Think You’ve Lost Something in the American River? This Avid Kayaker May Have Found It

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SACRAMENTO — A good Samaritan has turned his love of kayaking into a hobby by helping others reunite with lost property.

“It’s become a little bit of an addiction, I think,” said Karl Bly. “I get out there whenever I can. Easy access to the river, so it’s pretty much every day during the summer.”

It’s a daily treasure hunt for the avid kayaker and something he’s enjoyed doing ever since he was a young boy.

But instead of keeping what he finds, Bly has made a hobby of tracking down the owners of the lost property.

“The earliest memory of returning something, I think I was about 12 years old and I found a pair of shorts and it had a wallet in it. Turned out to be a CHP officer’s wallet with the ID and everything in it,” Bly said.

So, day by day, Bly takes his kayak out on the American River.

“Some things sink in the river and, of course, you need a facemask to find those. And, of course, some things float,” he explained. “So I will kayak along the shore and find things that are floating and then I’ll get to places where I think would be a good place to dive.”

He has found countless wallets, phones and clothes. He then posts what he finds on the American River Lost and Found Facebook page he created back in 2018.

“I think the most amazing story was just three years ago now I found a GoPro,” Bly recalled. “It was the second GoPro of the season but I posted some of the pictures from the GoPro. It had over 1,600 pictures on it. It went viral and, sure enough, we found the person who owned it, a college from San Francisco.”

While he said he will never stop doing his part to reconnect people with lost items, Bly is enjoying a lifetime hobby of being out on the water and putting a smile on the faces of people reunited with their long-lost property.

“It’s just in my blood to look for things,” Bly said. “So, you look for things, you find things and when you find things, try to return them. That’s just what I do.”

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