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Blue-green algae advisory puts a damper on activities at Gull Lake


A blue-green algae advisory has put a damper on activities on Gull Lake until further notice, bringing an early end to some summer activities.

Located about 12 km east of Hwy 2, Gull Lake is surrounded by campgrounds, cabins and campgrounds. Two large provincial parks, including a public beach area, sit on the south and southwest shores of the lake.

Alberta Health Services issued a blue-green algae advisory on the lake on Wednesday.

Residents and visitors are advised to not drink the water or allow pets to drink the water, not swim or wade or allow pets to swim or wade in the lake and avoid contact with algae along the shoreline.

Lynn Henkel, an owner of Summerland Leisure Park, which is on the south side of Hwy 12, across from the south tip of the lake, said they had only one cancellation so far in light of the advisory.

“They have children and the beach was the weekend entertainment,” said Henkel. “That’s the only cancellation I’ve had.”

On the whole, though, Henkel said it has been a good summer for the park.

People may also want to limit their consumption of whole fish and fish trimmings from the lake, as fish may store toxins in their liver. However, it is safe to consume fish fillets from this lake.

Blue-green algae produces a toxin that can cause serious illness to animals and humans who drink or have skin contact with the contaminated water.

According to AHS, this advisory will remain in effect until further notice.

Symptoms usually appear within one to three hours and are resolved within two days, they include skin irritation, a rash, sore throat, sore red eyes, swollen lips, fever, nausea and vomiting or diarrhea.

Boiling blue-green algae contaminated water does not remove the toxins.

Other lakes affected by blue-green algae advisories in Central Alberta include Pine Lake, Pigeon Lake, Alix Lake and Haunted Lake.

 
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