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:
Mt. Marcy – Town of Keene
Hiker Rescue: DEC Forest Rangers, Environmental Conservation Officers and State Police worked together on Sunday (3/22/15) in extreme weather conditions to successfully rescue a mother and her two sons on Mt. Marcy in Essex County. Governor Cuomo recognized the search and rescue teams for the great work. See Governor’s full news release.
Dix Mountain Wilderness – Town of North Hudson
Overdue Hikers: On March 16, 2015 at 10:33 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call reporting an overdue hiking party. The 35-year-old man from Cross River, NY and the 35-year-old woman from Pattersonville, NY started out from the Clear Pond Gate in Keene at 6:08 a.m. to hike Macomb, South Six, Grace Peak, Hough and Dix mountains. At 5 p.m., the hiking party texted the caller stating they had completed three of the five peaks but had not heard from the party since. One DEC Forest Ranger, responding on snowmobile, located the couple at 12:30 a.m. They had to break trail while descending Dix, which slowed them down. The Ranger found the couple in good health and provided them a ride back to their vehicle. No medical attention was required and they were released. The incident concluded at 1:15 a.m.
Saranac Lake Wild Forest – Town of Harrietstown
Lost snowshoer: On March 20, 2015 at 6:00 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call reporting a 78-year-old man from Saranac Lake, NY was overdue from returning from an afternoon hike on a herd path going to Lower Saranac Lake. The hiking party began its snowshoe at 1:00 p.m. and the group was separated at approximately 2:30 p.m. while attempting to go around a blowdown. Three members of the group returned to their vehicles at 5:00 p.m. They called for assistance after realizing the missing member had not returned to his vehicle. The first DEC Forest Ranger arrived on scene at 6:35 p.m. Three additional Rangers also responded; two were already on snowmobile patrol in the area. Rangers located the lost snowshoer who was exhausted but otherwise in good condition. The batteries for his GPS device had died leaving him unable to navigate back to his car. Rangers returned him to his vehicle at 7:30 p.m.