Toxic algae closes Cranberry Lake

Cranberry Lake in Deception Pass State Park is closed for an indeterminate time due to a toxic blue-green algae.

Jack Hartt, Deception Pass park manager, said that last week, there was a spike of E.coli because of the water fowl, but that is gone now. The algae, however, is more dangerous than E.coli.

"When you ingest it is when it's brought into the body, and it can cause neural damage, and so we are asking all people to stay entirely out of the water, Hartt said.

That means "no boating, no fishing, not swimming, no wading," he said.

The condition of the lake is monitored by the Island County Department of Health, and officials with that agencies will determine when the lake is safe to reopen, according to Hartt.

To his knowledge, Hartt said, this is the first time in his 11 years with the park that this algae has presented a problem in Cranberry Lake.

The algae is naturally occurring, said Hartt, and it is more likely to grow in warm weather.

"We have had some unusually warm weather for Island County, which I am grateful for," said Hartt.

"But not when it causes these kinds of problems."

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