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The watermelon rock is back on Bishop Peak

What is the #BishopMelon in SLO?

A rock near the Bishop Peak trailhead on Highland Drive in San Luis Obispo was once again painted to look like a watermelon slice. The rock sparked a public debate when it was vandalized and cleaned in November. Hikers noticed the fresh paint job
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A rock near the Bishop Peak trailhead on Highland Drive in San Luis Obispo was once again painted to look like a watermelon slice. The rock sparked a public debate when it was vandalized and cleaned in November. Hikers noticed the fresh paint job

The whimsical vandal who painted a rock like a slice of watermelon on a Bishop Peak trailhead has struck again, repainting the boulder in a Christmas gift that likely won’t be welcomed by the city of San Luis Obispo.

The rock, located near the Highland Drive trailhead, was first colorfully decorated in early November and promptly washed clean by the city.

Hikers noticed the rock’s return on Christmas Day, but it’s not yet clear just when it was repainted.

The new version doesn’t have as much detail in the green paint as the original ... and it is missing the “#BishopMelon.”

Bishop Watermelon020
A rock along the Bishop Peak trail near Highland Drive was originally painted to look like a slice of watermelon in November. Joe Johnston jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

City Natural Resources Manager Robert Hill told the Tribune at the time of the first painting that the incident was a crime of vandalism that carried a felony penalty if the costs to repair the damage exceeded $1,000, and a misdemeanor if costs were under $1,000.

The total cost to the city for the original cleanup ended up at 17 hours of labor and less than $100 in materials, Hill said.

Though the #BishopMelon had a short lifespan, it sparked divisive debates in the Tribune’s Letters to the Editor, with writers alternately calling the melon an act of vandalism that should be punished and a harmless bit of paint, compared to the vandalism of building the trail.

The Tribune was unable to reach Hill for comment on the latest incident and what the city’s action will be.

Gabby Ferreira: 805-781-7858, @Its_GabbyF

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