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:
Town of Wilmington – Wilmington Wild Forest
Distressed Hiker: On June 17, 2015 at 5:00 p.m., Essex County 911 notified DEC Ray Brook Dispatch of a 51-year-old man from Brooklyn, MI, conscious but unable to get out of the AuSable River at the Wilmington Flume. One DEC Forest Ranger responded along with Wilmington Fire Department and EMS Personnel. The man managed to get out of the water by the time they arrived, but was trapped on a ledge approximately 40 feet downstream and unable to return to the shoreline. The Forest Ranger directed setup of a belay line for lowering and hauling up the rescuer and hiker. The man had been hiking on a herd path, taking photos, when he leaned around a tree and slipped and fell into the AuSable River. Emergency crews transported him to Adirondack Medical Center in Lake Placid for evaluation at 5:55 p.m.
Town of Wilmington – McKenzie Mountain Wilderness
Lost Hikers On June 20, 2015 at 7:04 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from two female hikers lost on a trail on Whiteface Mountain. The 25-year-old woman from Brooklyn and 26-year-old woman from Ballston Falls, NY lost the trail while returning to Connery Pond from Whiteface Landing. Neither hiker carried a map, compass or light. Dispatch advised the hikers to call 911 to obtain GPS coordinates from their cell phones. A DEC Forest Ranger responded by boat, arriving at Whiteface Landing at 8:14 p.m. During the course of this search, dispatch asked the women to contact 911 two additional times for coordinates, but the coordinates were incorrect. The Forest Ranger eventually made verbal contact with the hikers and located them in good condition at 11:25 p.m. The Ranger escorted them back to Whiteface Landing where they traveled by boat to the Lake Placid marina. The Ranger then gave them a ride back to their vehicle.
Town of Webb – Fulton Chain Wild Forest
Lost Hiker: On June 21, 2015 at 3:45 p.m., a DEC Forest Ranger on patrol in the Fulton Chain Wild Forest learned of a female hiker lost on Bald Mountain. The 36-year-old female from Utica, NY called Herkimer County 911 reporting she had become disoriented ¼ mile from the top and lost the trail. Additional Forest Rangers responded. They located the women in good condition shortly after arriving. The incident concluded at 5:50 p.m.
Town of Fort Ann – Lake George Wild Forest
Distressed Hiker: On June 20, 2015 at 5:20 p.m., Washington County 911 notified DEC Ray Brook Dispatch of a female hiker in medical distress on Buck Mountain. The 51-year-old woman from Wilton, NY could not continue the hike. DEC Forest Rangers responded with New York State Police Aviation to the summit at 8:00 p.m. They hoisted the woman out at 8:13 p.m. and turned her over to North Queensbury EMS at 8:23 p.m. Forest Rangers escorted the remaining member of the hiking party to the trailhead. All units were clear at 10:06 p.m.