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 North Elba
Wilderness Rescue: On August 30th at 11:52 am, Forest Rangers Evans and Lewis responded to a dropped 911 call reporting a 60-year-old man from Missouri had suffered a knee injury on the Jackrabbit Trail. The Rangers responded to the location, splinted the subject’s leg, and evacuated him using a UTV. By 2:30 pm, Rangers had returned the subject to the trailhead and transferred him to Lake Placid Volunteer Ambulance Squad.
Town of North Elba
Wilderness Rescue: On September 4th at 1:45 pm, Essex County 911 contacted DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch requesting Forest Ranger assistance for a report of a 31-year-old woman from Cobleskill in medical distress after being stung by bees at Owen Pond. Forest Ranger Mecus responded and helped the subject out of the woods. At 2:30 pm, the woman was transported to a local hospital.
Town of Keene
Wilderness Search: On September 4th at 7:45 pm, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a group of hikers at the Roaring Brook Falls trailhead reporting that their friend was overdue from a hike on Giant Mountain. The group last saw the subject at the base of the falls about an hour and a half earlier. Forest Rangers Bode and Lewis responded to assist. At 9:17 pm, Ranger Bode located the 18-year-old hiker from Oswego. The subject became lost off trail and was unable to find the trail again before dark. Ranger Bode escorted the hiker back to the parking lot where he was reunited with the group. All units were clear of the incident at 10 pm.
Town of Hunter
Wilderness Rescue: On September 6th at 2:55 pm, Forest Ranger Fox responded to a report that a 67-year-old woman from Westhampton Beach had slipped and fallen on the Huckleberry Point Trail in the Kaaterskill Wild Forest area. The hiker was 2.5 miles from the trailhead, accompanied by family members. Rangers Fox and Seeley, along with Assistant Forest Ranger France, responded to assist. Once on scene, Rangers provided basic first aid for a scrape and bruise on the subject’s face and stabilized her injured left shoulder in a sling. Rangers then assisted the woman out of the woods. Once back at the trailhead, the hiker declined additional medical care stating she would seek treatment on her own. All resources were clear of the scene at 8:14 pm.
Town of Webb
State Land Protection: On September 4th at approximately 8:33 pm, DEC’s Raybrook Dispatch received a call from Herkimer County 911 advising of an unattended campfire near the summit of Bald Mountain in the Fulton Chain Wild Forest. Forest Ranger McCartney responded and located a father and son illegally camped in the vicinity of the fire tower. Ranger McCartney observed their campfire burning into a nearby stump and roots, contributing to a small ground fire. Discarded beer cans were observed in and around the campfire. Ranger McCartney extinguished the fire with water and hand tools. Tickets were issued for camping within 150 feet of a trail and for depositing waste on State Land. Ranger McCartney returned the following morning and declared the fire out by 11:30 am.
Town of Warwick
Wilderness Rescue: On September 5th at 3:48 pm, Orange County 911 contacted DEC Dispatch reporting a 27-year-old hiker from New York City with an unstable ankle injury on the Appalachian Trail near Greenwood Lake. Forest Ranger Allwine responded along with Warwick and Greenwood Lake fire departments, the Town of Warwick Police, and Warwick Volunteer Ambulance. Fire and EMS members each had a UTV in the woods travelling toward the hiker from different directions. At one point, the trail became impassable by UTV, so rescuers continued on foot. Once the responders made contact with the injured woman, Ranger Allwine and two fire department members assisted with carrying out the hiker to a waiting UTV. Back at the trailhead, the woman was transferred to Warwick Volunteer Ambulance for transport to a local hospital. All resources were clear of the scene at 7:18 pm.
Town of Orange
Wilderness Search: On September 1st at 9 am, Schuyler County 911 notified Forest Ranger Roberts about a search for a missing 19-year-old woman from Beaver Dams. Ranger Roberts responded to the scene where he interviewed the young person’s mother and started conducting linear searches along frequented trails. Utilizing additional information collected from cell phone data, Ranger Roberts and two Schuyler County Sheriff’s Deputies pinpointed the subject’s location. The search group located the young woman as she was experiencing a significant medical event that required immediate medical attention and she was carried out of the woods and transferred to Schuyler Ambulance for transport to a local hospital. All resources were clear of the scene by 1:05 pm.
Town of Shandaken
Wilderness Rescue: On September 4th at 2:40 pm, Forest Rangers Martin and Rusher received a call from Ulster County 911 reporting an injured 26-year-old hiker in the vicinity of Slide Mountain. Rangers made contact with the hiker who reported he had suffered a knee injury and couldn’t hike out. The subject was at the summit of Wittenberg Mountain, approximately five miles and 3,000 vertical feet from the nearest trailhead. Forest Rangers Stratton and Rusher, along with a New York State Police (NYSP) Aviation and a Special Operations Response Team (SORT) Medic, were transported to the hiker’s location. The responders were inserted to provide first aid and package the injured man for extrication, while Ranger Cowart and a SORT member assisted with the hoist in the helicopter. As the aviation plan was ongoing, Rangers Kreft and Martin secured resources for a potential carry-out in case the hoist mission was canceled. The hiker from Boston was successfully hoisted off the mountain and transported to the landing zone where an ambulance was staged. The hiker declined further medical treatment and responders were clear of the scene at 6:51 pm. In addition to NYSP Aviation and SORT, assisting agencies included Phoenicia Fire Department, Woodstock Fire Department, Woodstock EMT, Shandaken EMT, and Catskill Mountain Search and Rescue.
Towns of Ardsley and Mamaroneck
Flood Response: On September 1st, a Type 3 swiftwater rescue team consisting of six Forest Rangers, a rigid inflatable boat, and a support trailer were deployed to support the statewide response to Tropical Depression Ida. This highly trained and experienced team worked through the night and into the early morning hours of September 2nd with local first responders to conduct multiple rescues that saved 86 people from flood waters.
Read past Forest Ranger search and rescue reports here.