Editor's Note: This story was originally published in September, 2018.
The American River is a gem for some "treasure hunters." After a weekend, such as Labor Day Weekend, people say lots of trash is left behind.
"Aluminum cans always," said Karl Bly, a Carmichael resident. "Floating trash. Styrofoam."
However, not all of it is trash. Bly says some of it is what he calls "gifts from the river."
"Going down the river, all the time we study the currents and there are different places the river will deliver things, based on the currents of the day," Bly said.
Bly started treasure hunting as a kid with his dad. It's something he now does with his sons. He understands the right places to check for "treasures."
Bly's found lots of sunglasses, cell phones, a tackle box, canoes, and kayaks. He first makes an effort to try to find the owner, but if it isn't possible, he either donates the items or keeps them. He also helps other people try to find some of their lost items.
Bly says the American River is such an ideal location to find items because of people's mindsets.
"It's because people lost stuff in the river," Bly said. "There are so many people who come here for recreational rafting."
He also says the landscape plays a role in making the American River attractive to treasure hunters.
"Typically, rivers have larger boulders, and, once something is lost, it really gets down there deep. But here you just have cobblestones that are a couple inches. And where [there] isn't cobblestones there's black clay, so it's easier to find things when they're lost."
There are other treasure hunters out on the American River too. He says many of them come out on the weekends to beat the other treasure hunters.
"There's one guy from Arizona," Bly said. "He brags about this river that it has twice as much treasures cause nobody dives it."
Bly says he follows unwritten rules when it comes to treasure hunting.
"When I find something on the river, I feel like it's meant for me to find it," Bly said. "It sounds kind of weird. I feel like I have to be thankful for it and give back somehow."
When it comes to trash, Bly said it's drastically improved from when he was a kid. He says there are groups out that help keep the American River clean.
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