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Bakersfield Man Recalls Kayak Trip From Kern County To SF Bay, 30 Years Later


This month CNN journalist John D. Sutter is on a mission to kayak the San Joaquin River from Fresno to San Francisco Bay. We spoke with him last week on Valley Edition as he seeks to document the stories along what has been called America's most endangered river.

While Sutter's trek is unusual and lengthy, over 30 years ago two Bakersfield men made a journey that was far more dramatic. In 1983 Bill Cooper and John Sweetser kayaked from the banks of the Kern River just outside of Downtown Bakersfield all the way to Richmond on the shores of San Francisco Bay. 

This week on Valley Edition we caught up with Cooper, who is now the president of the Kern River Parkway Foundation in Bakersfield. We asked him how a novice kayaker managed to navigate the the floodwaters that year from the Kern River to the Tulare Lake, the Kings River and the San Joaquin.

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