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 Colchester
Wilderness Search/Recovery: On March 23rd at 11:20 am, DEC’s Central Dispatch received a call from Delaware County 911 requesting Forest Ranger assistance with a search for a missing 67-year-old man from Downsville. Initial reports from 911 stated police agencies, local fire departments, and EMS were on scene and had been searching for the man since 6:30 am. Forest Rangers from Region 3 and 4 responded. Shortly after the Rangers’ arrival, a drone operator located the missing man in a small tributary in the east branch of the Delaware River. Ground crews confirmed the subject was deceased. Rangers assisted with the recovery efforts and the subject was turned over to the Delaware County Coroner’s Office. All resources were clear of the scene at 3:30 pm.
Town of Keene
Wilderness Rescue: On March 25th at 5:14 pm, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a hiker reporting he was concerned that his 18-year-old friend was lost after the pair were separated on the trail for Mount Marcy in the High Peaks Wilderness Area. After speaking with the caller, Forest Ranger Praczkajlo advised that he and Forest Ranger O’Connor were responding to assist. Once on scene, Ranger Praczkajlo notified Dispatch that he and Ranger O’Connor made contact with the reporting party at Marcy Dam. Ranger Praczkajlo continued up the trail to locate the lost hiker while Ranger O’Connor began to escort the friend out of the woods. Lt. Burns advised that Ranger Lewis would respond to the Garden parking lot and begin to hike up the Mount Marcy trail from Johns Brook Valley. Ranger Lewis was forced to posthole while walking with snowshoes. At 12:46 am, the lost hiker from Southbury, Connecticut, texted Ray Brook Dispatch, advising that he was on the yellow trail that leads to the Adirondack Loj. The subject also provided his coordinates. At 2 am, Ranger Lewis located fresh snowshoe tracks leading to the lost hiker. The hiker was suffering from exposure due to the high number of stream crossings. Two additional Rangers also responded but were turned around by high water levels and deteriorating trail conditions while attempting to reach the Johns Brook interior outpost. Ranger Lewis provided the subject with warm clothing, food, and water. Together the Ranger and the subject reached the outpost safely at 6:15 am. After resting for a few hours, the Ranger and the subject hiked back to the trailhead and the hiker was released to his parents at 10:45 am.
Town of Newcomb
Wilderness Rescue: On March 28th at 3:45 pm, Ray Brook Dispatch was contacted by a 39-year-old hiker from Gansevoort reporting that he was lost and confused on the ridge between Santanoni Peak and Panther Mountain in the High Peaks Wilderness Area. The hiker provided coordinates from his cell phone, plotting him at an approximately 4,300-foot elevation and six miles from the Bradley Pond trailhead. Ray Brook Dispatch provided cell phone coordinates (pings) that allowed Ranger Sabo to track the hiker’s movements on a map. Ranger Sabo contacted the lost hiker and made numerous attempts to assist him in using his own map and compass to locate the trail. The hiker was then instructed to stay at that location and shelter from the wind and rain until Rangers arrived. At approximately 5:30 pm, with poor weather conditions and less than favorable trail conditions, Rangers Dicintio and Quinn departed for the ridge on Sanatoni Peak via the Bradley Pond trail. Ranger Sabo remained in the Newcomb area to coordinate rescue efforts and assist with communications. At 11 pm, Rangers located the hiker a short distance off the path leading to Santanoni Peak. The hiker utilized a whistle to alert Rangers to his location. After conducting a medical assessment, the group began their descent back to the Bradley Pond trail. All parties were clear of the scene at 2:30 am.
Town of Lexington
Wilderness Rescue: On March 27th at 3 pm, DEC Dispatch received a report of a hiker needing assistance on the Spruceton Trail at Rusk Mountain Wild Forest in the town of Lexington. A 38-year-old was experiencing vomiting and cramping and was unable to move. The caller reported his friend had trouble the previous evening with the 2.25-mile hike and started vomiting when they reached the John Robb lean-to. The next morning, the subject was still vomiting, and the group decided to return to the parking area. After hiking approximately 1.25 miles, the subject could not continue. His son stayed with him while his friend hiked out to call for help. Ranger Nelson and the Lexington Fire Department responded to the scene. Rescue personnel hiked in one mile on the Spruceton Trail to reach the subject. The responders provided first aid and the subject was secured in a litter and driven out on a 6×6 to the trailhead. At 5 pm, the man was transferred to the Ashland Ambulance and Greene County Paramedic transported him to Columbia Memorial Hospital.
Town of Edinburg
Wilderness Search: On March 28th at 5:15 pm, Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Saratoga County 911 for help locating two lost hikers on a snowmobile trail in Edinburg in Saratoga County. Ranger Baker responded and quickly located the pair in good condition and walked them out of the woods and back to their vehicle. The incident concluded at 7:20 pm.
Onondaga, Broome, and Chenango Counties
Multiple Towns Region 7
Wildfires: On March 22nd and 23rd, Region 7 Forest Rangers responded to multiple wildfires in Onondaga, Broome, and Chenango counties to assist local fire departments with fire suppression and enforcement. In a few cases, the cause of the fire was determined to be someone burning in violation of DEC fire regulations. Fire Rangers issued tickets after the fires were put out. In an effort to reduce the number of spring brush fires, New York State’s residential brush burning ban is in effect through May 14th. For more information, visit DEC’s website.
Be Prepared: Properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hiking Safety webpage.