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The Kansan - Newton, KS
  • Parks supervisor hopes algae, drought won’t stop visitors

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  • ?Although blue-green algae warnings and the summer drought have impacted Harvey County lakes, Kass Miller hopes people still will make an effort to visit the parks this weekend.?“Come on out and enjoy the Labor Day weekend,” said Miller, who is the Camp Hawk/East Park supervisor.?Miller hopes the parks will be busy, although blue-green algae warnings at West Park and East Park have slowed business.?Visitors are asked not to swim or come into contact with the water while at West Park or East Park (Miller said swimming is not allowed in the waters at Camp Hawk, regardless of whether or not there is blue-green algae).?According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, people are encouraged to avoid activities such as swimming, boating and skiing that could cause them to swallow, touch or inhale water with blue-green algal toxins. Contact with the blue-green algae could cause symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, blistering, abdominal pain and vomiting.?However, Miller said plenty of other activities are available at the parks. Camping still is allowed, and Miller recommends the parks’ nature trails, horse trails, sand volleyball and playgrounds. It also is still safe to go fishing and eat the fish you catch — just make sure to skin the fish and wash the fillets thoroughly.?East and West Park lakes will be stocked this Saturday, so there will be plenty of fish to catch, Miller said.?Miller also advises park visitors to be careful if they decide to light a campfire, due to the drought. Although campfires still are allowed at county parks, visitors must use one of the park fire pits provided by the county, or a fire pit of their own that is elevated off the ground.?For more information about Harvey County parks, visit www.harveycounty.com/departments/parks.html.

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