The rock snake at Atascadero Lake has been uniting the community since the start of the pandemic.
Next month, the snake will be removed from the park.
“Like everything, I think it has run its course,” said SLO Painted Rocks member Wanda Kohl.
After two years of the rock snake surrounding Atascadero Lake, it is time for it to slither off in a new direction.
“It was a wonderful distraction during a time that we needed a distraction,” Kohl said.
“The community came together and actually showcased their artwork and were really able to be creative,” said City of Atascadero Deputy City Manager Terrie Banish.
However, maintaining the snake was a struggle.
“It went from being a continuous beautiful collection of painted rocks that went halfway around the lake to overnight just being destroyed, kicked down, and thrown out,” Kohl said.
“No matter what kind of paint you put on these rocks, it fades quite a bit so they don't look like they did or as vibrant as they were,” Banish added.
While the snake will be removed in October, residents say they will remember it for the hope it presented the community.
“I think it brought people together with a common goal of finding some joy in a time that was really hard,” Kohl said. “Just because dark times come doesn't mean that we can't bring in little rays of light and hope.”
“During the pandemic, it was a great outlet for people to get out and use their creativity, their art skills,” said Earl Cisco, Atascadero resident.
“I just like to look at all the different artwork,” said Jenni K. Cisco, Atascadero resident. “I could appreciate all the different rocks for me as somebody that loves nature.”
“I'm really happy to see the community get involved behind it and how wonderful that was,” Banish said.
The hope is for the rock snake to be memorialized in some capacity in the near future.
Residents are being asked to retrieve the rocks they designed before they are picked up next month.