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 Pomfret
Wildland Fire: On April 10th at 10:30 pm, Forest Ranger Sprague was contacted by Chautauqua County 911 Dispatch for a wildfire sparked by a barn fire. The fire burned 1.8 acres of land and was quickly extinguished. Ranger Sprague assisted with suppression, mop up, and mapping the fire.
Town of Pleasant Valley
Wilderness Rescue: On April 5th at 11:30 am, DEC’s Central Dispatch received a call from Dutchess County 911 about a 64-year-old woman from Pleasant Valley with a lower leg injury near the Mercury Trail at the Taconic Hereford Multiply Use Area. Forest Rangers Sweeney, Rusher, and Cowart responded and helped to package and transport the subject out of the woods to Pleasant Valley EMS. The subject was then taken to a local hospital for treatment.
Town of North Elba
Wilderness Rescue: On April 10th at 11:50 am, Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch regarding a hiker who had fallen on a trail and sustained an injury while descending Cascade Mountain. Forest Ranger LaPierre responded to assist. The reporting party, an EMT, was escorting the injured party down the trail to meet up with rescuers. Forest Ranger Lapierre reached the 19-year-old woman from Penfield at 1 pm, and determined her injuries were more serious than first reported. New York State Police Aviation performed a hoist rescue and the subject was taken to a local hospital for treatment.
Town of Hunter
Wilderness Search: On April 10th at 3:30 pm, Greene County 911 contacted Acting Forest Ranger Lt. Dawson about a lost hiker at Kaaterskill Falls. Acting Lt. Dawson reached the subject by phone and found the 55-year-old man from Danbury, Connecticut, at the base of a 25-foot ledge. The Ranger escorted the hiker up a path through the ledge and up the steep slope until they reached the rail trail. The hiker and his dog hiked back along the trail to the subject’s vehicle without assistance. The hiker reported that he came out for the day with his dog to take pictures of Kaaterskill and Bastion falls. The subject planned to hike off trail through the woods from the Kaaterskill Rail Trail to Bastion Falls, but did not realize that the terrain would involve ledges scattered along a steep slope. As he hiked down the slope, attempting to avoid a ledge, he became disoriented and concerned because he couldn’t find his way back up the slope, so he yelled for help and called 911.
Town of Indian Lake
Wilderness Rescue: On April 9th at 2:30 pm, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from New York State Police B Command advising of a lost hiker in the OK Slip Falls area. The hiker stated she became disoriented while hiking out and was standing near a river. Forest Rangers Scott and Miller responded. Ranger Scott tried to call the woman, but due to limited cell service, texted her with instructions. Not knowing if the subject received the instructions, Rangers Scott and Miller searched the trail and found the 56-year-old woman from North Creek heading back in the correct direction. She had received the text message, but could not send a reply. The Rangers and hiker proceeded back to trailhead.
Town of Fabius
Wilderness Search: On April 10th at 6:40 pm, Forest Ranger Lunt was notified by DEC’s Central Dispatch of a lost hiker in the Morgan Hill State Forest. Ranger Lunt advised Dispatch that he was on his way home from patrolling a fire in Tioga County and asked that Dispatch contact Ranger Virkler, as well, as he was likely closer to that location. Both Rangers arrived on scene on opposite sides of the same trail and hiked to cell phone coordinates given by the hiker’s mother. The 18-year-old subject from Earlville and her dog were found in good health within 500 feet of the coordinates provided. The subject was walked out to her vehicle and Rangers cleared the scene at 10 pm.
Town of Constantia
Wildland Fire: On April 8th at 2:50 pm, Forest Rangers Virkler and Shea responded to the town of Constantia to assist local fire departments with a 16.5-acre wildfire. The fire was put into patrol status late in the evening and Ranger Virkler returned to patrol the fire for several days until it was declared out on April 11.
Town of Tioga
Wildland Fire: On April 8th at 5:45 pm, Forest Rangers Chappell, Roberts, and Skudalarek responded to a wildfire in Tioga County. The fire was in steep, wooded terrain, and containment could not be established that evening. On April 9th, seven Forest Rangers returned to assist local firefighters with suppression and at 5:30 pm. the fire was put into patrol status. Forest Rangers trained to determine wildfire origin and cause were requested by State Police and State Office of Fire Prevention and Control to provide specialized wildfire investigation assistance to help determine the exact cause. Forest Rangers patrolled the fire again on April 10th and declared the fire out. The final fire size was 77.5 acres.
Be Prepared: Properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hiking Safety webpage.