New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents in the Adirondacks. 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 Persia
Wilderness Rescue: On January 2nd at 11 am, Forest Rangers were notified of a pair of stranded kayakers on Cattaraugus Creek. The two men had been paddling in high water conditions when one paddler flipped and lost his kayak. The second subject lost his kayak attempting to grab the first. One kayaker landed on the Erie County side of the creek and was able to hike out on his own. The other kayaker landed on the Cattaraugus County side of the creek in an area without safe trail access. Forest Ranger Sprague responded to the scene and rappelled down to kayaker. The Ranger harnessed the man to be raised out on a system set up by Forest Ranger Rogers and Gowanda Fire Department and Ambulance. Members of the District 1 Rescue Team also responded to assist. The kayaker did not require medical assistance and was released.
Town of Keene Valley
Wilderness Rescue: On December 28th at 9:58 am, Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch reporting a 51-year-old male from Forest Mills had sustained injuries from a 30-foot fall on the Giant Mt. Ridge Trail. While Forest Rangers Lewis, Mecus, Praczkaljo, and Evans responded to the trailhead, Lt. Burns conducted a phone interview with the reporting party and determined the incident a medical emergency response. Rangers requested Essex County Emergency Service to deploy a Critical Care Technician to assist with medical care. Icy trail conditions warranted an additional five Forest Rangers, two members of the DEC trail crew, and eight members of the Keene Valley Backcountry Rescue Group to assist with a steep-angle technical rescue. At 12:30 pm, the hiker was stabilized and packaged into a litter for a two-mile carryout to a waiting ambulance. At 3:15 pm, the injured hiker was out of the woods, turned over to Keene Valley Rescue, and transported to a local hospital for further medical treatment. All personnel were clear of the scene at 3:30 pm.
Town of Hunter
Wilderness Rescue: On December 29th at 11 am, Greene County 911 received a call from a hiker with an ankle injury on the Escarpment Trail near Layman’s Monument. The hiker was wearing sneakers and slipped on the trail due to icy conditions. Forest Rangers responded, along with members of a local fire department, to the hiker’s location. Once on scene, Rangers determined the 25-year-old hiker from Lebanon, New Jersey, had an unstable ankle injury. Responders implemented a rescue plan that included re-warming the hiker and packaging him in a litter to be carried out half a mile to the Laurel House trailhead. The hiker was then transferred to Hunter Ambulance and transported to a local hospital for medical treatment.
Town of Windham
Wilderness Rescue: On January 1st at 11:20 am, Greene County 911 received a report of a woman with an injured elbow on the Batavia Kill Trail. The subject had been trail running on the Acra Point Loop Trails with another runner until they separated to take different trails to Big Hollow Trailhead. Near the Batavia Kill lean-to, the woman fell on the ice, which caused an unstable elbow injury. She called 911 for help and slowly continued out to the trailhead with a group of hikers who stopped to assist her. Forest Rangers Nelson and Fox responded, with Ranger Nelson locating the 29-year-old woman from Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey, on the trail at 12 pm Ranger Nelson provided warming materials, stabilized the runner’s arm, and assisted her to the trailhead. Windham Ambulance EMS evaluated the subject at the trailhead and she reported that she would seek additional medical treatment on her own.
Be Prepared: Properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hiking Safety webpage.