During the COVID-19 pandemic, many lake residents are spending more time outside, getting fresh air and taking walks in their communities and in parks. These outings have led to the discovery of painted rocks with pictures and inspirational messages popping up along sidewalks and hiking trails.

“What a great way to spread cheer and bring a smile to the residents of the community during this time of unknown,” said Moneta resident Stefanie Rucker, who recently spotted numerous rocks in her community.

Painted rocks have been seen dotting the trails at Smith Mountain Lake Community Park in Scruggs and at Franklin County Humane Society in Rocky Mount.

“Look what someone left yesterday,” one staff member posted to the humane society’s Facebook page with a picture of an animal paw print with a heart in the middle. “It makes us smile.”