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:
High Peaks Wilderness, Town of North Elba
Distressed Hiker: On October 25, 2014 at 12:21 p.m., DEC Forest Rangers rescued a 47-year-old man from Clinton, NY who called dispatch saying he was in medical distress. The hiker was half way up Mount Marcy when he began to develop symptoms. DEC Forest Rangers responded and evaluated the man. Crews performed life saving measures on scene. Several Forest Rangers assisted in carrying the man down Mount Marcy to a waiting helicopter. He was airlifted from the scene to Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital in Plattsburgh at 3:30 p.m.
Blue Ridge Wilderness, Town of Indian Lake
Lost Hunter: On October 25, 2014 at 6:40 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from an individual saying that his hunting companion was overdue from hiking Sawyer Mountain. The 67 year-old man from Port Republic, NJ was supposed to return before dark. DEC Forest Rangers located the hunter at 1:10 a.m. on the backside of Sprague Pond and transported him across the pond and out to his vehicle at 3:22 a.m.
Pigeon Lake Wilderness, Town of Inlet
Stranded Boaters: On October 25, 2014 at 6:45 p.m., Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from Hamilton County 911 advising of a 51-year-old man from Lafayette, NY stranded on Quaker Beach on Raquette Lake. Due to spotty cell phone service Hamilton County 911 received limited information and efforts to call the man back were unsuccessful. The Forest Ranger responded by boat to Raquette Lake and located the man and two others, a 51-year-old man from East Syracuse, NY and a 50-year-old man from Lafayette, NY on Quaker Beach. They explained their boat had broken down and due to limited cell phone coverage with Hamilton County they could not accurately convey their message for assistance. The DEC Forest Ranger gave the men a ride back to their camp at around 8:39 p.m. They retrieved their boat the next morning.
Jessup River Wild Forest, Town of Lake Pleasant
Injured Hiker: On October 26, 2014 at 1:30 p.m., a DEC Forest Ranger contacted DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook to advise he was responding to a report of an injured hiker on the Northville Placid Trail. The 63-year-old female from Yorkville, NY had been hiking north on the Northville Placid Trail and sustained a leg injury two miles up the trail. Additional Forest Rangers responded with All Terrain Vehicles. At 2:45 p.m. Forest Rangers located the woman and transported her by ATV to the trailhead. The hiker drove herself to the hospital for treatment of the injury.
Lake George Wild Forest, Town of Lake George
Lost Hikers: On October 25, 2014 at 2:49 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from a 23-year-old man from Syosset, NY reporting that he and his companion, a 25-year-old woman from New York City, could see Blue Trail Markers, but believed they may be on the wrong trail. After talking to the hikers, the Forest Ranger determined where they might be. He directed them to go back the way they came and he met them on the trail. The Forest Ranger picked them up with his patrol vehicle through the Thomas Mountain trail system. They were transported back to their vehicle at 5 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.