Nobody should be denied the pleasure of cooling off with a refreshing swim in their favorite body of water, especially in this prolonged, near-record heat wave and especially if they happen to live a stone-skip away from the body of water.
Unfortunately, this is the dilemma faced by the residents around Kinderhook Lake, which has been found to contain a harmful concentration of algae, according to a report issued by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
Test samples taken from the lake June 26 confirmed the presence of cyanobacteria. Touching, swallowing or inhaling the bacteria can result in nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and irritation of the skin, eyes and throat, according to the DEC.
DEC officials issued a warning that swimmers should avoid Kinderhook Lake or risk becoming sick from exposure to cyanobacteria. The reaction of lakeside residents was something akin to being told by the Amity Island police in “Jaws” that the beaches are going to be closed because of possible shark activity.
In other words, it’s a challenge the people of Kinderhook Lake couldn’t refuse.
“It doesn’t keep us out of the water,” Dennis Shields, of Kinderhook, said after he stepped off a Jet Ski close to the boat launch. “People have roots around here and are passionate about the lake.”
The Kinderhook Lake Corporation, which manages the body of water, found algae bloom counts dropped since the DEC sampling last Tuesday, corporation president Bill Cleary said Monday.
Declaring the water clarity good, Cleary wisely added a proviso to his statement: Residents should check the Kinderhook Lake Corporation website, take precautions and make their own decisions when it comes to swimming in the lake.
Credit goes to Cleary for touching all the bases: Don’t take anything for granted, stay up to date and it’s better to be safe than sorry.