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DEC Forest Rangers Rescue Two Overdue Hikers Following Overnight Search on Mt. Marcy

January 23rd, 2015 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Visitors to the High Peaks Reminded to Fully Prepare for Winter Conditions

NYSDEC LogoOn January 20th at 1:33 a.m., State Police advised the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Central Dispatch of two overdue hikers in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness in the Town of Keene, Essex County. The 21-year-old hikers, a male and a female from Quebec, Canada, had signed in at the Adirondack Loj to hike Mt. Marcy for the day but did not return as scheduled.

Fourteen DEC Forest Rangers responded to the incident. One team traveled through more than three feet of snow and reached the tree line of Mt. Marcy just before 7 a.m. Additional teams approached the area from the Panther Gorge, Johns Brook Valley and Newcomb entrances.


At 8:25 a.m., the Forest Rangers on Mt. Marcy located fresh tracks leading from the south side of the Marcy bowl into Panther Gorge, a remote, steep, crag-filled area of the High Peaks where overnight temperatures had dropped below zero degrees Fahrenheit. Based on this information, a helicopter from the State Police Aviation Unit in Lake Clear was called in to assist with the search. Half an hour later, the helicopter crew, which included a Forest Ranger, spotted the hikers walking in the direction of Marcy Swamp. The helicopter inserted the ranger to the location to assess the hikers’ well-being. The Ranger determined both were in good health.

The hikers reported they had become disoriented on the summit of Mt. Marcy. They then bushwhacked into Panther Gorge, where they spent the night with a fire to keep warm. At first light, they followed a drainage and eventually crossed the Elk Lake-Marcy trail.

Forest Rangers escorted the hikers to Elk Lake, where they were reunited with family members at 2 p.m.

The pair of hikers did not have skis or snowshoes, a map, compass or GPS unit with them. DEC strongly urges all hikers and backcountry recreational visitors to the High Peaks and other areas to carry this equipment and follow the safety guidelines below.

Wear proper clothing and equipment for snow, ice and cold to ensure a safe and enjoyable winter experience. Also, be aware that snow depths range from 6 to 20 inches or more. The deepest snows are in the eastern Adirondacks with thinner depths in the western portion. Snow depths are deeper in the higher elevations like the High Peaks and other mountains over 3,000 feet.

Visitors to the Eastern High Peaks should use snowshoes or cross-country skis for their safety when snow is 8 inches or deeper. Visitors to other Adirondack lands are encouraged to do so 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 also should be carried to use on icy mountaintops 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.

Prior to heading out, people are encouraged to consult the DEC Adirondack Trail Information web page, which 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: 1/12-01/18/15

January 22nd, 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 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:

Hamilton County

Town of Indian Lake
Injured Hiker: DEC Dispatch received a call from Hamilton County 911 at 3:00 p.m. on January 17 advising of an injured Boy Scout hiking on the Blue Mountain hiking trail. The Boy Scout Group secured the 17-year-old boy and began bringing him down the mountain. DEC Forest Rangers and the Blue Mountain Fire Department located the group on the trail at 4:57 p.m., and placed the injured boy in a Stokes Litter, brought him down Blue Mountain to a waiting Blue Mountain Lake Ambulance Squad at the trailhead. He was transported to Adirondack Health in Saranac Lake for treatment. The incident concluded at 6:15 p.m.

Town of Indian Lake
Injured Snowmobiler: DEC Forest Rangers responded to a snowmobile accident in the Moose River Plains area on January 19 at 1:44 p.m. A member of a snowmobile party called DEC Ray Brook Dispatch, informing them that a 30-year-old man from Hamilton, NJ, struck a tree while riding a snowmobile trail. Indian Lake Fire & Rescue Department also responded. Responders, including Indian Lake Fire & Rescue Department, reached the injured man at 2:30 p.m. and administered first aid. Crews brought him out to the nearest trailhead by rescue toboggan behind a snowmobile. The Indian Lake Ambulance Squad transported him to Glens Falls Hospital for treatment. The incident concluded at 3:44 p.m.

Lewis County

Town of Watson
Injured Snowmobiler: On January 17 at 12:30 p.m. a caller notified DEC Ray Brook Dispatch about a snowmobile accident three miles east from the intersection of McCarty Road and Stillwater Road. Three DEC Forest Rangers and Lewis County Search and Rescue responded to the location. They discovered an injured 45-year-old female from Clifton Park, NY who they assessed and stabilized for transport via rescue toboggan behind a snowmobile to a waiting ambulance at the intersection of Stillwater Road and Number 4 Road. The injured snowmobiler was taken by ambulance to a helicopter and then flown to Syracuse Hospital for treatment at 3:30 p.m. Town of Webb Police Department snowmobile patrol assisted in the rescue.

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

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Adirondack Forest Ranger Search and Rescue Highlights: 1/5/15-01/11/15

January 12th, 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 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
Essex County, Town of Keene

Distressed Hiker: On January 10 at 2:53 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a distressed hiker on the trail to Dial Mountain. The 51-year-old male of Honeoye Falls, NY stated he was unable to continue down the trail but was otherwise uninjured. Essex County 911 provided his location coordinates to Dispatch. Eight DEC Forest Rangers responded, along with New York State Police Aviation who placed a Forest Ranger at the summit of Dial Mountain. Rangers located the hiker uninjured but in need of medical attention. He was hydrated, warmed up and escorted down the mountain. Additional Forest Rangers met the hiker at the trailhead and transported him by snowmobile down Lake Road where he was evaluated by the Keene Valley Fire and Rescue Squad and released at 8:30 p.m. Back Country Rescue assisted in the rescue.

Dix Wilderness
Essex County, Town of Newcomb

Lost Hikers: On January 11 at 9:04 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call requesting assistance for two hikers lost on Santanoni Mountain. A 32-year-old male of Schenectady, NY and a 51-year-old male of Amsterdam NY, said they were following a stream down the Express Trail and believed they were .3 miles from Bradley Pond. Three DEC Forest Rangers responded to the Upper Work with one Forest Ranger proceeding in by snowmobile. Rangers located the hikers a few miles in at 10:45 p.m. in good condition. Rangers transported the party out by snowmobile and arrived at the trailhead at 11:20 p.m.

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

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Adirondack Forest Ranger Search and Rescue Highlights: 12/29/14-01/04/15

January 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 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:

Essex County
Dix Mountain Wilderness, Town of North Hudson
Lost Hikers: On January 1, 2015 at 7:15 p.m. the father of a 34-year-old female from Schenectady, notified a DEC Lieutenant Forest Ranger that his daughter and her hiking companion, a 54-year-old male also of Schenectady, NY, had attempted to climb the Dix Range. He said the hikers called to tell him they had missed several turns and were not at their intended destination. An additional Forest Ranger and the Lieutenant drove to the trailhead, hiked in two miles and located the pair on the trail. The Rangers escorted the pair back to their vehicle.

Warren County
Lake George Wild Forest, Lake George
Distressed Hikers: On January 1, 2015 at 5:15 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance from four hikers who were near the summit of Prospect Mountain and were unprepared for the conditions. Dispatch gave the hikers, a 55-year-old male, a 55-year-old female, a 25-year-old female and a 22-year-old female, all of Macungi, PA, directions to Prospect Mountain Road. Two DEC Forest Rangers on snowmobiles traveling up the road, located the hikers at 6:47 p.m., and transported them down the mountain to the parking lot. They were evaluated and released at 7:17 p.m.

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

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Adirondack Forest Ranger Search and Rescue Highlights: 12/8-12/14/14

December 15th, 2014 · 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 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:

Essex County
Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest, Town of Westport
Lost Hunter: On December 12, 2014 at 11:30 a.m., a 49-year-old male from Panton, VT contacted Essex County 911 advising he had become lost while hunting on Split Rock Mountain in the Town of Westport. His coordinates were obtained from his cell phone, and Forest Rangers responded. Voice contact was established at 2:20 p.m. and Rangers located the hiker at 2:30 p.m. in good health. Rangers escorted him back to his vehicle at 3:30 p.m.

Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest Trailhead Sign

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

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DEC Advises Backcountry Visitors of Winter Conditions Throughout Most of the Adirondacks

December 11th, 2014 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Winter Recreational Opportunities Abound with Proper Preparation and Precautions

NYSDEC LogoThe recent snowstorm provided great conditions for winter outdoor recreation in the Adirondack backcountry the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) reports today. Backcountry visitors should be prepared with proper clothing and equipment for snow, ice and cold to ensure a safe and enjoyable winter experience.


“Now that snows have arrived in the Adirondacks, winter recreationist can take advantage of all that the Park has to offer during the upcoming holiday vacation period,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. “However, recreationist must be aware that winter can also present troublesome – even perilous – conditions to the unprepared. Visitors exploring the backcountry should dress for cold weather and use snowshoes and skis to navigate trails.”

Snow depths range from 6 to 20 inches or more. The deepest snows are in the eastern Adirondacks with the thinner depths in the western portion. Snow depths are deeper in the higher elevations like the High Peaks and other mountains over 3,000 feet.

Seasonal access roads are closed. Motor vehicles should not be driving on seasonal access roads that serve as snowmobile trails in the winter such as the Moose River Plains Road.

Most gates and designated snowmobile trails are or will be open by the weekend. Snowmobilers should check on local trail conditions before heading out. Skiers and snowshoers using designated snowmobile trails should keep to the side to allow safe passage of snowmobiles. Snowmobiles should slow down when passing skiers and snowshoers.

Visitors to the Eastern High Peaks are required to use snowshoes or cross-country skis for their safety and the safety of other backcountry users. It is strongly recommended that visitors to other parts of the Adirondacks do the same.

Skis or Snowshoes Required

Snowshoes or skis ease travel on snow and prevent “post holing”, which can ruin trails and cause sudden falls resulting in injuries. Ice crampons should be carried for use on icy mountaintops 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.

Ice has only recently formed on most waters especially on large waterbodies. Alternating periods of freezing and thawing have occurred over the past month weakening any ice that is present. Always check ice thickness before traveling across it. Avoid ice over running water, near inlets & outlet and near boathouses & docks – especially those with “bubblers” or other ice prevention devices. Ice that holds snow will not hold the weight of a snowmobile at this time and may not hold the weight of a person.

Skiers and snowshoers are reminded that the Avalanche Pass Slide in the Eastern High Peaks is closed to public recreation of any type during the winter.

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 web page 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: 12/1-12/7/14

December 9th, 2014 · 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 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:

Essex County
Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, Town of North Elba
Lost Hiker: On December 6, 2014 at 4:23 p.m., a supervisor at the 1st Air Force contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch and reported the activation of a personal locator beacon with coordinates near the summit of Algonquin at 3:55 p.m. A 21-year-old male from Vestal, NY left the Adirondack Loj at 11:00 a.m. to hike Algonquin. While at the summit, he slid into deep snow and became disoriented. He lost the trail in poor visibility and activated his locator beacon. He called 911 several times, but due to limited cell phone coverage, his coordinates were unavailable and his calls were unsuccessfully transferred to DEC Dispatch. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded to the coordinates provided by the locator beacon. Rangers located the hiker at 8:15 p.m. and escorted him back to the Loj at 10:15 p.m. 1st Air Force and Essex County 911 assisted in the search.

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

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