It’s Sad to See Atascadero Lake So Shallow

Atascadero Lake Is a Shadow of What It Was When I First Saw It Years Ago.

When I first moved to Templeton, Atascadero Lake was full. There was, and still is, a walking path around it. In those days, the walk was more scenic. Ducks, geese, and loons called the lake home and lurked around the lake’s edges, hoping someone would break the rules and feed them. People did. Not much of that lake is left. Here’s the way the lake looked in March,  2016.

It's Sad to See Atascadero Lake So Shallow
Atascadero Lake, March 9, 2016, © B. Radisavljevic

It was full in 2012, but by December, 2013, it was almost dry, and it looked like this. Most of the water,  and the birds, are close to the pavilion. You can see what a small part of the lake that is. I took the picture standing in that dry mud in the foreground.

It's Sad to See Atascadero Lake So Shallow
Atascadero Lake Almost Dry, 12-30-2013, © B. Radisavljevic

There were still birds in the water.  I love to watch them. Here’s a quick video  of the waterfowl I uploaded on November, 15. 2013.

In spite  of   the shallow lake level, people were still using their kayaks on what was left of the lake.

It's Sad to See Atascadero Lake So Shallow
People Loading Kayaks at Atascadero Lake, December, 2013, © B. Radisavljevic

Here are some of the birds scrounging  for food near what’s left of the lake.

It's Sad to See Atascadero Lake So Shallow
Birds Looking for Food, Atascadero Lake, December 2013, © B. Radisavljevic

If you’d like to hear those birds, as well as   to see them scurry, watch the video,  taken that same day.


By September, 2014, the lake was dry. This is all there was. You can see the last  place there had been  water in the  center.

It's Sad to See Atascadero Lake So Shallow
Dry Atascadero Lake, 9-26-2014, © B. Radisavljevic


Atascadero Lake Knew Better Times.

On June 8, 2010, I took a walk around the lake. I had my little Flip video camera with me that  day, and I wanted to capture the various birds I saw in and above the lake. I did not add any sound because I wanted the birdsong to be heard. If you watch the video, you will see that there is still an island, and many of the birds captured in the video are on the island or swimming in the channel  around it. Now that channel is dry.

You will also note how the lake hugs the shoreline.


I made these jigsaw puzzle photos at Zazzle when the lake was full during the normal years. Why not get one to remember how the lake used to be, full of wildlife.

 Pair of Coots Swimming on Lake Puzzle Night Heron in Tree Jigsaw Puzzle Atascadero Lake Park Pavilion Puzzle


Back in 2010, there was even a small working submarine in the lake. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a zoom on my camera back then, and the submarine was on the far side of the lake from where I was standing.

It's Sad to See Atascadero Lake So Shallow
Submarine, Atascadero Lake, June 2010, © B. Radisavljevic

In September, 2012, the lake was still doing well. It was no problem for  this dog to play fetch with its human  friend.

There was still an island, and this bird was perched on a branch that extended over the channel between the shore and the island.

It's Sad to See Atascadero Lake So Shallow
Bird Perched Over Channel between Shore and Island, © B. Radisavljevic

Notice in this next photo, also taken in September, 2012, how the lake water comes  right up to the pavilion and also hugs the shore.

It's Sad to See Atascadero Lake So Shallow
Atascadero Lake Pavilion, September 2012, © B. Radisavljevic

In September, 2012 I saw this man kayaking on the lake and captured this video.


The Future of Atascadero Lake

I hope you are rooting for the lake to come back all the way, as I am. A Facebook Group has been formed for Friends of the Atascadero Lake. The Friends of the Atascadero Lake are committed to working to see that the lake is as full as possible, and that the water is clean. I hope you will share this small slice of the history of the Atascadero Lake. For more on this subject and a video of the Atascadero Lake Restoration Project in progress, see The State of Atascadero Lake Breaks My Heart.

This last photo of the lake is designed for Pinterest if you’d like to share it.

It's Sad to See Atascadero Lake So Shallow: A photo history of Atascadero Lake from 2010-2016



Share This:

8 thoughts on “It’s Sad to See Atascadero Lake So Shallow

  • July 10, 2016 at 1:25 am

    Barbara, thanks for the tour of Atascadero Lake and environs! I love all the pictures. And it is so sad that the water levels are down. I have to believe that, as climate varies from year to year, that California will have more rain sometime upcoming. I pray for rain for California overall, and for the
    Atascadero Lake area.

    • July 10, 2016 at 5:48 am

      Kebba, all of us in this area pray for rain, too. Thank, you for coming by to see our local lake.

    • July 10, 2016 at 5:28 am

      Alice, I hope so, too. At least there is a group now that has made it a cause.

  • July 10, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    So sad and devastating. Hope the restoration efforts can become a reality with alot of help from mother nature.

    • July 11, 2016 at 3:14 am

      All it would take is enough rain. So I pray for rain.

  • July 10, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    that is very sad, very strange to see a Lake disappear (from the perspective of where I live) – really hope things can turn around

    • July 11, 2016 at 3:15 am

      I suppose most of us would like to see rainfall even out a bit so that no one suffers from either drought or flooding.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *