National Park Trail Closes For ‘Unknown Hazards’ Where Family And Dog Were Found Dead

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Jesse Stiller Contributor
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Federal officials have closed several campgrounds and trails around Yosemite National Park in California after a family, including their pet dog, were discovered dead Aug. 17.

Officials working with the U.S. Forest Service, in conjunction with officials from the Sierra National Forest and Yosemite Park closed the areas due to “unknown hazards” that were discovered around the Savage Lundy Trail, CNN reported Wednesday.

“As a precaution and to protect the public from unknown hazards in the area, The SNF decided to close several recreation sites, roads, and trails along the Merced River and its South Fork, until deemed safe for public use,” a statement from the United States Department of Agriculture read in part.

The closures would be effective between Aug. 29 to Sept. 26, according to the statement, adding that the order cold be terminated early if conditions improved.

“It is important to note that as of mid-July, Forest officials have posted warning signs of potentially harmful algal blooms (HABs) identified in the South Fork of the Merced River,” the statement read.

Three people, including a 1-year-old infant and a dog belonging to the family, were discovered along the trail Aug. 17 near the fork of the Merced River, according to CNN. (RELATED: Authorities Find Parents, 1-Year-Old, Dog All Dead In Forest And Are ‘Treating It As A Hazmat Situation’) 

Investigators are conducting autopsies and toxicology exams on the family in regards to the cause of their deaths, CNN reported, while a necropsy on the dog was inconclusive.

Water samples from the area were sent to labs for testing of the “harmful algal blooms,” along with the family’s drinking water, CNN reported.

“Cases like this require us to be methodical and thorough while also reaching out to every resource we can find to help us bring those answers to them as quickly as we can,” Mariposa County Sheriff Jeremy Briese told CNN regarding the investigation.

Several other parks around the area had also been closed due to historic wildfires raging across the state of California, CNN reported.

In July, a hiker from Washington state died in record-breaking heat during a hike in Death Valley, where temperatures registered up to 118 degrees at the time.