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 Georgetown
Trash and Bonfires: On April 28, Forest Ranger Burkholder investigated a complaint of a gathering at Muller Hill State Forest. Ranger Burkholder arrived to find a smoldering bonfire, as well as some trash and pallets that were left behind. Unable to locate the responsible party, the Ranger proceeded to put out the fire while DEC Operations staff removed the trash and pallets from the site. On May 4, Forest Ranger Virkler received a tip that another gathering occurred at the same location, with more trash and pallets left behind. Ranger Virkler located the responsible individuals and educated them on regulations regarding state land use. The Ranger issued tickets for depositing trash on state lands and failure to follow instructions on DEC signage.
In an effort to reduce the number of spring brush fires, New York State’s residential brush burning ban is in effect through May 14. For more information, go to DEC’s website.
Town of North Elba/Keene
Wilderness Rescue: On May 8 at 10:48 a.m., Franklin County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch reporting an injured hiker on the summit of Mt. Marcy. The hiker, a 52-year-old woman from Bailey, CO, had slipped on the ice and suffered a hip injury. Nine Forest Rangers and two volunteers from the Search and Rescue of the Northern Adirondacks (SARNAK) responded to the Adirondak Loj to evacuate the injured hiker. New York State Police Aviation was requested, but unfavorable weather conditions prevented any flights. At 4:39 p.m., Forest Rangers Mecus and LaPierre reached the subject and determined the injury was non-weight bearing. While waiting for additional resources to arrive on scene, Rangers stabilized the injury and constructed a small shelter to prevent further cold exposure. A Lake Placid EMS Paramedic also responded to the summit to provide additional care. The hiker was packaged in a litter at 6:58 p.m., and rescuers began the carry-out. Poor trail conditions (two to three feet of snowpack and ice) led to a slow evacuation for the exhausted rescuers. Additional Forest Rangers responded to relieve the first team of rescuers, and with the assistance of New York State Police, began transporting additional rescue personnel to the Marcy Dam Outpost. During the evacuation, one of the rescuers presented possible cardiac symptoms. The EMS Paramedic on scene evaluated and closely monitored the rescuer while the remaining rescuers continued carrying out the injured hiker. At 3 a.m., the two patients were evacuated and transferred to waiting ambulances for transport to a local hospital for medical treatment.
Town of Keene
Wilderness Rescue: On May 8 at 6:04 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a hiker who lost the trail on Pitchoff Mountain in the Sentinel Range Wilderness Area. The 32-year-old hiker from Nutley, NJ, described himself as fatigued, wet, and disoriented and requested Forest Ranger assistance. Forest Ranger Lt. Burns conducted a phone interview with the hiker and determined the subject was not capable of self-rescuing. At 8:21 p.m., Lt. Burns responded to the scene and located the hiker a short distance from the trail. The hiker was treated for cold exposure, provided a head lamp, and escorted out of the woods. The incident concluded at 11:38 p.m.
Town of Keene
Wilderness Rescue: On May 9 at 6:13 p.m., the Keene Valley Fire Department requested Forest Ranger assistance to locate a 72-year-old man from Keene Valley who was overdue from a hike. Forest Ranger Mecus responded. At 7:29 p.m., searchers located the missing man, who suffered minor injuries from falling off a ledge. Using a technical rope belay system, Ranger Mecus extracted the man from the ledge. At 9:02 p.m., the subject was transferred to Keene Valley Rescue for transport to a local hospital.
Be Prepared: Properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hiking Safety webpage.