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:
Lake George Wild Forest, Town of Lake George
Lost Hikers: On October 11, 2014 at 6:20 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a report from Warren County 911 of three lost hikers on Tongue Mountain. The hikers, a 32-year-old female, a 33-year-old female and a 31-year-old female are all from Woodside, NY. The three women advised they were near a sign stating they were 4 miles to Clay Meadows. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded by boat from Green Island on Lake George. Based on GPS phone coordinates, the Rangers located the women near a private camp on Montcalm Point at 7:23 p.m. They were transported back to their hotel by boat and dropped off 7:57 p.m. The owners of the hotel advised they would bring the women back to their vehicle.
Dix Mountain Wilderness, Town of Minerva
Overdue Hikers: On October 11, 2014 at 10:30 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a report of two men overdue from a hike near their campsite on the Boreas River in Minerva.
The two men, a 37-year-old male from Mechanicville, NY, and a 64-year-old man from Cohoes, NY left the campsite at 12:00 p.m. with the intention of hiking to a nearby pond. Three DEC Forest Rangers responded to the camping area and interviewed the reporting group. Initial witness statements led the Forest Rangers in the wrong direction. After checking three ponds and a local cave overnight without locating the two men, six more Rangers responded at first light.
Both men were located in good health on the opposite side of the Boreas River by a Forest Ranger at 7:45 a.m. on October 12. The Ranger walked the men out to their campsite. They had attempted to bushwhack to a pond but ended up on the opposite side of the river where they built a fire and spent the night.
Hurricane Mountain Wilderness, Town of Keene
Injured Hiker: On October 12, 2014 at 2:46 p.m., a 52-year-old female from Ithaca, NY sustained a lower leg injury while hiking Hurricane Mountain. The woman was unable to bear any weight, hindering her ability to hike out. Two Forest Rangers responded and New York State Police Aviation was requested to hoist her out. She was airlifted and taken to Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake for further treatment.
Giant Mountain Wilderness, Town of Keene
Injured Hiker: On October 12, 2014 at 5:03 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from a passing hiker reporting that a male hiker has sustained an injury while descending from Giant Mountain on the Giant/Ridge Trail. The 65-year-old male from Summit, NJ, fell and sustained his injuries as he was descending Giant Mountain. Two passing hikers stopped and assisted him on walking out to the trailhead. When the DEC Forest Ranger arrived on scene, the male was assessed and stabilized. Rangers assisted him to the trailhead where he met his wife and was taken to Adirondack Medical Center Lake Placid for further treatment.
Western High Peaks Wilderness, Town of Newcomb
Lost Hiker: On October 13, 2014 at 1:34 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook was contacted to report that a fellow hiking partner, 45-year-old male from Coram, NY, had not reached the designated meeting point known as Plumley’s. He was last seen at Cold River at approximately 10:15 a.m. DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook established contact via text message with the lost hiker ascertaining his location and relaying the information to the DEC Forest Rangers in the field. A Forest Ranger identified the location and advised other responding Forest Rangers he was half-way up Pine Brook Trail, where it parallels the Cold River. Rangers found the hiker in good condition. A Forest Ranger hiked him back to the Northern Boundary, Huntington, where another Forest Ranger was located. He was transported back to his family in Long Lake without further incident.
St. Lawrence County
Cranberry Lake Wild Forest, Town of Clifton
Lost Hiker: On October 12, 2014, at 7:02 p.m., a DEC Forest Ranger was contacted directly by Cranberry Lake Campground of a 47-year-old female from Kingston, ON, CA who was lost on a trail near the campground area. A Forest Ranger responded by boat and patrolled the shoreline near the campground until he located the woman. She was brought back to her vehicle without any further incident.
Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hiking Safety and Adirondack Trail Information web for more information.