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Zion National Park warns of toxins in Virgin River

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Posted at 10:18 PM, Mar 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-24 01:04:41-04

SPRINGDALE, Utah -- Zion National Park officials are advising visitors to avoid a portion of the Virgin River after dangerous levels of toxins were detected.

A Facebook post from the park stated that an amount of cyanotoxins that "poses a risk to recreators" was detected in the North Fork of the river this month.

They have issued a "Danger Advisory" and are now telling visitors to avoid all contact with the water in that portion of the river, which includes the Narrows, until further notice.

Park officials wrote that they had been actively monitoring the North Fork, North Creek and La Verkin Creek for cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins after a dog was killed by a harmful algal bloom in the North Fork in July 2020. Testing found that the bloom contained anatoxin.

The park also said a "Warning Advisory" is now in place for North Creek based on the presence of cyanotoxins, and La Verkin Creek has a "Health Watch" for harmful cyanobacteria that could produce cyanotoxins. They advise against "primary contact," which they said includes swimming or submerging one's head in the water. They're also telling visitors to not filter drinking water from any of the streams in the park until further notice.