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DEC Advises Backcountry Visitors of Winter Conditions Throughout the Adirondacks

December 30th, 2015 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Winter Recreational Opportunities Available with Proper Preparation and Precautions

The recent snowstorm is providing good conditions for winter outdoor recreation in the Adirondack backcountry, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today. Visitors should be prepared with proper clothing and equipment for snow, ice and cold to ensure a safe and enjoyable winter experience.


“Now that snow has arrived in the Adirondacks, people can begin to take advantage of all the winter recreation opportunities in the Park,” Acting Commissioner Seggos said. “However, winter can also present dangerous – even perilous – conditions to those who are unprepared. Visitors exploring the backcountry should dress for cold weather and use snowshoes and skis to navigate trails where appropriate.”

Snow depths range from 2 to 6 inches, deeper in some local areas. The snow is wet with a surface crust of sleet and frozen snow, but will harden with the forecasted below freezing temperatures. The deepest snows are in the northern, eastern, and central Adirondacks where snow conditions for cross country skiing and snowmobiling range from fair to good. Snow depths are thinner and there is more ice in the western and southern portion. Snow depths are much deeper in the higher elevations like the High Peaks and other mountains over 3,000 feet. Additional snow is forecasted during the next several days with 6-12 inches expected in the western Adirondacks.

While snow is present throughout the Adirondacks, ice has only recently begun forming on waters and is not safe. Although the ice may have snow on the surface, it is not thick enough to hold the weight of anglers, snowshoers, skiers, skaters or snowmobiles. Ice will remain unsafe until temperatures fall below freezing for a significant continuous period. Avoid ice over running water, near inlets and outlets and near boathouses and docks – especially those with “bubblers” or other ice prevention devices. Learn more about safe practices for travel on ice on DEC’s website.

All seasonal access roads are closed to public motor vehicles at this time. Use of these roads by motor vehicles can tear up and rut snowmobile trails and even the roads themselves.

Most gates and designated snowmobile trails in the northern and central Adirondacks are or will be open by the weekend including the Moose River Plains, Perkins Clearing, Speculator Tree Farm and Franklin County trail systems. Much of these trail systems are just now being checked for blowdown, washouts and other problems. Snowmobilers should check on local trail conditions before heading out.

Skiers and snowshoers using designated snowmobiles trails should keep to side to allow safe passage of snowmobiles. Snowmobiles should slow down when passing skiers and snowshoers.

Visitors to the Eastern High Peaks and other mountains that exceed 3,000 feet should carry snowshoes for their safety and the safety of other backcountry users. Snowshoes or skis ease travel on snow and prevent “post holing”, which can ruin trails and cause sudden falls resulting in injuries. Ice crampons and traction devices should be carried for use on icy portions of the trails including summits and other exposed areas.

In addition, backcountry visitors should follow these safety guidelines:

  • Dress properly with layers of wool and fleece (NOT COTTON!) clothing: a wool or fleece hat, gloves or mittens, wind/rain resistant outer wear, and winter boots.
  • Carry a day pack with the following contents: Ice axe, plenty of food and water, extra clothing, map and compass, first-aid kit, flashlight/headlamp, sun glasses, sun-block protection, ensolite pads, stove and extra fuel, and bivy sack or space blankets.
  • Carry plenty of food and water. Eat, drink and rest often. Being tired, hungry or dehydrated makes you more susceptible to hypothermia.
  • Check weather before entering the woods – if the weather is poor, postpone your trip.
  • Be aware of weather conditions at all times – if the weather worsens, head out of the woods.
  • Know the terrain and your physical capabilities – it takes more time and energy to travel through snow.
  • Never travel alone and always inform someone of your intended route and return time.
  • Traveling through snow takes more energy and time than hiking the same distance, especially in freshly fallen snow. Plan trips accordingly.

Call the DEC Forest Ranger Emergency Dispatch at 518-891-0235 to report lost or injured people or other backcountry emergencies.

The DEC Adirondack Trail Information webpage provides current trail condition information and links to current weather, snow cover and other important information to help ensure a safe and enjoyable Adirondack backcountry winter experience.

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Adirondack Forest Ranger Search and Rescue Highlights: 10/19-10/25/15

October 26th, 2015 · No Comments · Adirondack News

NYSDEC LogoNew 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 Acting DEC Commissioner Marc Gerstman. “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:

Clinton County
Town of Ausable – County Land
Missing youth: On October 21, 2015 at 10:22 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance in finding a 15-year-old male from Keeseville, NY who had been missing since 6:45 p.m. DEC Forest Rangers responded to Ausable Valley Central School where the command post was established. More than 50 firemen from four different departments; including Keeseville, Peru, Ausable and Morrisonville, assisted in search efforts. Responders conducted a search of 50 acres surrounding the school grounds with no results. The incident was turned over to New York State Police. At 10:30 a.m. the following morning a member of the school recognized the young man in the vicinity of the school. The staffer returned him to his parents.

Essex County
Town of Keene – High Peaks Wilderness
Lost hikers: On October 25, 2015 at 7:01 p.m., Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC Ray Brook Dispatch from two lost hikers. The 29-year-old man and 26-year-old woman, both from Brockport, NY stated that while descending The Brothers they lost the trail and were not able to find it due to darkness. They were in good health but did not have flashlights or headlamps. Essex County 911 was able to provide their GPS coordinates placing them approximately .58 miles from the Garden Parking area. A DEC Forest Ranger located the pair and escorted them out to their vehicle in the Garden Parking area. The incident concluded at 8:30 p.m.

Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hiking Safety and Adirondack Trail Information webpages for more information.

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Adirondack Forest Ranger Search and Rescue Highlights: 10/12-10/18/15

October 20th, 2015 · No Comments · Adirondack News

NYSDEC LogoNew 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 Acting DEC Commissioner Marc Gerstman. “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:

Essex County
Town of Keene – High Peaks Wilderness
Injured Hiker: On October 13, 2015 at 6:50 p.m., the Johns Brook Outpost Caretaker contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch via radio to report an injured male hiker. The 16-year-old from Ottawa, ON, CA sustained a lower leg injury and was unable to put all of his weight on the injured leg. The Johns Brook Lodge Caretaker assessed the injury and provided basic First Aid and DEC Forest Rangers responded by All-Terrain Vehicle. Rangers arrived to the Outpost at 10:03 p.m. and prepared the teen for transport to the Southside trailhead along with two school counselors from the boys hiking group. Rangers transported them to the Keene Valley Fire Department and released the boy to his father and then transported the school counselors back to the Garden Trailhead. The incident concluded at 11:50 p.m.

Town of Willsboro – Private Land
Lost Hiker: On October 15, 2015 at 3:11 p.m., Essex County 911 contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch reporting a 73-year-old man from Alburgh, VT who became disoriented on Rattlesnake Mountain. One DEC Forest Ranger responded to the area. The Ranger used phone coordinates and a mapping program on the lost hiker’s phone to locate him on a logging road at 4:01 p.m. The Ranger transported him back to his vehicle at the Rattlesnake trailhead in good condition. The incident concluded at 4:08 p.m.

Town of Wilmington – Wilmington Wild Forest
Distressed Hiker: On October 18, 2015 at 12:20 p.m., a hiking party on the summit of Bear Den Mountain contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch requesting assistance for a 65-year-old man from Tupper Lake, NY in medical distress and unable to descend the mountain. DEC Forest Rangers responded to the area and discovered the hiker’s condition had improved and he had begun walking down the mountain with assistance from his companions. The Forest Rangers helped him walk back to the trailhead. The incident concluded at 3:45 p.m.

Hamilton County
Town of Indian Lake – Sargent Pond Wild Forest
Lost Hiker: On October 13, 2015 at 3:17 p.m., DEC Ray Brook received a call from Hamilton County 911 reporting a 50-year-old man from Berayam, IL lost in the Eagle Lake Private trail system. DEC Dispatch contacted a Forest Ranger in the vicinity who then called the lost man directly. The Forest Ranger and the caretaker of Eagle Nest Camp located the man at 5:23 p.m. The man stated that he went for a walk along the private trail system and wandered off the trail. After speaking with Ray Brook Dispatch, he managed to access the navigation system on his cell phone and returned to the trail system on the property. The Forest Ranger escorted him back to the camp in good condition. The incident concluded at 7:00 p.m.

Washington County
Town of Fort Ann – Lake George Wild Forest
Injured Hiker: On October 12, 2015 at 2:41 p.m., DEC Ray Brook received a call from a passing hiker reporting an injured female hiker approximately a half mile from the summit of Sleeping Beauty. DEC Forest Rangers responded to the Dacy Clearing Parking area while West Ft. Ann Fire and Rescue staged at the Upper Hogtown parking area. Rangers located the 48-year-old woman from Gansevoort, NY approximately a half mile from the trailhead. They conducted an assessment and provided basic First Aid. The woman walked to the trailhead on her own. West Fort Ann EMS assessed her and she declined any further medical treatment. The incident concluded at 6:30 p.m.

Town of Fort Ann – Lake George Wild Forest
Injured Hiker: On October 12, 2015 at 4:00 p.m., while responding to another incident, a DEC Forest Ranger encountered a 46-year-old injured female hiker from Clifton Park, NY. The woman slipped and sustained a lower leg injury while hiking the Sleeping Beauty trail system. The Forest Ranger assessed the hiker, provided basic First Aid and escorted her out to the trailhead where West Fort Ann EMS evaluated her further. She declined any further medical treatment. The incident concluded at 6:30 p.m.

Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hiking Safety and Adirondack Trail Information webpages for more information.

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Adirondack Forest Ranger Search and Rescue Highlights: 10/05-10/11/15

October 14th, 2015 · No Comments · Adirondack News

NYSDEC LogoNew 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 Acting DEC Commissioner Marc Gerstman. “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:

Essex County
Town of Jay – Private Land
Lost Individual: On October 6, 2015 at 9:39 a.m. Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC Ray Brook Dispatch reporting a lost 60-year-old woman from Jay, NY. The woman followed her dog into a wooded area on private property and could not find her way out. Essex County 911 provided the woman’s GPS coordinates to DEC Dispatch. A DEC Forest Ranger responded and located the woman at 10:58 a.m. in good condition. The Ranger escorted her back to her vehicle.

Town of Keene – Hurricane Mountain Primitive Area
Lost Hikers: On October 10, 2015 at 6:03 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance from two hikers who had gone off trail coming down Weston Mountain to Crow Clearing. Essex County 911 obtained GPS coordinates which placed the 34-year-old woman and 28-year-old man, both from Chicago, IL approximately 30-40 yards off trail. DEC Forest Rangers responded to Crow Clearing and headed in the hikers direction, based on the coordinates. Rangers located the pair on the trail at 7:28 p.m., gave them food and water and escorted them back to the trailhead. The incident concluded 8:30 p.m.

Town of Keene – High Peaks Wilderness
Overdue Hikers: On October 10, 2015 at 10:22 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a hiker reporting that two members of his hiking party, a 22-year-old woman and 24-year-old man, both from Buffalo, NY had not returned from hiking Gothics. A DEC Forest Ranger responded to the Garden parking lot and interviewed the reporting party. Rangers determined it would be best to start searching for the subjects at first light the following morning. At 6:30 a.m., three Forest Rangers began searching for the missing hikers via the Garden parking lot. Dispatch received a call from the reporting party at 9:50 a.m. that the missing hikers found their way out and returned to the Wilmington Notch Campground where they were staying. Forest Rangers aborted their search efforts after being notified.

Town of North Elba – High Peaks Wilderness
Injured Hiker: On October 11, 2015 at 4:32 p.m., DEC Ray Brook received a call from a hiker reporting that a 31-year-old female member of her hiking party sustained a lower leg injury. It happened during a hike from Lake Arnold, approximately one mile from Marcy Dam. Members of the hiking party assisted the injured woman to Marcy Dam. Ray Brook Dispatch contacted the Marcy Dam caretaker to meet the party and assist in transporting her to the outpost, while a DEC Forest Ranger responded to Marcy Dam on a Utility Terrain Vehicle. The Ranger transported the woman back to her vehicle where she said she would seek medical attention on her own. The incident concluded at 7:00 p.m.

Franklin County
Town of Brighton – St. Regis Canoe Area
Lost Hunter: On October 10, 2015 at 4:30 p.m., campus safety at Paul Smith’s College contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch reporting a lost student. The 26-year-old man from Elma, NY went hunting off Keese Mills Rd. near the college and did not return. DEC Forest Rangers responded to the area and located the man’s vehicle. Dispatch advised the hunter to call Franklin County 911 to obtain coordinates from his phone. The coordinates provided were inaccurate and Rangers determined the man was farther away than anticipated. Rangers used shouting and gun shots to locate the man at 9:36 p.m. and then escorted him to his vehicle. The incident concluded at 10:30 p.m.

Herkimer County
Town of Webb – Fulton Chain Wild Forest
Injured Hiker: On October 10, 2015 at 2:12 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Herkimer County 911 requesting assistance for a 54-year-old woman from Syracuse, NY with a leg injury on Bald Mountain. DEC Forest Rangers arrived on scene and headed up the mountain along with Webb Police and the Old Forge Fire and Rescue Squad. They packaged the woman at the summit and carried her down to the trailhead. Once at the trailhead she told Rangers she would seek medical attention on her own. The incident concluded at 4:46 p.m.

Warren County
Town of Bolton – Cat and Thomas Mountain Preserve Conservation Easement Lands
Lost Hikers: On October 7, 2015 at 5:55 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call reporting a 59-year-old man and a 49-year-old woman, both from Sarasota, FL became disoriented while hiking the Cat and Thomas Mountain Preserve Trail and could not determine which trail to take back to the trailhead. The hikers called 911 requesting assistance. A DEC Forest Ranger responded to the trailhead on Valley Woods Road in Bolton Landing, located the man and woman at 9:00 p.m., and escorted them back to the trailhead by 10:30 p.m.

Town of Bolton – Lake George Wild Forest
Lost Hikers: On October 9, 2015 at 11:44 a.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a hiker and his companion reporting they were lost on the South Trail, 5th Point Peak, in the Tongue Mountain Range. The men, both 29, one from Saratoga Springs, NY and the other from Troy, NY became disoriented that morning after camping on 5th Peak. Warren County 911 obtained GPS coordinates that placed the men close to the shoreline of Lake George. DEC Forest Rangers used a boat from Green Island to travel up Lake George to their location. The Rangers located the men at 1:58 p.m. in good condition and transported them to Green Island by boat. Rangers then gave the men a ride from a Forest Ranger Patrol vehicle back to their own vehicle parked at the 5th Peak trailhead. The incident concluded at 3:00 p.m.

Washington County
Town of Fort Ann – Lake George Wild Forest
Lost Hikers: On October 11, 2015 at 6:30 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Washington County 911 reporting two hikers lost near Inman Pond. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded to the Inman Pond Trailhead. At 7:00 p.m. the 64-year-old man from Charlton, NY and the 61-year-old woman from Saratoga Springs, NY contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch via cell phone. Dispatch instructed the lost hikers on how to get coordinates from their iPhone and then relayed those coordinates to the Forest Rangers at the trailhead. At approximately 7:47 p.m., Forest Rangers located the hikers and escorted them back to the trailhead without further incident.

Town of Fort Ann – Lake George Wild Forest
Injured Hiker: On October 12, 2015 at 2:37 p.m., DEC Ray Brook received a call from a passing hiker reporting an injured female hiker approximately 1/2 mile from the summit of Sleeping Beauty. DEC Forest Rangers responded to the Dacy Clearing Parking area. The West Ft. Ann Fire and Rescue Squad also responded and set up a staging area at the Upper Hogtown parking area. Rangers located the 48-year-old woman from Gansevoort, NY at 3:39 p.m. and provided her with first aid for the injury. They escorted her out to the trailhead where Fort Ann EMS assessed her and she declined any additional medical treatment. The incident concluded at 4:31 p.m.

Town of Fort Ann – Lake George Wild Forest
Injured Hiker: On October 12, 2015 at 4:00 p.m., DEC Forest Rangers responded to a report of a 46-year-old woman from Clifton Park, NY with a lower leg injury along the Sleeping Beauty trail system. Rangers assessed the woman and provided first aid before escorting her out to the trailhead where the Fort Ann EMS assessed her further. The woman then declined any additional medical treatment. The incident concluded at 4:31 p.m.

Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hiking Safety and Adirondack Trail Information webpages for more information.

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Adirondack Forest Ranger Search and Rescue Highlights: 9/28-10/4/15

October 6th, 2015 · No Comments · Adirondack News

NYSDEC LogoNew 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 Acting DEC Commissioner Marc Gerstman. “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:

Essex County
Town of North Elba – High Peaks Wilderness
Injured Hiker: On October 2, 2015 at 6:40 p.m., the AuSable Club (Adirondack Mountain Reserve) caretaker contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch reporting an injured hiker on the summit of Gothics. The 30-year-old man from Gansevoort, NY slipped and sustained a non-weight bearing leg injury. Ray Brook Dispatch established cell phone voice and text contact with the man’s hiking party at 6:45 p.m. and advised them to keep the injured hiker warm in a sleeping bag. The hikers set up their tent on the summit behind a sheltered rock. DEC determined a carryout was not possible due to the ladders used to access Gothics, so New York State Police Aviation planned to respond Saturday morning as soon as the cloud cover cleared the summit.

At 9:27 a.m. the following morning, State Police Aviation, with two DEC Forest Rangers on board, attempted a hoist rescue. Wind gusts of up to 60 knots (70 mph) prohibited the helicopter from approaching the summit to land or to lower a Forest Ranger to the ground. Aviation determined that due to continued high winds, a repeat attempt could not be made. The hikers told dispatch they would start walking out on their own. A Forest Ranger who had already started into Gothics met the injured party on the western edge of the summit at noon. The two Forest Rangers who had attempted to hoist operation also hiked in and walked out with the subjects. The injured hiker refused further medical care or rescue transport. The hikers and Forest Ranger personnel returned to the Adirondack Mountain Reserve at 3:00 p.m.

Town of North Elba – High Peaks Wilderness
Injured hiker: On October 3, 2015 at 4:14 p.m., the Lake Colden interior outpost caretaker contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch via radio reporting a member of a hiking party had fallen twice and sustained a non-weight bearing lower leg injury. The 29-year-old woman was resting at the McNaughton lean-to. The Colden caretaker reached the injured hiker at 4:48 p.m. and confirmed the injury. The caretaker and members of the hiking party escorted the injured woman back to the Lake Colden interior outpost. DEC Forest Rangers confirmed that New York State Police Aviation was unavailable until morning. The injured hiker stayed at the Lake Colden interior outpost for the night. At 10:06 a.m., NYSP Aviation and one Forest Ranger hoisted the woman from the outpost and transferred her to Marcy Field. They released her to Keene Valley EMS, which transferred her to Elizabethtown Hospital for further medical treatment.

Franklin County
Town of Waverly – Debar Mountain Wild Forest
Injured hiker: On October 4, 2015 at 1:32 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a hiker reporting she had come across an injured female hiker approximately 25 minutes up the Azure Mountain trail. The 51-year-old woman slipped and fell while descending the summit. A DEC Forest Ranger responded along with St. Regis Falls EMS. The Forest Ranger located the woman and escorted her out to the trailhead at 3:21 p.m. EMS transported her to Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake.

Hamilton County
Town of Inlet – Moose River Plains Wild Forest
Lost Hiker: On October 1, 2015 at 3:50 p.m., Herkimer County 911 contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch reporting that they had received information from a third party about a 41-year-old woman from Barneveld, NY lost on Black Bear Mountain. The woman contacted a friend to report she was lost. Herkimer County 911 made follow-up calls to the hiker, but could not reach her. DEC Forest Rangers responded to Black Bear Mountain and arrived at 4:30 p.m. They began searching the main trails and reached the summit without finding the woman. Forest Rangers then decided to search the outlying herd paths and ski trails. They located the woman at 5:15 p.m. in good condition on one of the ski trails. She told Rangers she had hiked to the summit of Black Bear Mountain and on her decent veered off trail onto a herd path. This path lead her southeast toward an old ski trail. She tried to follow the old ski trail markers but ended up going in circles and returned to the ski trail every time. Rangers located her approximately 1.5 miles from Route 28 and escorted her down the old ski trail and back to the trailhead. The incident concluded at 6:17 p.m.

Town of Inlet – Moose River Plains Wild Forest
Overdue Hunter: On October 4, 2015 at 9:19 p.m., Herkimer County 911 contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch regarding a call requesting assistance to locate an overdue hunter. The 64-year-old man from West Monroe, NY with known medical issues was expected to return to his campsite at noon. When the hunter did not return after dark, a member of his camping party went into the town of Inlet to call 911. DEC Forest Rangers responded. After interviewing the reporting party, they heard what was believed to be a gunshot at approximately 7:30 p.m. Forest Rangers immediately drove to the closest high point of land located in the targeted search area and fired three shots into the sky. There was an immediate reply when someone yelled back. They located the hunter at 12:40 a.m. in good condition, approximately 200 yards from there the Forest Rangers had stopped. They escorted the man back to his campsite.

Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hiking Safety and Adirondack Trail Information webpages for more information.

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Adirondack Forest Ranger Search and Rescue Highlights: 9/21-9/27/15

September 29th, 2015 · No Comments · Adirondack News

NYSDEC LogoNew 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 Acting DEC Commissioner Marc Gerstman. “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:

Essex County
Town of North Elba – McKenzie Mountain Wilderness
Lost Hiker: On September 24, 2015, at 8:45 p.m., Essex County 911 transferred a call from a lost hiker to DEC Central Dispatch. The 53-year-old man said he had wandered off the Haystack trail approximately a ½ mile to 1 mile from State Route 86. DEC Forest Rangers responded to the area, located the man and escorted him back to the trailhead. The incident concluded at 11:00 p.m.

Town of North Elba – High Peaks Wilderness
Stranded Hikers: On September 27, 2015, at 11:38 a.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from two hikers stuck on a ledge on the Trap Dike, a popular climbing route on Colden. The 24-year-old woman from Cold Spring, NY and the 32-year-old man from Rochester, NY had attempted to exit the Trap Dike too early and became trapped on a ledge at 3400 feet in elevation. New York State Police Aviation inserted two DEC Forest Rangers into Lake Colden just after 1:00 p.m. They climbed up to the ledge and reached the hikers at 2:49 p.m. Rangers put the hikers into harnesses and slowly lowered from the ledge and down the Trap Dike to the base. The Rangers and hikers returned to the base at 4:47 p.m. The hikers then returned to their campsite near Lake Colden.

Franklin County
Town of Harrietstown – High Peaks Wilderness
Injured Hiker: On September 26, 2015, at 4:08 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call requesting assistance for an injured 66-year-old woman from Syracuse, NY. The woman sustained a lower leg injury while hiking down the back side of Donaldson Mountain on the Calkins Brook Trail. DEC Forest Rangers responded on a 6×6 and met the woman approximately two miles in on the Horse Trail. They assessed hear and transported her out. The woman said she would seek medical attention on her own. The incident concluded at 6:15 p.m.

Hamilton County
Town of Arietta – West Canada Lakes Wilderness
Injured Hiker: On September 23, 2015, at 1:11 p.m., the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office advised DEC Ray Brook Dispatch of a SOS beacon call it received. The beacon call came from the shore line of West Lake. At 1:25 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from the hiking partner of an injured 38-year-old woman. The caller advised that there was another hiker at the scene who had activated his SOS beacon. Dispatch notified a DEC Forest Ranger who was in the air with New York State Police Aviation in the town of Arietta. NYSP Aviation picked up an additional Forest Ranger at Indian Lake to assist in the rescue. Forest Rangers were inserted to the woman’s location and conducted an assessment. Ranger then packaged and hoisted the woman. The helicopter too her to Piseco Airport. Once there, the injured woman was transferred to local EMS for further medical treatment. EMS determined additional treatment was needed and transferred her to Albany Medical Center.

Herkimer County
Town of Russia – Private Land
Missing Person: On September 22, 2015 at 6:10 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Herkimer County 911 reporting a missing 91-year-old male from Russia, NY, last seen at 5:30 p.m. State Police responded to the scene and requested assistance from DEC Forest Rangers and Environmental Conservation Officers. They located the man at 9:15 p.m. and escorted him out of the woods. Local EMS assessed him and released him to his family.

Washington County
Town of Dresden – Lake George Wild Forest
Lost Hikers: On September 27, 2015, at 7:44 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call transferred from Warren County 911 from two lost hikers on Black Mountain. The 16-year-old female and 16-year-old male, both from Albany, had left at 4:00 p.m. from the Pike Brook Road to hike to the summit of Black Mountain and had become lost after leaving the summit. Warren County 911 provided an initial set of coordinates that placed the youths between the summits of Black Mountain and Sleeping Beauty. Dispatch immediately established text contact and directed the hikers to call 911 again to confirm the initial coordinates but the hikers were unable to do so. Two DEC Forest Rangers continued to the area of the initial coordinates given. At 10:54 p.m., the first Forest Ranger reached the location of the initial 911 coordinates but did not locate the pair. Dispatch directed them to call 911 again to try to re-bid coordinates. This third time, 911 was able to obtain cell phone coordinates that were 2.8 miles away from the first location and on the west side of Black Mountain, approximately 3/4 of a mile from Black Mountain Point on the shores of Lake George. A Forest Ranger overheard the radio traffic and inquired if the hikers had an iPhone. Dispatch was able to determine from the texts that the hikers did have an iPhone. Per the third Ranger, Dispatch directed the hikers to open the Compass application as it should also have coordinates. Dispatch had them send a screen shot of the compass app and plotted the coordinates, which confirmed the third and most recent 911 coordinates. The third Ranger then responded by boat to Black Mountain Point while the hikers were directed to hike downhill on the trail to Lake George. At 12:53 a.m. the hikers reached the Forest Ranger boat and were taken to a Forest Ranger vehicle at 1:30 a.m, which transported them to waiting family members by 2:30 a.m.

Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hiking Safety and Adirondack Trail Information webpages for more information.

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Adirondack Forest Ranger Search and Rescue Highlights: 9/14-9/20/15

September 21st, 2015 · No Comments · Adirondack News

NYSDEC LogoNew 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 Acting DEC Commissioner Marc Gerstman. “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:

Essex County
Town of North Elba – High Peaks Wilderness
Injured hiker: On September 16, 2015 at 11:30 a.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from ADK Loj reporting it had been notified of an injured hiker approximately 20 minutes above the Street and Nye Mountain junction on the Street Mountain trail. The 24-year-old woman from Cold Springs, NY fell and sustained a lower leg injury. DEC Forest Rangers responded to Adirondack Loj and reached the injured woman at 2:15 p.m. They provided first aid and she managed to walk out slowly with assistance. They returned to Adirondack Loj at 6:15 p.m. The woman drove herself to Adirondack Medical Center – Lake Placid for treatment.

Town of Keene – High Peaks Wilderness
Distressed hiker: On September 19, 2015 at 6:17 p.m., Essex County 911 contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch reporting a 23-year-old man from New London, CT in medical distress approximately ¼ of a mile up the Big Slide trail from the Garden parking area. 911 dispatched the Keene Fire Department and Keene Valley Fire Department and EMS at the time of the call. DEC Forest Rangers responded to the Garden parking area. Fire Department personnel, with assistance from Forest Rangers, loaded the man into a litter and carried him back to the trailhead. The Keene Valley Ambulance transported him to Elizabethtown Community Hospital for treatment. The incident concluded at 7:37 p.m.

Town of Keene – High Peaks Wilderness
Stranded climbers: On September 20, 2015 at 6:20 p.m., a 45-year-old female hiker from Corinth, NY contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch reporting that she and her climbing companion, a 52-year-old woman also from Corinth, NY, were unable to descend Cascade Falls. The pair climbed Cascade Falls with the intention of bushwhacking back to the main trail, but they became disoriented once they reached the top of the falls and determined they could not safely make it back down. DEC Forest Rangers responded to assist the women back down. They short roped and belayed them to the base of the falls and escorted them back to their vehicle at the Cascade Day Use Area. The incident concluded at 9:30 p.m.

St. Lawrence County
Town of Clifton – Cranberry Lake Wild Forest
Injured hiker: On September 14, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. a DEC Forest Ranger advised DEC Ray Brook Dispatch of radio traffic dispatching the Cranberry Lake Fire Department to Bear Mountain to assist an injured 65-year-old female hiker from Luts, FL. The Forest Ranger responded along with Cranberry Lake and Star Lake Fire Department personnel. The hiker had fallen on a root near the summit and sustained a lower leg injury. They carried the woman out in a litter to the trailhead. Cranberry Lake Rescue transported her to Clifton-Fine Hospital in Star Lake at 9:30 p.m.

Warren County
Town of Bolton – Lake George Wild Forest
Distressed hiker: On September 15, 2015 at 5:30 p.m. Warren County 911 contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch about a 65-year-old male hiker from Clifton Park, NY in medical distress on Cat Mountain trail, approximately 15 minutes from the Cat & Thomas Mountain trailhead. The man had hiked Mount Severance in Schroon Lake that morning and then met a friend to hike Cat & Thomas Mountains. As they were headed back to the Cat Mountain trailhead the hiker collapsed on the trail. One Forest Ranger responded along with members of the Bolton Fire Department and EMS. They carried the hiker back to the trailhead at 6:25 p.m. and Bolton EMS transported him to Glens Falls hospital.

Washington County
Town of Fort Ann – Lake George Wild Forest
Lost hiker: On September 16, 2015 at 11:33 a.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from the friend of a 30-year-old female hiker from Fort Ann, NY lost on the trail to Inman Pond. DEC Dispatch made contact with her by text message and she told them she was near the pond but not on the trail. DEC Forest Rangers responded to the Inman Pond trailhead off Shelving Rock Road where they located the woman’s vehicle. DEC Dispatch advised the woman to contact 911 to obtain her GPS coordinates, but the coordinates obtained were not usable.

Forest Rangers then used binoculars to scan Crossett Lake and located the woman. At 2:17 p.m. Forest Rangers established voice contact at the northwest end of Crossett Pond. They escorted her back to trailhead at 3:35 p.m. and gave her a courtesy ride back to her vehicle.

Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hiking Safety and Adirondack Trail Information webpages for more information.

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