New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents statewide. Working with other state agencies, local emergency response organizations and volunteer search and rescue groups, Forest Rangers locate and extract lost, injured or distressed people from the backcountry.
“DEC Forest Rangers’ knowledge of first aid, land navigation and technical rescue techniques are often critical to the success of their missions,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. “Search and rescue missions often require Rangers to function in remote wilderness areas from rugged mountainous peaks to white-water rivers, and through vast forest areas from spruce-fir thicket to open hardwoods.”
Recent missions carried out by DEC Forest Rangers in the Adirondacks include:
High Peaks Wilderness – Town of North Elba
Injured Hiker: On June 7, 2015 at 2:54 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a 76-year-old woman from Plattsburgh reporting she had sustained a lower leg injury while hiking Mt. Jo. DEC Forest Rangers, an Assistant Forest Ranger, and the Marcy Dam caretaker responded. They carried the hiker out to Mt. Jo trailhead at the Adirondack Loj, where the Lake Placid Rescue Squad transported her to Adirondack Medical Center in Lake Placid. The incident concluded at 4:30 p.m.
Town of Harrietstown – McKenzie Mountain Wilderness
Lost Hiker: On June 3, 2015 at 2:45 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a 22-year-old woman from Saranac Lake reporting she had become lost while hiking on Mt. Baker. DEC dispatch advised her to call 911 so that her GPS coordinates could be obtained. DEC Forest Rangers located the woman along the shoreline of McKenzie Pond in the vicinity of North Bay. A nearby homeowner transported her across McKenzie Pond. No further action was taken. The incident concluded at 5:30 p.m.
Town of Harrietstown – High Peaks Wilderness
Lost Hiker: On June 3, 2015 at 6:30 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call reporting two lost hikers on Ampersand Mountain. The 68-year-old man from Malone and 66-year-old woman from Winthrop become lost while descending the mountain. They had bushwhacked for approximately four hours before calling for help. DEC Forest Rangers responded, located the pair by a small stream near the base of the mountain and escorted them out without further incident. The incident concluded at 8:30 p.m.
Town of Indian Lake – West Canada Lakes Wilderness
Distressed Hiker: On June 1, 2015 at 12:58 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from New York State Police Central Dispatch reporting a 15-year-old boy from Canastota in medical distress at the top of Snowy Mountain. DEC Forest Rangers responded and located the teen approximately one mile up the trail, hiking out under his own power. He called 911 after becoming separated from his brother. A short time later, he located his brother and they both hiked out without further incident. No further action was taken. The incident concluded at 4:00 p.m.
Nicks Lake Campground – Town of Webb
Lost Hiker: On June 7, 2015 at 9:51 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch learned that a lost hiker had called Herkimer County 911 for help. One DEC Forest Ranger responded and located the 48-year-old woman from Monument County at 11:35 p.m. along Nicks Creek. The Forest Ranger escorted her back to her vehicle at the campground beach parking area. The Town of Webb Rescue Squad evaluated the woman and released her at 12:45 a.m.
Lake George Wild Forest – Town of Fort Ann
Lost Hiker: On Wednesday, June 3, at 6:48 p.m. DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a report that a 13-year-old boy had become separated from a group of Washington County students on a class trip in the Shelving Rock Area of the Lake George Wild Forest, in the Town of Fort Ann, Washington County. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded to the area and began searching for the student who was last seen at 6:30 p.m. while the group was returning from Shelving Rock Mountain. However, prior to a search by Forest Rangers, the missing student had reached the road and flagged down a passing vehicle. The driver happened to be a member of the West Fort Ann Fire Department who was already responding to the incident. The driver transported the student to the Hogtown Parking Lot where he was examined by the Ft. Ann EMS and released. No further action was taken.