Now's a good time to fix up Atascadero Lake Park

Special to The TribuneAugust 5, 2013 

I’m glad the city wants to continue with improvements at the Atascadero Lake Park and the Charles Paddock Zoo and things in between.

A lot of improvements have been done already such as the new signage, curbing in the parking/entrance area, the Faces of Freedom Memorial, the recently completed Centennial Bandstand and the flamingo exhibit at the entrance to the zoo.

I would suggest if they aren’t going to clean up the zoo that fronts on Morro Road the city should invest in a fence you can’t see through.

I know the lake is looking more like a mud puddle these days, but that happens periodically. The city should take advantage of the low-water situation. Except for the area near the boat rental facility and pier, I think I could drive my Jeep all around the shoreline.

Now would be a good time to get in there and scoop out the soil around the edge. I’m sure they could sell it to folks who want some very hot duck poop-enriched soil. Back in 1962, when the lake was low like it is now, the county removed much of the soil, but instead of hauling it away, they built the island at the south end of the lake.

Now would be a good time to repair the rock seawall that runs for just a little more than 200 feet between the pavilion and the boat rental facility. I’ve been watching that wall fall into disrepair for almost 40 years. It looks ugly. Some of the rock benches here need improvements, and the path is so rough it isn’t safe to walk on anymore. Cottonwood trees are growing up through the cracks in the present wall. They need to be cut away.

The area in question is right next to the pavilion and a new wedding gazebo. It seems odd that the city would overlook the rock wall all these years. Users of both facilities walk this pathway next to the crumbling wall.

This would make a good project for volunteers to do while the lake is still down. You know, like those volunteers who built the baseball fields, the bocce ball courts, the new horseshoe pits and a lot of other improvements throughout the community.

You can get trucks and other equipment in there right now to do the work.

Of course, in these days the wall will have to be “engineered” and probably some environmental reports completed, all taking up precious time to actually get it done.

But let’s at least get it on a list of “things to fix at the lake park.”

Lon Allan has lived in Atascadero for nearly five decades and his column is published weekly. Reach him at 466-8529 or

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