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Atascadero Lake at 100 percent capacity; Council to consider allowing paddleboards

Posted: Thursday, Feb 9th, 2017

ATASCADERO — Atascadero Lake officially reached capacity this week and water began to flow over the spillway at the northeast corner of the lake.

Children splashed and played in the spillway as water flowed from the lake, through the lake park and back to Atascadero Creek for the first time since 2010.

A new dock was installed along Marchant Avenue earlier this week that will be used by Atascadero Paddleboat for paddleboat and kayak rentals. Atascadero Paddleboat opened briefly last summer until the water level in the lake dropped to the point where boats were no longer practical.

The Atascadero City Council will decide this Tuesday whether or not it will allow paddleboarders to join in the fun. Paddle boarding — a sport involving standing on a surf board and paddling — has been banned at the lake since 1985 when the city made it illegal to operate any “surf board-like vessels” on the lake in an effort to stop people from wind surfing, a sport that was popular at the time.

The city granted the Friends of Atascadero Lake a temporary reprieve from the law and allowed the group to host paddleboarding activities on the lake during its Lake Fest event last year. After the success of the event members of the Friends of Atascadero Lake and the local paddleboarding community asked the council to consider changing the law to allow paddleboarding permanently.

“Stand-up paddleboarding, a popular recreational sport, utilizes a surfboard-like vessel and is considered to be a safe, family-friendly form of recreation and exercise,” read a staff report prepared by the City Manager’s office.

After hearing the requests and researching the sport, city staff is recommending changing the law to allow surfboard-like vessels under eight feet in length.

“Amending the AMC to no longer prohibit water activities such as paddleboarding will increase residents’ and visitors’ enjoyment of Atascadero Lake Park and the City has the potential to bring additional commercial and tourism-enhancing activites,” the staff report read.

If the council approves the proposal, water sport activities would be limited to half-an-hour before sunrise and half-an-hour after sunset. The city would also reserve the right to shut down water sport activities if deemed necessary. The public works department is currently discussing options to update signage around the lake to indicate that anyone participating in activities on the lake do so at their own risk. The signage would continue to include language that prohibits swimming at the lake.

According to the staff report, the change in the city ordinance would have no financial impact to the City.

The City Council will make a decision regarding paddleboards on the lake at its meeting Feb. 14 at 6 p.m.

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