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:
Giant Mountain Wilderness, Town of Elizabethtown
Lost Hikers: On October 19 at 3:15 p.m., Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook. The hikers, a 22-year old female from Mechanicville, NY, and a 26-year old female from Wantagh, NY, had been hiking down from the Blueberry Mountain summit when they lost the trail and became disoriented. Both women stated they could see a house and hear the roadway but could not proceed down because they were at a cliff. 911 coordinates were relayed to two DEC Forest Rangers. The Rangers located the women in good condition at 5:15 p.m. at which time they proceeded to their vehicle.
High Peaks Mountain Wilderness, Town of Keene
Injured Hiker: On October 19th, 2014 at 5:50 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a radio transmission from John’s Brook Loj advising that a 38-year-old male from Nutley, NY had suffered a lower leg injury as the result of a fall while hiking Big Slide. He was able to walk with some assistance from two individuals. A hiker with the group went ahead to report the incident to John’s Brook Loj. The other hikers advised they would be walking the man to John’s Brook Outpost for staging. Three DEC Forest Rangers were dispatched. The injured man and his hiking party were located at the Phelps Trail Junction at 9:28 p.m. The individuals that had assisted the man were escorted out to the Garden parking lot by DEC Forest Rangers and the injured hiker was brought to a waiting utility terrain vehicle. From there he was taken down the Southside Trail. A waiting ambulance transported him to Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake, NY for treatment at 11:40 p.m.
Private Lane, Town of Speculator
Lost Hunters: On October 19 at 6:15 p.m., the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office contacted DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook regarding two lost males in the town of Speculator. The men, a 59-year-old and a 36-year-old both from Gloversville, NY had become lost while muzzleloading on private property in Speculator. A DEC Environmental Conservation Officer responded to assist and attempted to attract the subjects to his siren. A DEC Forest Ranger and a Hamilton County Sheriff’s deputy located both men at 8:30 p.m. and escorted them back to their vehicle.
Prospect Mountain, Village of Lake George
Lost Hikers: On October 17th, 2014 at 2:28 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from a 60-year-old male from Manhasset, NY advising that he and his companion, a 46-year-old female from Locust Valley, NY were lost near the parking area of Prospect Mountain. They reported they could not find their way back to the picnic area. The couple had no hiking experience and had no hiking gear. Two DEC Rangers responded. The hikers gave DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook their coordinates off their cell phones to help identify their location. Based on these coordinates, Rangers took older trails and through voice contact located the couple. They advised the Rangers they had taken a herd path which they believed was a trail and got turned around. They were escorted out of the woods and back to their vehicle by 4:59 p.m.