Oh those geese. Just like the summer of 2012, Cranberry Lake has been closed to swimming, effective August 4, due to high levels of fecal coliform.
Our most recent test of the lake, performed July 31, showed levels well in excess of what is considered satisfactory for swimming in the water.
The closure will remain in effect until the levels come down, which in 2012 did not happen until May of 2013!
We regret this closure, as we recognize how it impacts local community members who come here to swim, along with our thousands of campers who have reserved campsites here in August expecting that swimming will be a part of their recreational experience. The beach has been posted and fenced off as a precautionary measure to make sure everyone understands the hazard.
The fecal coliform is a direct result of the abundance of Canada Geese that have begun to inhabit the lakeshore in the past few years.
Normally, Canada Geese were migratory, and stayed at the lake only for short periods of time.
Now, they have become residents, living here year round.
Last year, we were able to move the geese out of the lake, and our numbers stayed down once they came down in May.
This year, we again moved the geese away, but a new flock of geese arrived recently. Each goose is capable of leaving behind a pound of droppings per bird per day. Add up what a flock of twenty or fifty geese can do over the course of a week, let along fifty two weeks, and you see the source of our problem. The park will lose tens of thousands of dollars in revenue from visitors not coming to the park because they cannot swim here.
In addition, our concession at West Beach that sells food stuffs to swimmers and picnickers in the area will also lose thousands of dollars.
The Island County Department of Health has been working very closely with us to monitor these numbers, and this will continue in the weeks and months ahead.
Our visitor safety comes first, so the closure was undertaken immediately upon hearing the news.
Photo taken in August of 2012.