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

Kayaking Canadice Lake at dawn, the water like a mirror, not another soul in sight.


Duties

  • raft guide
  • NYSDEC licensed fishing guide


Year Hired

2015


Don Nelson

Portrait of Don Nelson

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

I really enjoyed rafting and was looking for a part-time job at the time.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

Showing people a fun, safe time on the river!


Most memorable outdoor experience?

Rescuing a raft that was stuck in the hole at 'Grand Finale' Rapids on Cattaraugus Creek.


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

Hi Tor Wildlife Management Area, specifically Conklin's and Clark's Gulleys.


Duties

  • trip leader
  • safety boater
  • paddle Instructor
  • bus driver
  • ACA certified paddle instructor
  • ACA certified SRT instructor


Year Hired

1999


Eli Flansberg

Portrait of Eli Flansberg

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

The fact that I could be doing something fun all summer as a career. I get to spend my days outside with great people, guests and guides included, and have new experiences daily. Not one day on the river is the same.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy meeting new people and watching the guests experience the river, usually for the first time. Even though the river changes everyday, guides get used to the sights and sounds of the gorge. Guests do not so it’s always interesting seeing their excitement and being part of that.


Most memorable outdoor experience?

Hiking with friends near Lake Placid has to be my most memorable outdoor experience so far. It was my freshman year and first time experiencing the Adirondacks as an “adult.” We went hiking on a whim up a small mountain and were technically trespassing since the trail was only open on weekends to the public, but it felt so freeing to be up so high and not caring about anything below us.


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

A hidden gem has to be the Eternal Flame Falls in Orchard Park, NY. The trails are all beautiful and it's a nice place to be. It also peaked my interest on how it stays lit. There are hydrocarbon seeps all over the world that emit gases into the atmosphere. The one at the falls is a macro seep that has a higher concentration of propane and methane than other natural gas seeps. This allows the flame to be kept lit behind the falls


Duties

  • raft guide


Year Hired

2018


Ella Wynn

Portrait of Ella Wynn

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

I came on a trip as a guest while visiting Letchworth State Park and instantly fell in love how beautiful the park is and how awesome the guides are.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love meeting new people and sharing what I love with them. I also love working with such knowledgeable and friendly people.


Most memorable outdoor experience?

Swimming in the Caribbean Sea with the ancient Mayan City of Tulum in the background.


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

Griffis Sculpture Park - E. Otto, NY


Duties

  • trip leader
  • site manager


Year Hired

2011


Emily Reichert

Portrait of Emily Reichert

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

I wanted to go out of my comfort zone and try something new.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

My ACO family and seeing the smiles on the guests faces after a trip.


Most memorable outdoor experience?

Rafting on the Black River with my fellow raft guides!


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

Little Rock City in Little Valley, NY


Duties

  • raft guide


Year Hired

2016


Glenn Anderson

Portrait of Glenn Anderson

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

I knew I wanted a summer job that would keep me outside and active. I have been around water since I was little having grown up on Lake Ontario. I started whitewater rafting in college and thought there would be no better way to spend my summer.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

The chance to go rafting and enjoy the summer weather.


Most memorable outdoor experience?

Rafting the New River in West Virginia for my brother in-law's bachelor party


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

Allegheny Reservoir. My favorite wakeboarding spot.


Duties

  • raft guide


Year Hired

2014


Jim Janora

Portrait of Jim Janora

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

I would have to say it was the opportunity to spend more time on the river with a group of safety-conscious people.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

Seeing a client have an aha moment when they realize the magnitude of the canyons through Zoar Valley.


Most memorable outdoor experience?

Backpacking in the Grand Tetons during a thunderstorm. I was focused on the trail immediately in front of me due to the conditions. I looked up at one point and stopped dead when I saw a moose calf standing in the trail about 25 feet away. It was great, until the mom came crashing out of the thicket and placed herself between me and the calf.


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

Little Rock City – geologically unique, and very photogenic


Duties

  • raft guide


Year Hired

2012


Joan Anderson

Portrait of Joan Anderson

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

The beauty and freedom found on the river and the opportunity to share the experience with others.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

I truly enjoy interacting with new people and seeing the enjoyment on their faces, whether it be from the thrill of the rapids or the profound peace floating through the calm sections.


Most memorable outdoor experience?

I have two - a guide-only raft trip on the Genesee at very high water, we did the entire 5 1/2 miles in 19 minutes and witnessing 11 people being baptized on a river trip at Letchworth, one of whom was my husband.


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

The Eternal Flame in Chestnut Ridge Park.


Duties

  • site manager
  • raft guide
  • team-building facilitator


Year Hired

2005


Joe Driscoll

Portrait of Joe Driscoll

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

I saw an ad in the paper and it sounded like fun.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

Interacting with & teasing the guests, watching them having so much fun!


Most memorable outdoor experience?

The day I got to guide a raft at Letchworth in big water. I always bring spare clothes w/ me just in case, except I forgot them this particular day.


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

Almost any of the State or County Parks in this area. There are so many close by, people should take advantage of them.


Duties

  • bus driver
  • cat herder


Year Hired

2007


John Driscoll

Portrait of John Driscoll

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

A few years back, my family and I took a trip down the river with Adventure Calls Outfitters and I became instantly hooked to the experience. Being a teacher, I thought that becoming a raft guide would be an awesome summer gig. Turns out I was right on with that thought.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

My answer is twofold. First, the people. The people I work with and the customers I provide a service for. Secondly, the challenge of consistently having great runs down the river and always striving to satisfy the customers.


Most memorable outdoor experience?

I once road my bicycle from Seattle to Denver via the Pacific Coast and across some desert lands.


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

Genesee County Park in East Bethany, New York. Great hiking trails and serenity.


Duties

  • raft guide


Year Hired

2017


John Swan

Portrait of John Swan

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

I started as a guest on a trip in Letchworth a few years ago. Several trips on all three rivers and countless conversations with guides later, I realized I wanted to be a part of this awesome family.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

The people and being out in nature.


Most memorable outdoor experience?

Two week canoe trip through the boundry waters between Minnesota and Canada.


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

Lockport Nature Trail


Duties

  • trip leader
  • BSA accredited merit badge counselor


Year Hired

2016


Karen Covell

Portrait of Karen Covell

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

I have loved white water rafting since I was 12 when my parents took me for the first time, when I learned about ACO I had to jump on the opportunity


What do you enjoy most about your job?

The people I work with!! You will never have a bad day when you work with some of the most awesome, honest and reliable people on the planet.


Most memorable outdoor experience?

Rafting down the Black River with my fellow guides in August 2016


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

Golden Hill State Park in Barker, NY on Lake Ontario


Duties

  • raft guide


Year Hired

2016


Kelsey Reed

Portrait of Kelsey Reed

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

Being outdoors and paddling w/ my dad


What do you enjoy most about your job?

Interacting with the guests, seeing all the smiles on their faces after the first set of rapids.


Most memorable outdoor experience?

Jumping off a 20' high rock into the river when our Church Youth Group went rafting in Tennessee several years ago.


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

Walking along the Erie Canal foot/bike paths. It's very pretty and quiet.


Duties

  • trip leader
  • site manager


Year Hired

2008


Ken Ahlstrom

Portrait of Ken Ahlstrom

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

I was friends w/ Jim Redline and he asked me to help him out when he started Zoar Valley Canoe & Raft.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

Being on the water and the challenge of running every single trip down the river as safely as possible.


Most memorable outdoor experience?

A canoe trip on the Bloodvein River in Manitoba, CA. It is an absolutely beautiful river.


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

Deerlick Nature Preserve - it's an incredible hiking area along the South branch of the Cattaraugus Creek.


Duties

  • trip leader
  • guide mentor
  • safety boater


Year Hired

1983


Kenny Allore

Portrait of Kenny Allore

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

After being a flatwater kayaker for years, I decided to give whitewater rafting a try and I was hooked! My raft guide that day was Todd Smith, and once he told me ACO was hiring and would train me, the rest came natural.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

Watching the expressions of awe on the faces of inner city youth who haven’t had much exposure to nature as they raft down the Genesee river. When they see a bald eagle in flight for the first time up close, it’s just like my first time all over again and we get to experience it together. A close second is the camaraderie that is shared amongst the ACO Staff.


Most memorable outdoor experience?

Hiking up Croagh Patrick (Ireland’s Pilgrimage Mountain) located in County Mayo, Ireland with my wife and friends. The fog was so thick that we couldn’t see more than a few feet in front of us and we had to do some rock scrambling to get to the summit but it was worth it. The bowl of soup and a pint that we enjoyed in the Pub conveniently located near the trail-head at the base was a nice touch too!


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

A paddle trip during the Autumn months down Oak Orchard River North of Medina, NY. The changing colors of the leaves and the wildlife will make you forget all about the cooler temperatures.


Duties

  • raft guide


Year Hired

2017


Lorri Soto

Portrait of Lorri Soto

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

The fun and adventure, plus it is way better than a summer part-time job mowing grass.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

Taking people down the river that never ever thought they'd be able to do it.


Most memorable outdoor experience?

Seeing the fog over the gorge at Letchworth State Park in the early morning. It is such an inspiring sight.


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

The South end of Letchworth State Park. It's amazing how many people, especially from the Rochester area, never venture past the North end of the park.


Duties

  • trip leader
  • site manager
  • team-building facilitator


Year Hired

2008


Margaret Siller

Portrait of Margaret Siller

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

I organized a raft trip of ski bum friends w/ a Canadian River Outfitter and fell in love with the sport. Years later I wanted to go again and found ACO on the internet, saw they were hiring, and decided to take a shot at being a guide.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

Hands down, the adrenaline rush. I'm an adrenaline junkie, just ask my friends.


Most memorable outdoor experience?

Umm.....can I pick two? 1.) Backpacking with my sister and one of my dogs in Allegheny National Forest. The weekend was totally amazing, can't wait to go again. 2.) Skiing in the Swiss Alps. An unbelievable experience. Ask me about either one and I'll talk your ear off.


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

Eternal Flame Falls - Chestnut Ridge County Park in Orchard Park, NY


Duties

  • trip leader
  • safety boater


Year Hired

2009


Mike Meyers

Portrait of Mike Meyers

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

I became hooked as a customer. Guiding the raft through white water is a respectful way to tap into energy at its most visible state.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

Taking a family of first-timers from fear to exhilaration as a team, going for the gusto and laughing as we hit a hole full-on.


Most memorable outdoor experience?

Turtling a certain blonde guide in 'Cruncher' Rapids on the Cattaraugus.


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

The confluence in Zoar Valley. It's where the South branch of the Cattaraugus meets the main channel, pretty spectacular.


Duties

  • raft guide


Year Hired

1998


Mike Radomski

Portrait of Mike Radomski

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

I love being outdoors and enjoy sharing the outdoor experience with other people. Where else can you get paid to run whitewater, get a workout and have fun with new and interesting people every trip?


What do you enjoy most about your job?

Whether fishing, kayaking or running whitewater, I find a certain cathartic quality to being present on rivers and streams. I also love that I have a fresh audience for my jokes with every run down the river.


Most memorable outdoor experience?

Hiking the Great Range Traverse in the Adirondack High Peaks as a day hike.


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

My favorite place in WNY is Chestnut Ridge Park and the Eternal Flame. A close second is Little Rock City in Little Valley, NY.


Duties

  • raft guide


Year Hired

2018


Nikki Andrews

Portrait of Nikki Andrews

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

I've always loved being outdoors, so when I saw the opportunity in the Girl Scout program guide, I had to take my scouts. It was my first year as a leader and I had 4 cadettes. We did the rafting and camping weekend program. I instantly fell in love with the romance of Letchworth and the excitement of white water. I knew I had to become a guide. I came back every year as a guest after that. It took me almost 4 years to work up the nerve to apply, but I'm so glad I did, it's One of the best decisions of my life.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

Being a raft guide allows me to share my love and knowledge of the outdoors and geology with lots of new people. I truly love Letchworth for all its wonders and beauty. No two trips down the river are ever the same. Plus, It never feels like work, which makes it the best job I'll ever have!


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

One of my favorite spots to go is the Homestead bridge in Tonawanda. I can drive, walk or ride my bike there, and launch or rent a kayak rain or shine. From there I can take a leisure paddle up Tonawanda Creek to the Dog Park Island, or down the Erie Canal to do a little history tour, and if I'm really motivated I can even paddle out to Niawanda Park on the Niagara River. Or I can just sit on the bridge and watch the bustling Gateway Harbor. There's always something going on. Weekly concerts, art and food festivals and even fishing tournaments.


Duties

  • raft guide


Year Hired

2016


Paul Brown

Portrait of Paul Brown

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

Working outdoors running whitewater


What do you enjoy most about your job?

Meeting new people and making new friends



Duties

  • raft guide


Year Hired

2014


Phil Slazyk Jr.

Portrait of Phil Slazyk Jr.

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

I love driving bus and was given the opportunity to do so.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

The camaraderie among the staff and working at Letchworth State Park.


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

Panama Rocks, it’s a great place to explore.


Duties

  • bus driver


Year Hired

2015


Rob Wilkie

Portrait of Rob Wilkie

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

Additional time to be with my wife!


What do you enjoy most about your job?

People having a memorable time.


Most memorable outdoor experience?

Going out to Zion, Bryce and upper Grand Canyon.


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

Durand Eastman Park


Duties

  • raft guide


Year Hired

2018


Rolf Simonsen

Portrait of Rolf Simonsen

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

I loved rafting as a guest and decided to take the next step.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

The camaraderie amongst the staff and showing the guests a great time on the river.


Most memorable outdoor experience?

I have two. 1.) Hiking up the back side of Halfdome in Yosemite National Park. 2.) Participating in the 'Face of America' Memorial Bike Ride in 2002 from Ground Zero to the Pentagon. That humbling event will stay with me the rest of my life.


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

Zoar Valley. It is an incredible place.


Duties

  • trip leader
  • safety boater


Year Hired

2003


Russ Cornman

Portrait of Russ Cornman

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

A conversation with Kevin presented a post retirement challenge of learning to drive a bus, getting my CDL, and driving bus for ACO. It is totally different from my career and a job that is fun to do.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

While I haven’t actually done much driving yet, the best part of the job so far is the happy rafters after their trip down the river.


Most memorable outdoor experience?

Over the years I’ve had a lot of outdoor experiences; family vacations camping, life on the farm and my first river rafting trip when I was young, where I lost my glasses & hat as I was knocked out of the raft in a double hydraulic.


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

Well if I have to narrow it down to one gem I would have to say the state parks. From Niagara Falls to Watkins Glenn, Hamlin Beach to Allegany State Park but of course Letchworth with its canyon is at the top of the list.


Duties

  • bus driver


Year Hired

2015


Sam Martin

Portrait of Sam Martin

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

The opportunity! I had been rafting with Adventure Calls for over ten years as a customer, and I jumped on the chance to be a part of the team.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

Every trip is different, and every day is different on the river, not only do I get to see the beauty that is Letchworth park, but I also get to enjoy the wildlife that calls this place home.


Most memorable outdoor experience?

I could never pick just one out of the multitude of wilderness outings I have been on, every experience has its own epic place in my memory, but I have recently discovered caving, and I’m excited for a completely new form of outdoor exploration and adventure.


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

Carlton Hill multiple use area....a great place for anything from trail runs to mountain biking, to horseback riding and hunting, a truly beautiful place that I am grateful to have so near.


Duties

  • raft guide


Year Hired

2018


David 'Ted' Nitterauer

Portrait of David 'Ted' Nitterauer

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

I love adventures in the outdoors.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

Sharing the rafting experience with others.


Most memorable outdoor experience?

Rafting on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

The gorges at Letchworth State Park, Watkins Glen State Park, and Chautauqua State Forest.


Duties

  • trip leader


Year Hired

2008


Tim Reed

Portrait of Tim Reed

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

Wanting to be on the water / in the wilderness.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

Taking people outdoors and teaching them about what we find as we're going down the river.


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

The Buffalo River - paddling along it in a canoe or kayak is the best way to see things you wouldn't otherwise. The views of the grain elevators are incredible.


Duties

  • trip leader
  • safety boater
  • merit badge counselor
  • team-building facilitator
  • BSA accredited merit badge counselor
  • ACA certified srt instructor


Year Hired

2006


Tim Truty

Portrait of Tim Truty

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

My love of Letchworth State Park & the Genesee River.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

Watching people enjoy nature and seeing the smiles on their faces, especially the children.


Most memorable outdoor experience?

Getting thrown from a raft I was guiding after it hit a rock. I found shortly thereafter the raft was making a strange hissing sound.


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

Emery Park in South Wales, NY. It is still very rustic and quite beautiful.


Duties

  • raft guide


Year Hired

2010


Todd Smith

Portrait of Todd Smith

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

I've always loved the water and paddling so I had to jump at the opportunity to guide.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

Being surrounded by the outdoors and interacting with people from all walks of life.


Most memorable outdoor experience?

Hiking with a friend in Missouri and getting trapped by a flash flood. Needless to say we had to do some swift water stream crossing to get out.


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

Stony Brook State Park (Dansville, NY)


Duties

  • trip leader
  • bus driver
  • BSA merit badge counselor
  • ACA accredited srt instructor
  • NYSDEC licensed fishing guide


Year Hired

2015


Tom Anderson

Portrait of Tom Anderson

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

I love being on the water, the adrenaline rush that comes with the thrills.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love interacting with the guests and the camaraderie with the other guides.


Most memorable outdoor experience?

I guess most memorable moment in the outdoors was bringing my Mom and her best friend rafting after her battle with lung cancer and introducing her to all of my new friends.


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

Akron Park - it's a beautiful place, especially the waterfalls in winter.


Duties

  • raft guide


Year Hired

2009


Tracy Nelson

Portrait of Tracy Nelson

What drew you into becoming a raft guide?

I enjoy being on the water.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

Sharing the outdoor experience with the guests.


Most memorable outdoor experience?

There's too many to choose just one.


Hidden gem in Western NY to recommend to others?

My backyard in the rolling hills of Wyoming County!


Duties

  • raft guide
  • site manager
  • team-building facilitator


Year Hired

2001