People headed to Lake Billy Chinook are advised to avoid some activities due to a harmful cyanobacterial algal bloom that can develop in the lake, according to the Oregon Health Authority, which issued a precautionary recreational use health advisory on Tuesday.
The lake, located 12 miles west of Madras, will remain open and accessible through the summer and recreational users are encouraged to visit the lake for activities, such as camping, hiking, biking, picnicking and birdwatching, according to a statement from the health authority.
Authorities are advising against swimming, water skiing, wakeboarding and other activities that involve getting in the water. Canoing, fishing and boating can be safe if speeds are kept low enough to avoid kicking up spray that could be inhaled.
Exposure to cyanotoxins can be serious and result in a range of symptoms similar to food poisoning such as stomach cramping, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.
Editor’s note: This article has been corrected. The original version misstated the recommendation of the Oregon Health Authority for boaters and the status of algae at the lake. The Bulletin regrets the error.