If your ball trickles into the pond on the right and you can see it, it would probably be OK to retrieve it.
But if it goes in the one on the left, forget it. Take out another ball and play on.
A small sign with small print posted on the bank of the left-hand pond reads:
“Public Notice: A bloom of blue-green algae has been found on this pond this week. Visitors should avoid contact with surface scum, limit their contact with lake water, and avoid ingesting lake water while the situation is investigated.”
“We sent samples in (to the Ohio EPA) and we expect to have the results back by Tuesday,” said Mark Hoffhines, assistant manager of Shawnee State Park. “We actually drew samples at four of the five ponds on the course, but this is the only pond that shows signs of a bloom of algae.”
The light green scum can be seen covering at least half of the pond surface.
The sign was posted so that golfers wouldn’t retrieve balls hit into the pond, a grass-cutter said. Yet the sign is posted on the side of the pond opposite from the fairway.
The algae blooms can produce toxins that can sicken people and kill pets, officials with the department said.
“We’re taking every precaution possible since state officials became concerned about algae on lakes at several state parks ,” Hoffhines said. “The thing about this algae is that it does not become toxic until it dies. That’s when it releases toxin into the water.”
Shawnee State Park was one of three Ohio state parks where fear of toxic algae spread this week. The other two were Dillon State Park’s lake in Muskingum County and Lake Hope State Park in Vinton County.
That brought to six the number of state parks in Ohio where Ohio Department of Natural Resources officials have issued warning about potentially toxic water. The department continues to monitor and test water at Burr Oak Park’s lake in Morgan and Athens counties, Cutler Lake in Blue Rock State Park in Muskingum County, and Grand Lake St. Mary, a large old lake, Ohio’s largest inland lake, located in northwest Ohio.
State health officials are investigating reports of more than a dozen people coming down with illnesses that might be linked to Grand Lake St. Mary, where they have warned people not to touch the water, take boats out on it, or eat any fish coming from it.
The tourism business and other businesses around the lake are suffering economic setback because of it, Hoffhines said.
Even though there has been no algae reported at the swimming beach on Turkey Creek Lake, lying within Shawnee State Park, the sandy beach was devoid of people at noon Thursday, when the air temperature had climbed above 90 degrees Farenheit.
“The beach just doesn’t get used in mid-week,” Hoffhines said. “We’ve been testing Turkey Creek and Lake Roosevelt as well for bacteria for the past 60 days or so. There’s no reason to be concerned about swimming and boating in either lake.”
Roosevelt, located two miles east of Turkey Creek, is where the state park’s campground is located on the western shore. Boat rentals are also available.
The golf course remains open and, with plenty of rain this summer, has greens and fairways in excellent shape.
Eighteen holes with a cart are available for $28 per golfer all day on Thursdays.
A twilight special, for golfers who tree off after 3 p.m. on Friday through Sunday, also calls for a fee of $28 for 18 holes with a cart.
Under that weekend deal, juniors play free when playing with a paying adult.
G. SAM PIATT can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236.