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No. 6: Wagon Train State Recreation Area

Wagon Train Lake is the focal point of Wagon Train State Recreation Area. In 2016, 952,625 people visited the area.

Wagon Train Lake has been deemed safe again after a health alert was issued last month due to high levels of harmful algal blooms in the water, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Boating and fishing were allowed during the closure, but now visitors will be able to swim, water ski, jet ski and bring their pets near the water. 

The bloom was caused by a toxic strain of blue-green algae that caused levels of the chemical microcystin to reach dangerous levels. 

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Weekly sampling has been conducted in lakes across the state since May. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission recently lowered its safety threshold for microcystin from 20 parts per billion to eight in order to align with new Environmental Protection Agency guidelines.

Unsafe mircrocystin levels were found this week in Maple Creek Recreation Area Lake in Colfax County and Kirkman’s Cove Lake in Richardson County, leading to restrictions there.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7223 or nmcconnell@journalstar.com.