The Three Rivers Chapter of the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association (WCHA) aims to promote the enjoyment, use, and restoration of wooden canoes and related equipment. We love to share our skills and experiences as we encourage others to get involved with these lovely canoes.

Below is a brief history of how the Three Rivers Chapter of WCHA) came to be.


On October 16, 2005, some canoe building and restoration enthusiasts met at the Sylvan Boat Club in Verona, Pennsylvania. The founders who attended this first meeting included Don Bottman, Howard Gaston, Herb Adams, Bob Ball, Jim Speed, and Max Peterson. At this very first meeting, it was decided that there was indeed enough interest in wooden canoes, to establish an organization to promote and share knowledge about these beautiful canoes. Contact was then made with the WCHA national organization to determine if a Chapter could be formed and how to do that.

The Sylvan Canoe Club on the Allegheny River in Verona, PA.


A second meeting was held on February 11, 2006 at Max Peterson's workshop in Bethel Park, PA. At that meeting the name for the nascent Chapter was discussed. Since the membership seemed to be coming from Western Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio, and West Virginia, the Three Rivers Chapter name was chosen. That name reflected our location near to the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio Rivers. Additionally, there was the election of our first officers: Don Bottman - president, Jim Speed - Treasurer. Dues of $10 per family were also established. And finally, consistent with the goal to share information about restoring canoes, members Joe Ballay and Paul Knuth taught the group how to steam and bend ribs on an early Old Town OTCA canoe.

The first newsletter was published in April 2006. That newsletter described the formation of the Chapter and invited members to the first official paddle held on the Allegheny River on May 20, 2006. That outing was from Fisherman's Cove to Kennerdale (7 miles on the river). The newletter also called for volunteers to organize a library, to plan paddling events, and to suggest ideas of other Chapter activities.