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:
Town of Wilmington – McKenzie Mountain Wilderness
Injured hiker: On July 13, 2015 at 11:50 a.m., DEC Central Dispatch received a call reporting an injured hiker at the summit of Whiteface Mountain. The 26-year-old woman from New Jersey slipped while attempting to seek shelter from a thunderstorm. DEC Forest Rangers responded, assessed her at the scene and placed her in a litter for carry-out to an established landing zone. At 2:20 p.m. New York Police Aviation flew her to Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake for further medical treatment. The incident concluded at 3:30 p.m.
Town of Keene – High Peaks Wilderness
Injured hiker: On July 16, 2015 at 4:00 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from North Country Camps reporting one of its camp counselors had sustained a lower leg injury and was unable to continue back down Noonmark Mountain. The 21-year-old woman from Greenup, KY, accompanied by another counselor and four children, became injured 1.5 miles from the trailhead. DEC Forest Rangers responded, assessed the woman and placed her in a litter for carry-out to an established landing zone. New York State Police Aviation flew her to Marcy Field and transferred her to Keene Valley Rescue. Keene Valley Rescue transported the woman to Elizabethtown Hospital for treatment. The incident concluded at 7:00 p.m.
Town of Keene – Adirondack Mountain Reserve
Inured hiker: On July 18, 2015 at 2:10 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from the Adirondack Mountain Reserve requesting assistance for an injured hiker near Beaver Meadow Falls. The 67-year-old man from Salinas, CA sustained a lower leg injury and required assistance to hike out. DEC Forest Rangers responded and assisted the man to the intersection of the trail with Lake Road. From there, Rangers transported him to his residence on the Mountain Club Property. The man told them he would seek medical attention on his own. The incident concluded at 3:30 p.m.
Town of Keene – High Peaks Wilderness
Injured hiker: On July 19, 2015 at 5:30 p.m., a hiker contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch requesting assistance for his injured companion in the John’s Brook Valley. The 60-year-old companion from Saratoga Springs, NY had fallen and sustained multiple injuries. DEC Forest Rangers responded and located the men roughly 45 minutes in on the Southside trail. They stabilized the injured man and placed him in a litter for a carry-out by an All-Terrain Vehicle to a waiting ambulance. Keene Valley Rescue transported the man to Elizabethtown Hospital for treatment. The incident concluded at 10:30 p.m.
Town of Long Lake – William C. Whitney Wilderness
Injured camper: On July 15, 2015 at 6:22 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Hamilton County 911 reporting an injured camper on Lake Lila. The 27-year-old man from Buffalo, NY had sustained an injury in a swimming accident. A DEC Forest Ranger and Long Lake EMS responded to the campsite. They assessed the man and determined he would need additional medical attention. The Forest Ranger and EMT transported him back to shore via boat and released him to a waiting ambulance for transport to the nearest medical center for treatment. The incident concluded at 8:25 p.m.
Town of Fort Edward – Lake George Wild Forest
Lost hikers: On July 14, 2015 at 12:05 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from two lost hikers on Buck Mountain. The 17-year-old and 18-year-old females, both from Niskayuna, NY said they summited Buck Mountain and were possibly descending on the wrong trail. GPS Coordinates placed them on the west side of the mountain on the trail to Buck Mountain from Pilot Knob Road. A DEC Forest Ranger responded and met the women on the trail. He escorted them out and provided them with a ride back to their vehicle. The incident concluded at 2:15 p.m.