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 Ticonderoga – Pharaoh Lakes Wilderness
Lost Hiker: On July 6, 2015 at 12:25 p.m., Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC Ray Brook Dispatch from a 54-year-old woman from Diamond Pond, NY who was lost on the Lost Pond Trail near Putnam Pond. Essex County managed to obtain GPS coordinates and the woman’s phone number despite spotty service. A Forest Ranger arrived at the trailhead at 1:00 p.m. Dispatch established text contact with the woman and told her to make noise as the Forest Ranger approached. At 1:23 p.m. the Forest Ranger made voice contact with the woman and located her. He escorted her back to her vehicle. The incident concluded at 1:51 p.m.
Town of North Elba – High Peaks Wilderness
Injured Hiker: On July 8, 2015 at 10:34 a.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call reporting an injured member of a hiking party on the trail to Algonquin. The 51-year-old woman from Belfont, PA sustained a lower leg injury and was unable to proceed. Dispatch contacted the Marcy Dam Caretaker to respond and complete an assessment. Additional DEC Forest Rangers also responded. At 11:04 a.m. the Marcy Dam caretaker reached the hiker, provided first aid and advised that a carryout would be necessary. At 11:57 a.m. three Rangers, an Assistant Forest Ranger and the Marcy Dam caretaker began the carryout just above the Whales Trail Junction. Two members of the injured hiker’s party also assisted. They carried her to the Whales Trail Junction and transferred her to an All-Terrain Vehicle for the remaining two-mile transport. Rangers released the injured hiker at the Adirondack Loj and she told them she would seek medical attention on her own. The incident concluded at 3:00 p.m.
Town of North Elba – McKenzie Mountain Wilderness
Injured Hiker: On July 8, 2015 at 10:38 a.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from the husband of a 56-year-old woman reporting the couple was hiking the trail to Haystack Mountain when she slipped on some wet roots and sustained a lower leg injury. DEC Forest Rangers responded and initiated a carry-out, bringing her back down to the trailhead. The incident concluded at 12:24 p.m.
Town of Wilmington – Wilmington Wild Forest
Injured Hiker: On July 10, 2015 at 7:56 p.m., Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC Ray Brook Dispatch regarding an injured hiker on Esther Mountain. The 56-year-old woman from Rochester, NY slipped while descending the mountain and sustained a lower leg injury. Five DEC Forest Rangers responded to the GPS coordinates that Essex County 911 provided. Forest Rangers reached the woman at 10:30 p.m. They carried the hiker over a mile until she could be evacuated by an All-Terrain Vehicle to the Flume Trail in Wilmington. The Rangers released her to the Wilmington Rescue Squad at 12:58 a.m. and transported to Elizabethtown Community Hospital.
Town of North Elba – High Peaks Wilderness
Injured Hikers: On July 12, 2015 at 1:52 p.m., an Assistant Forest Ranger contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch about an injured 14-year-old girl from New York City at the junction of the Long and Short Trail at Mt. Jo. She sustained a lower leg injury and could not proceed. DEC Forest Rangers responded to the area to assist the girl out of the woods. When they arrived at 2:45 p.m., they discovered another injured girl, 12 years old, from New York City who needed assistance. Dispatch contacted the Lake Placid Ambulance Squad asking them to meet the group at the Adirondack Loj. At 3:37 p.m. all parties were out of the woods. They transported the 14-year-old girl to Lake Placid Adirondack Health Center. The 12-year-old told Rangers she would seek medical attention on her own with the assistance of a camp counselor.
Town of Blue Mountain Lake – Blue Mountain Wild Forest
Injured Hiker: On July 9, 2015 at 4:48 p.m., a DEC Blue Mountain backcountry steward and a DEC Forest Ranger assisted a 56-year-old female hiker from Stanford, CT who sustained a lower leg injury on Blue Mountain. The hiker was able to walk out slowly on her own with assistance from the Forest Ranger and steward. They provided her with first aid and crutches. At 6:47 p.m. the woman returned to her vehicle and advised she would seek medical attention on her own.