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 Arkwright
Wilderness Search: On September 27 at 7:30 pm, Forest Ranger Sprague received a call for assistance in locating two lost hikers near Arkwright Falls. Ranger Sprague drove to hikers’ vehicle on Burnham Road and met up with two New York State Troopers at approximately 7:40 pm. After receiving coordinates from Chautauqua County Dispatch, Ranger Sprague advised the hikers to stay put while he and Trooper Murphy hiked to their location. The responders located the 26-year-old hikers from Boston and Lackawanna at approximately 8:30 pm with no injuries. Ranger Sprague provided water to the subjects and led them out to a nearby road. The hikers arrived back at their vehicle at 9 pm.
Town of St. Armand
Wilderness Rescue: On September 22 at 12:10 pm, Franklin County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch reporting an injured 64-year-old hiker from Dyer, Indiana, on Baker Mountain. The hiker went off the trail, fell, and injured his right leg. Forest Rangers Evans and Sabo responded to assist. Once on scene, Forest Ranger Evans provided first aid for the subject’s unstable knee and ankle. Due to the extent of the injury, New York State Police (NYSP) Aviation was requested along with backup rescuers including members of Search and Rescue of the Northern Adirondacks in case of a possible carry-out involving a high-angle rope technique on steep terrain. NYSP Aviation, with Forest Ranger Benzel as hoist operator, completed the hoist rescue off the mountain at 4:18 pm. The hiker was transported to a local hospital for further medical treatment.
Town of North Elba
Wilderness Rescue: On September 23 at 3:15 pm, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a group of hikers reporting that a 60-year-old woman from Bath had dislocated her left shoulder on the trail for Phelps Mountain. The caller reported that they believed the subject’s shoulder was back in the socket and that they had tied a belt around the injured woman’s shoulder to keep it in place. The group continued down to Marcy Dam where they were met by Forest Ranger Lewis. Ranger Lewis provided a sling for the injured shoulder and escorted the hikers to the outpost where they were given a ride back out to their vehicle. The injured hiker advised that she would seek further medical treatment on her own.
Town of Wilmington
Wilderness Rescue: On September 24 at 10:30 am, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for Forest Ranger assistance regarding a 60-year-old man from Warren, Connecticut, who had a medical issue on the Stag River Trail on Whiteface Mountain. Forest Rangers responded to the hiker’s location and arrived on scene at 11:08 am. Rangers transported the subject to the Whiteface Ski Center where he was evaluated by Whiteface Medical Staff and transferred to Wilmington Rescue for transport to a local hospital for treatment. The incident concluded at 12:15 pm.
Town of Keene
Wilderness Rescue: On September 25 at 1:05 pm, Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch from a pair of hikers on the Blueberry Mountain Trail reporting a 76-year-old hiker from Katonah with a non-weight bearing ankle injury. Forest Rangers Lewis and van Laer and Assistant Forest Ranger Raudonis responded to assist. Once on scene, Rangers splinted the injured ankle and the hiker attempted to make his way out with crutches, but was unsuccessful. The Keene and Keene Valley Fire Departments Back Country Rescue responded with a litter and backpack carries to assist with the carry-out with Forest Rangers Gliddi and Evans. The responders carried the hiker to the trailhead and he advised he would seek further medical assistance on his own.
Town of Wilmington
Wilderness Rescue: On September 26 at 3 pm, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance for a 26-year-old hiker from Queensbury with an ankle injury on Whiteface Mountain just below Hoyt’s High. Forest Rangers Lewis, Burns, and LaPierre responded to assist, arriving on scene at 3:34 pm. The Rangers quickly reached the hiker on the ski trails and began to carry her down the mountain to an ATV. After loading the hiker onto the ATV, the Rangers continued down the mountain to the meet the Wilmington Rescue Squad, waiting to provide additional medical treatment. A 7:15 pm, all resources were cleared of the scene.
Town of Keene
Wilderness Rescue: On September 26 at 5:15 pm DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a group of hikers on Pitchoff Mountain reporting that one of their group had fallen, hit her head, and lacerated her leg. Forest Rangers Praczkajlo, LaPierre, Sabo, van Laer, and Evans responded to the East Trailhead. Upon arriving on scene, the Rangers determined the subject was unable to walk out on her own. Rangers requested assistance from the Keene Valley Backcountry Rescue for assistance. With the bleeding stopped, rescuers started the rugged carry-out and arrived back at the trailhead at 9:32 pm. The 51-year-old hiker from Westport was turned over to Keene Ambulance for further medical treatment.
Town of Long Lake
Wilderness Rescue: On September 25 at 6:50 a.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance from SPOT Locator Services for a 60-year-old Ballston Spa woman with a non-weight bearing knee injury at the Ouluska lean-to on the Northville-Placid Trail. Due to the remoteness of the area, Rangers contacted NYSP Aviation to assist in performing a hoist operation to extract the injured hiker. Forest Rangers and NYSP Aviation extracted the woman and flew her to a local hospital for treatment at 10:35 a.m., while Rangers using UTVs drove to Ward Brook to meet the subject’s husband. The man was given a ride out to the gate and a courtesy ride to his vehicle at the trailhead.
Town of Conesus
Wildland Fire: On September 21, Livingston County 911 contacted Forest Ranger Dormer about a tree on fire in the Hemlock Lake State Forest. Forest Rangers Dormer, Carpenter, and Cordell, along with Fire Warden Bolonda, used a Ranger boat to transport hose, pump, and hand tools to fell and extinguish the tree in a hard-to-access area along Hemlock Lake. While investigating the fire on September 24, Ranger Dormer observed another fire 200 feet uphill from the Hemlock Lake fire. Ranger Dormer and Fire Wardens Bolonda and Clark conducted fire line construction and mop up of the second fire over the following days.
Town of Woodhull
Wildland Fire: On September 25 at 3 pm, Forest Ranger Carpenter received a call from Steuben County 911 to assist the Woodhull Volunteer Fire Department and other local volunteer fire departments with a fire that originated from a disabled motor vehicle along State Route 417. Due to the steep slope adjacent to the highway, the fire progressed quickly up the slope and spread into a mix of grass pasture and woodland timber litter, burning a total of 7.9 acres. Ranger Carpenter patrolled the fire the following two days and extinguished small areas of ground fire in the fire perimeter.
Be Prepared: Properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hiking Safety webpage.