ELKTON, Ore -- Elk Creek is normally a recreation hot spot. One resident called it a natural water park. On a nice day it would be packed full of people swimming, boating, fishing. On Saturday, the water was almost empty. The health department said that's probably a good thing because there is a new danger lurking beneath the surface.
Tests on water samples taken around Elk Creek found high levels of blue-green algae. According to the health department it's toxic and very dangerous. Drinking and touching the algae could lead to heart problems and stomach pains.
It's a big warning that few seem to know about.
"Hadn't heard about it," said Linda Nading.
Park caretaker Terry Simpson said he is doing his best to get the word out.
"I'm just making sure that people are aware of it at this point because we don't want anybody getting sick," said Simpson.
The algae didn't keep everyone out of the water. The Harvey family couldn't resist the rush of the rapids. They spent the morning kayaking down the river. Kim Harvey said she knew about the algae bloom but she did wasn't worried about it making her sick.
There were people fishing. They didn't want to talk on-camera, but they said they were not going to eat the fish, just catch and release.
Tissue samples from some of the dogs are still being tested. So at this point, health officials cannot confirm the algae caused their deaths. Still the health department is advising people to stay away from the water.