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 Keene
Injured hiker: On March 8, 2015 at 12:40 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from the hiking companion of an injured man on Lower Wolfjaw. The 32-year-old Schenectady man slipped while descending the mountain, resulting in an injury to his ankle that left him unable to walk. DEC Forest Rangers responded and reached the injured man at 4:11 p.m. They put a splint around his ankle and transported him to the Lower Wolfjaw lean-to at approximately 7:00 p.m. to meet additional DEC Forest Rangers on snowmobiles. The Rangers placed the injured man on a litter and towed him by snowmobile through the south side of John’s Brook to Smith Way. At Smith Way, Keene Valley Fire and Rescue Ambulance met the party and transported the injured man to Elizabethtown Hospital for treatment at 9:16 p.m. The incident concluded at 10:20 p.m. Fifteen DEC Forest Rangers assisted in the rescue.
Saranac Lakes Wild Forest – Town of Harrieststown
Lost snowshoer: On March 7, 2015 at 8:00 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a snowshoer reporting he was lost on a trail near Saranac Inn. The 27-year-old man from Saranac Lake, NY did not have a map or compass. He found his way to the railroad tracks but could not determine which direction led back to his vehicle. One DEC Forest Ranger responded via snowmobile, locating the lost man and returning him to his vehicle at 9:10 p.m. in good condition.
St. Lawrence County
Grass River Conservation Easement – Town of Colton
Injured snowmobiler: On March 7, 2015 at 10:00 p.m., Franklin County 911 informed DEC Ray Brook Dispatch of a snowmobile accident in the Town of Colton, St. Lawrence County. The accident happened on the 7A trail about 6 miles south of the snowplow turnaround on Massawepie Rd. One DEC Forest Ranger and the Tupper Lake Rescue Squad responded. A 49-year-old man from Flanders, NY was with two friends headed to the Long Lake area when his snowmobile veered off the west side of the trail, traveled down an 8-foot embankment and hit a small spruce tree. A member of the Tupper Lake Rescue Squad was on scene tending to the injured man when a DEC Forest Ranger arrived. They placed him on a backboard and covered him with blankets and heat pads. A trail groomer responded to the scene to evacuate the man, who was brought to an awaiting ambulance in the Town of Conifer at about 2 a.m. and then transported to Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake. Crews cleared the incident by 2:30 a.m.