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 North Elba – High Peaks Wilderness
Injured hiker: On July 29, 2015 at 5:02 p.m., DEC Central Dispatch received a request for assistance for an injured 23-year-old female hiker from Chicago, IL, located one mile from Indian Falls on the Marcy trail. DEC Forest Rangers reached the woman at 5:21 p.m. and requested a hoist. Additional Forest Rangers responded to the Lake Placid Airport for pick up. They hoisted the woman out near Indian Falls and a helicopter transported her to AMC Saranac Lake for treatment. The incident concluded at 8:30 p.m.
Town of Lewis – Giant Mountain Wilderness
Injured hiker: On July 30, 2015 at 4:46 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance for an injured 32-year-old female hiker from Washington, DC, located one mile in on the Rocky Peak Ridge Trail on Giant Mountain. The injured hiker and her hiking companions administered basic first aid and continued walking. DEC Forest Rangers reached the party at 6:00 p.m. and assisted the woman out to the trailhead at 6:36 p.m. The woman and her companions followed a Forest Ranger to Elizabethtown Hospital where she sought treatment. The incident concluded at 7:00 p.m.
Town of Lewis – Giant Mountain Wilderness
Lost hikers: On July 31, 2015 at 9:25 p.m., a passing motorist contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch reporting two girls at the Roaring Brook Trailhead off Route 73 had become separated from three other members of their hiking party. The three other members included a 53-year-old man from Hilton, NY, a 46-year-old woman and a 15-year-old girl, both from Kendall, NY, who were last seen on the Roaring Brook Trail. DEC Forest Rangers responded to the area and made voice contact with the missing hikers at 11:20 p.m. They located them, in good condition, at 11:30 p.m. The Rangers escorted the three hikers down the Roaring Brook Falls Trail and reunited them with the rest of their party. The incident concluded at 1:24 a.m. on August 1.
Town of Keene – High Peaks Wilderness
Distressed hiker: On August 1, 2015 at 8:44 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch overheard traffic on the radio from John’s Brook Loj reporting a 22-year-old man from Deruyter, NY in medical distress at the facility. DEC Forest Rangers responded to the Garden in John’s Brook Valley and entered the Southside Trail on ATVs. Rangers reached the man at 12:20 a.m. on August 2. They evaluated and treated him before loading him into a litter and transporting him out by ATV to Lockwood Field. Rangers transported the man to a Keene Valley Ambulance, which took him to Elizabethtown Hospital for treatment. The incident concluded at 3:20 a.m.
St. Lawrence County
Town of Clifton – Cranberry Lake Wild Forest
Distressed camper: On July 31, 2015 at 2:10 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance for a 59-year-old man from Staten Island, NY in medical distress on the Cranberry Lake 50 Trail. DEC Forest Rangers responded by boat and located the man at site #10. They transported him to a nearby DEC maintenance facility where a Cranberry Lake Ambulance took him to a nearby hospital for treatment. The incident concluded at 3:15 p.m.
Town of Fort Ann – Lake George Wild Forest
Stranded hikers: On July 30, 2015 at 9:41 p.m., DEC Central Dispatch received a request for assistance for two hikers stranded at the summit of Buck Mountain. The 20-year-old woman from Corinth, NY and the 20-year-old man from Lake Luzerne, NY set out for a hike at 5 p.m. from Pilot Knob and reached the summit near dusk. As darkness fell they headed back down, but had difficulty locating the trail. The pair turned around and re-summited the mountain to call for assistance. DEC Forest Rangers responded and located the pair at 1:24 a.m. on July 31. Rangers escorted them out to Shelving Rock Road where New York State Police gave them a ride back to their vehicle at Pilot Knob. The incident concluded at 2:49 a.m.
Town of Dresden – Lake George Wild Forest
Lost hiker: On August 2, 2015 at 6:20 p.m., Washington County 911 contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch regarding a lost 19-year-old female hiker from Huletts Landing, NY on Spruce Mountain. Vermont State Police relayed the information about the hiker to Washington County 911. The woman had reached the summit and lost the trail while descending. DEC Forest Rangers responded. Her family located her in good health at approximately 8:20 p.m. and walked her out to the trailhead where a Forest Ranger waited. The incident concluded at 9:00 p.m.