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 Niles
Wilderness Rescue: On August 1 at 5:50 pm, Cayuga County 911 contacted Forest Ranger Lunt about a 28-year-old woman who was unable to safely climb out of the gorge at the bottom of Carpenter Falls. At 6:40 pm, Ranger Lunt arrived on scene and, working with the Cayuga County Rope Rescue Team, raised the uninjured woman 80 feet up a steep incline to safety. The incident concluded at 6:50 pm.
Town of North Elba
Wilderness Search: On July 28 at 8:20 pm, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call reporting an 11-year-old boy missing from his campsite on South Meadows Road. A man from the neighboring site said the boy’s mother went into her tent to change and when she came out, he was gone. She believed he took his flashlight to go exploring. Forest Rangers Praczkajlo and vanLaer responded to the campsite along with New York State Police. Ranger Praczkajlo, who was first on scene, had a State Trooper wait downstream near the bridge on Adirondack Loj Road running a siren while he began searching the area. At 10:29 pm, Ranger Praczkajlo advised that he was with the missing boy from Hebron after the child went downstream towards the sound of the siren. The two made their way out of the woods to the road and the boy reunited with his mother by 11:20 pm.
Town of Wilmington
Wilderness Rescue: On August 1 at 10:48 am, Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch reporting a 40-year-old woman with an injured ankle on the Flume trail. The caller stated that her friend was climbing a tree when she fell and injured her right ankle, hearing an audible snapping noise. The caller stated that they were approximately a quarter mile up the trail. Forest Rangers Baldwin and LaPierre responded to their location along with members of the Wilmington Fire Department. They proceeded up the trail with an ATV where they found the injured woman and brought her out on an ATV. Once back at the trailhead, the woman was turned over to the Wilmington Ambulance Squad for transportation to a local hospital for further medical treatment.
Town of North Elba
Wilderness Rescue: On August 1 at 9:43 pm, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from the Adirondak Loj at Hear Lake reporting six men overdue from hiking Mount Marcy. The group had originally started off as 11 hikers who split up at Indian Falls at 5 pm. Five of the men turned around to head back down at that time while the other six continued towards the summit. The reporting members stated that the six of them only had trail mix, cell phones, and what was left of their water for supplies. During the interview process, one of the men made it out of the woods and down to the Loj. He reported that he last saw the other five men at Indian Falls at 8:30 pm before leaving them behind to head to the Loj. Forest Ranger Praczkajlo responded to the Adirondak Loj trailhead, hiked into the woods, and found the group using their last cell phone with battery life as a flashlight. The group was escorted back to the trailhead and were out of the woods by 11:18 pm.
Town of Corinth
Wilderness Rescue: On July 31 at 4:23 pm, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance for two 28-year-old male hikers from Rochester who became disoriented while hiking the Western Ridge Trail. They advised they were unsure of their location and out of food and water. Saratoga County 911 provided coordinates placing them on a trail in Moreau Lake State Park. Forest Ranger Donegan responded and at 7:48 pm located the hikers and walked them out of the woods.
St. Lawrence County
Town of Potsdam
Wildland Fire: On July 26 at 3:30 pm, Region 6 Forest Rangers responded to assist eight fire departments with suppression of a two-acre fire in the town of Potsdam. Firefighters worked to contain the fire and put out hotspots while Rangers mopped up the fire and put out any additional hot spots for four more days. The fire was declared out on July 31.
Town of Colton
Wilderness Search: On July 29 at 11:32 am, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office requesting Forest Ranger assistance with locating a missing 32-year-old woman from Colton. The woman was last seen on July 28 at 10 pm by a friend at her residence. She sent concerning text messages to family members the morning of July 29, prompting the Sheriff’s Office to begin investigating. Forest Rangers Shea, Benzel, Lee, Baldwin and Lt. Terry responded to the woman’s residence to meet with sheriff deputies and then began a search of the area along with eight deputies, two New York State Troopers and a K9 unit. They also used a drone from St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Police to assist in searching certain areas. The search crew found tracks based on tips from the community and a Ranger found the woman a few miles from where she was last seen. Sheriff’s deputies interviewed her and an ambulance transported her to a nearby hospital for treatment.
Town of Hammond
Wildland Fire: On July 29 at 8:40 pm, St. Lawrence County 911 requested Forest Ranger assistance for a remote wildfire just off Route 12 in the town of Hammond. Three Forest Rangers initially responded and assisted local fire departments with containment of the fire. Rangers worked the fire all night and the next day with two additional Rangers assisting. Due to the dry conditions, the terrain, and remoteness of the 2.8-acre fire, Rangers fought the fire for three additional days. The fire was finally extinguished on August 2.
Be Prepared: Properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hiking Safety webpage.