About the Colony

Event to celebrate Atascadero Lake as a community treasure

This weekend’s LakeFest aims to gather support for Atascadero Lake, which has been hard-hit by the drought.
This weekend’s LakeFest aims to gather support for Atascadero Lake, which has been hard-hit by the drought. jtarica@thetribunenews.com

Over the past 40-plus years, I’ve reported on a number of “friends” groups that have supported so many causes.

From the women’s shelter to a new library, a performing arts venue and more, I like to call them “forces for good.”

They aren’t there to tear down, but to build up, which is the essence of a piece penned by the city’s founder, E.G. Lewis, in “The Ideal Atascaderan.” Lewis said his Colony needed the person who, “… if he cannot himself design and conceive the structure, helps at least to pass up the mortar and the bricks to build it.”

One of the newest forces for good in the city is Friends of Atascadero Lake. The organization formed several years ago as the water level began its steady drop to empty.

Friends of that little lake decided to bring about attention on ways to preserve and enhance it. They cut brush and trees along the shoreline and even came up with a source of water that should actually be flowing by the middle of this very summer. The source of well water less than a mile away that is going to be piped to the lake won’t fill it, but it may at least slow the present loss of lake water to evaporation. A friend of mine close to the lake support group said the lake is already dropping about two inches a day.

And now the group is planning the first of what it hopes will become an annual event on Saturday. They are calling it “LakeFest,” and it will run from noon to 5 p.m.

There is no cost to get in. A board member from Friends of Atascadero Lake said the event has been planned not so much to raise money for water quality, but to demonstrate to the city how important the lake is to Atascadero’s identity and sense of well-being.

Current plans for Saturday’s event include a cardboard boat-building competition and race, a standup paddleboard exhibition and race, a bounce house, a live radio broadcast, an antique boat exhibition and a performance by the SLO County Band. A number of children’s games are planned, as well as several food and retail booths.

Personally, I have a 1-meter sailboat, and I’ve been waiting for the return of the lake to put the craft in the water. I witnessed one on the lake a few days ago, and even in that small scale, it looked good sailing with the wind.

This Saturday is about bringing more focus on the lake and its intrinsic value to the city if it is maintained to its fullest.

Lon Allan’s column is special to The Tribune. Email leallan@tcsn.net.