New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents in the around New York State. 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.
What follows is a report, prepared by DEC, of recent missions carried out by Forest Rangers.
Town of North Elba
Wilderness Rescue: On August 13 at 9:28 pm, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a man reporting that he and his girlfriend were lost on the Mount Marcy trail. Dispatch advised the caller to hang up and dial 911 so Forest Rangers could obtain coordinates. Coordinates provided by Essex County 911 placed the pair just below the Phelps Mountain junction heading toward Marcy Dam. The caller stated that the pair did not have flashlights or headlamps and that his girlfriend had rolled both of her ankles but was able to walk. Per Forest Ranger Baldwin, Dispatch advised the hikers to use one of their two cell phones as a flashlight and continue making their way down to Marcy Dam where he would meet them with an UTV. At 10:45 pm, Ranger Baldwin retrieved the 27-year-old from Churchville and the 25-year-old from Rochester. The Ranger gave the hikers a ride out to their vehicle where the pair advised they would seek further medical assistance on their own.
Town of St. Armand
Wilderness Rescue: On August 15 at 9:44 am, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance for a 46-year-old male from Glenville who was having medical issues about six-tenths of a mile up the trail to Mount Baker. Three Forest Rangers responded to assist, arriving at the hiker’s location at 10:30 am. Forest Rangers and the hiker slowly began walking out, reaching the trailhead at 11:20 am. The ill hiker was turned over to Saranac Lake Rescue for treatment and the incident concluded at 11:45 am.
Town of North Elba
Wilderness Rescue: On August 16 at 5:40 pm, Franklin County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch reporting a woman who injured her ankle coming down Scarface Mountain. The 41-year-old woman from Massena stated that when she rolled her right ankle, she felt a snap. Forest Ranger Praczkajlo responded to assist, taking a six-wheeled ATV into the woods before proceeding on foot up the remainder of the trail. Once with the injured hiker, Ranger Praczkajlo evaluated and splinted the ankle before assisting the subject to the ATV. The Ranger then proceeded to transport the hiker the remainder of the distance to her vehicle at the trailhead. The injured hiker advised that she would seek further medical assistance on her own.
Town of Franklin
Wilderness Rescue: On August 14 at 10:11 pm, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a woman reporting that her two friends were overdue from kayaking on Union Falls Pond. The 21-year-old woman and 22-year-old man from New City went to watch the sunset from their kayaks but their friends grew concerned when it got dark because the pair are not familiar with the area. Forest Ranger Baldwin responded to the camp and after interviewing members of the party, determined that the group had found one of the kayaks along the shore. Ranger Baldwin swept the road in the surrounding area before reaching out for assistance. Once cleared of a separate incident, Forest Ranger Praczkajlo responded to assist with the search and was on scene at 12:26 am. Forest Rangers fueled up and used the reporting party’s boat and began searching the area where the kayak was found. Rangers turned off the motor and yelled out for the missing kayakers. At 1:12 am, the Rangers heard the pair yelling for help from the shore and proceeded to pick them up. The overdue kayakers stated that when one of their kayaks flipped, they panicked and attempted to grab onto the other one, flipping it, and then swam to shore. Rangers Baldwin and Praczkajlo took the two kayakers back to their camp and the incident concluded at 2:18 am.
Town of Franklin
Wilderness Rescue: On August 15 at 5:15 pm, Franklin County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch reporting four hikers from Fort Covington lost on the backside of Debar Mountain in the Debar Mountain Wild Forest Area. Forest Rangers Sabo and Russell responded to locate the hikers, last known to be at the far end of the lake. Upon arrival, Rangers were advised of an incident necessitating a medical evaluation of one of the hikers. Rangers Sabo and Russell transported the hiker to a local hospital for medical assistance and the incident concluded at 8:08 pm.
Town of Indian Lake
Wilderness Rescue: On August 10 at 4:58 pm, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a hiker reporting that his wife had slipped and injured her right ankle about one quarter of a mile up the trail for Castle Rock in Blue Mountain Lake. The 49-year-old woman from Delmar slipped on a rock while coming down the trail. Forest Ranger Scott responded to assist and was met at the trailhead by members of the Blue Mountain Lake Fire and EMS. Once they located the woman, EMTs provided medical care while the Forest Ranger and members of the rescue squad prepared a litter for a carry out. Once packaged safely in the litter, the rescue squad carried the woman out to the trailhead and turned her over to the Blue Mountain Lake Ambulance, which transported her to a local hospital. The incident concluded at about 6:30 pm.
Town of Denning
Wilderness Rescue: On August 16 at 3:50 pm, a 74-year-old woman from Albany walking the access trail from the Blue Hole fell and struck her head. Forest Rangers Slade and Stratton heard the subject’s screams and responded to assist. The Rangers carried the woman up to the roadway where they were met by the Grahamsville EMS. After being evaluated by EMS, the woman was transported to a local hospital by helicopter for additional treatment for her head injury. The incident concluded at 5:30 pm.
Be Prepared: Properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hiking Safety webpage.