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 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:
Town of Jay
Lost Biker: On August 9, 2015 at 5:02 p.m., Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC Ray Brook Dispatch from a 42-year-old male biker from St. Basile Le Grande, Quebec, lost and injured somewhere off Jay Mountain Road in the Jay Mountain Wilderness. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded to the Seventy Mountain area of the Jay Mountain Wilderness. DEC Dispatch advised the biker to shout so he could be located. Forest Rangers located him at 7:05 p.m. He reported he was biking in Elizabethtown with his brother whose bike had a mechanical failure. The man planned to bike back to the private campground in Wilmington where they were staying so that he could return with a car, but the GPS directions he followed got him lost. Forest Rangers transported the man back to the campground in Wilmington at 8:30 p.m.
Town of Franklin – Taylor Pond Wild Forest/Easement Lands
Lost kayaker: On August 9, 2015 at 7:44 a.m., DEC Central Dispatch received a call reporting a 40-year-old male kayaker from Ballston Spa, NY, became lost while paddling on Union Falls Pond. The female caller reported that she received a text from the kayaker at 6:30 p.m. on August 8, indicating he was lost. At 9:30 p.m. she received a second text from the man saying he was on Franklin Falls Flow where he planned to spend the night as he did not have a flashlight or map. She called for help after not receiving any further communication. Four DEC Forest Rangers, a DEC Assistant Forest Ranger, a DEC Backcountry Steward and New York State Police began a search but could not find the kayaker after an extensive search of the waterway and woods along the shore. At 11:56 a.m. the kayaker called Franklin County 911 and they obtained coordinates for his location. Searchers followed those coordinates and located the kayaker at 12:17 p.m. on the east shore of Union Falls Pond. Forest Rangers evaluated his health before transporting him by boat back to his vehicle at 1 p.m.
Town of Indian Lake – West Canada Lakes Wilderness
Overdue hikers: On August 9, 2015 at 12:30 a.m., DEC Central Dispatch received a call reporting a 26-year-old man and 24-year-old woman from West Islip, NY, were one day overdue while hiking in the West Canada Lakes. Three DEC Forest Rangers responded and located the pair’s vehicle at the Pillsbury Mountain Trailhead. The Rangers searched the trails leading from the trailhead and eventually located the pair in good condition near Sampson Lake. The hikers reported that while hiking on the Northville Placid Trail on the first day they mistakenly turned off onto the West Canada Lakes Trail toward the Moose River Plains. They encountered another hiker who advised them they were heading in the wrong direction, so they turned around and hiked back to Brook Trout Lake where they spent the night. They continued hiking on the second day and made it to Sampson Lake where they spent a second night. The Forest Rangers escorted them back to the trailhead, arriving at their vehicle at 9:00 a.m.