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 North Elba – High Peaks Wilderness
Injured hiker: On September 16, 2015 at 11:30 a.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from ADK Loj reporting it had been notified of an injured hiker approximately 20 minutes above the Street and Nye Mountain junction on the Street Mountain trail. The 24-year-old woman from Cold Springs, NY fell and sustained a lower leg injury. DEC Forest Rangers responded to Adirondack Loj and reached the injured woman at 2:15 p.m. They provided first aid and she managed to walk out slowly with assistance. They returned to Adirondack Loj at 6:15 p.m. The woman drove herself to Adirondack Medical Center – Lake Placid for treatment.
Town of Keene – High Peaks Wilderness
Distressed hiker: On September 19, 2015 at 6:17 p.m., Essex County 911 contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch reporting a 23-year-old man from New London, CT in medical distress approximately ¼ of a mile up the Big Slide trail from the Garden parking area. 911 dispatched the Keene Fire Department and Keene Valley Fire Department and EMS at the time of the call. DEC Forest Rangers responded to the Garden parking area. Fire Department personnel, with assistance from Forest Rangers, loaded the man into a litter and carried him back to the trailhead. The Keene Valley Ambulance transported him to Elizabethtown Community Hospital for treatment. The incident concluded at 7:37 p.m.
Town of Keene – High Peaks Wilderness
Stranded climbers: On September 20, 2015 at 6:20 p.m., a 45-year-old female hiker from Corinth, NY contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch reporting that she and her climbing companion, a 52-year-old woman also from Corinth, NY, were unable to descend Cascade Falls. The pair climbed Cascade Falls with the intention of bushwhacking back to the main trail, but they became disoriented once they reached the top of the falls and determined they could not safely make it back down. DEC Forest Rangers responded to assist the women back down. They short roped and belayed them to the base of the falls and escorted them back to their vehicle at the Cascade Day Use Area. The incident concluded at 9:30 p.m.
St. Lawrence County
Town of Clifton – Cranberry Lake Wild Forest
Injured hiker: On September 14, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. a DEC Forest Ranger advised DEC Ray Brook Dispatch of radio traffic dispatching the Cranberry Lake Fire Department to Bear Mountain to assist an injured 65-year-old female hiker from Luts, FL. The Forest Ranger responded along with Cranberry Lake and Star Lake Fire Department personnel. The hiker had fallen on a root near the summit and sustained a lower leg injury. They carried the woman out in a litter to the trailhead. Cranberry Lake Rescue transported her to Clifton-Fine Hospital in Star Lake at 9:30 p.m.
Town of Bolton – Lake George Wild Forest
Distressed hiker: On September 15, 2015 at 5:30 p.m. Warren County 911 contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch about a 65-year-old male hiker from Clifton Park, NY in medical distress on Cat Mountain trail, approximately 15 minutes from the Cat & Thomas Mountain trailhead. The man had hiked Mount Severance in Schroon Lake that morning and then met a friend to hike Cat & Thomas Mountains. As they were headed back to the Cat Mountain trailhead the hiker collapsed on the trail. One Forest Ranger responded along with members of the Bolton Fire Department and EMS. They carried the hiker back to the trailhead at 6:25 p.m. and Bolton EMS transported him to Glens Falls hospital.
Town of Fort Ann – Lake George Wild Forest
Lost hiker: On September 16, 2015 at 11:33 a.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from the friend of a 30-year-old female hiker from Fort Ann, NY lost on the trail to Inman Pond. DEC Dispatch made contact with her by text message and she told them she was near the pond but not on the trail. DEC Forest Rangers responded to the Inman Pond trailhead off Shelving Rock Road where they located the woman’s vehicle. DEC Dispatch advised the woman to contact 911 to obtain her GPS coordinates, but the coordinates obtained were not usable.
Forest Rangers then used binoculars to scan Crossett Lake and located the woman. At 2:17 p.m. Forest Rangers established voice contact at the northwest end of Crossett Pond. They escorted her back to trailhead at 3:35 p.m. and gave her a courtesy ride back to her vehicle.