Towards the beginning of the pandemic in August 2020, a unique set of rocks appeared around Lake Park in the City of Atascadero.
The set began with a large diamond-shaped rock that was placed at the east end of Atascadero Lake Park before the bridge that said, "This is a Rock Snake. Add your painted rocks, and let's see how long it'll grow."
City officials say Atascadero resident, Wanda Kohl, started the rock snake as a way to spread positivity to those in her community through her art.
The project took off as community members were able to tag the rock group's Facebook page "SLO Painted Rocks," and a few other pages such as "Rocks Behaving Badly," where people hide rocks around the neighborhood.
Throughout the rest of 2020 and into 2021 the rock snake grew to over a half mile, wrapping around the lake. City leaders said at one point there were more than 4,000 rocks surrounding the lake.
Community members made this a special occasion, even adding personal messages such as "Happy Mother's Day", to gender reveals to one promposal asking "Will you go to the high school prom with me?"
City leaders say they hoped to gain the attention of the Guinness Book of World Records, however, the rock snake did not qualify.
After two years, city leaders are asking those who contributed to the rock collection to come out to the lake to collect them, saying the rock snake has endured varying weather conditions and many rocks have been displaced, as it sits along a walkway and where cars park.
Over the month of September, community members are asked to take their rocks to a new home.
Beginning in October, the SLO Painted Rock group along with Wanda Kohl and any volunteers interested, will be out collecting the remaining rocks.
They plan to be out at the lake Saturday mornings through October from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. If you would like to be a part of the volunteers, contact Wanda Kohl either by phone or text at (805) 468-9084.
City leaders want to thank all who participated in creating the rock snake and engaging in positive inspiration through the COVID years.