New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents throughout New York State. 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 Wurtsboro
Airboat Stuck: On Oct. 12 at 8:36 a.m., DEC received a request for assistance to help remove a fire department airboat stuck in the Bashakill Wildlife Management Area. The airboat was deployed as part of a multi-agency fire department response the evening before to assist in rescuing a stranded kayaker. Firefighters reached the kayaker and retrieved her from the water at 1 a.m. The swamp-like conditions and thickness of the vegetation caused the airboat to become stuck during the rescue and the firefighters had to swim ashore and leave the airboat behind. Rangers Cowart and Parlier went out in a canoe and were guided by Ranger Franceschina using a drone. The Rangers soon found and helped retrieve the airboat. If someone needs assistance on State land, call 1-833-NYS-RANGERS.
Town of North Elba
Wilderness Rescue: On Oct. 12 at 12 p.m., Ray Brook Dispatch requested Forest Ranger assistance for a hiker with a potentially dislocated knee approximately one mile from the summit of Mount Marcy. Due to the subject’s condition and location, New York State Police (NYSP) Aviation was called in to assist. At 2 p.m., Ranger O’Connor, the hoist operator, inserted Ranger Curcio approximately one-half mile from the subject. Ranger Curcio hiked down to the 63-year-old from North Carolina, who had hit his knee on a rock and possibly tore a ligament. Ranger Curcio splinted the leg, walked the hiker to a safe location for a hoist, and harnessed him for Ranger O’Connor to hoist him into the helicopter. NYSP Aviation flew the patient to Adirondack Medical Center. Ranger Curcio hiked out to Marcy Dam with the subject’s wife. Ranger Lewis transported the pair to Adirondak Loj and resources were clear at 7:11 p.m.
Town of Pinckney
Wilderness Rescue: On Oct. 15 at 12:49 p.m., Forest Rangers responded to Inman Gulf for a hiker who had fallen 50 feet down an embankment and suffered significant ankle injuries. Ranger Thomas arrived to the area and determined the subject was near the lean-to at the end of the trail. Due to the steepness of the trail and unsafe conditions of the stream bed, Rangers determined a rope rescue up the slide was the safest option. Seven Rangers worked to package the 22-year-old from Texas in a litter, tied him into the rope system, and raise him up the slide. At 6:06 p.m., the subject was released to Lewis County Search and Rescue, who transported him to the hospital. Copenhagen, Rodman, and Natural Bridge fire departments, DEC’s Division of Law Enforcement, and Lewis County Sheriff’s Office also assisted.
Town of Corinth
Wilderness Rescue: On Oct. 15 at 3:35 p.m., Ranger Hess responded to a report of an injured hiker in Moreau State Park. Ranger Hess hiked in on foot and reached the 62-year-old from Northville. The subject had an unstable leg injury and needed carrying out. Ranger Hess helped carry the hiker to a Fire Department ATV, which transported her to a Corinth-based ambulance service for transport to Saratoga Hospital. Resources were clear at 6:22 p.m.
Town of Wilmington
Wilderness Rescue: On Oct. 16 at 7:15 p.m., Forest Ranger Mecus was deployed to assist two stranded climbers on Moss Cliff in Wilmington Notch. Ranger Mecus spoke to the climbers on the phone, who reported that their rappel rope was stuck. Ranger Mecus determined the rope was still safely anchored and explained that one of the subjects could ascend using two prusiks, a friction hitch, or knot. Since the two 29-year-olds from Rochester didn’t have prusiks, Ranger Mecus instructed the pair about how to create two loops out of other material so the hikers could climb up and clear the rope from the crack where it was stuck. A climber from Adirondack Volunteer Climbers Rescue Team responded and helped the pair find remaining rappel stations in the dark. The volunteer climber then assisted the subjects across the west branch of the Ausable River. Resources were clear by 9:15 p.m. Neither climber had a headlamp. Even if only planning a day trip, climbers and hikers should always prepare for an overnight trip in the event something goes wrong.
Town of Long Lake
Wilderness Rescue: On Oct. 16 at 8:15 p.m., Ranger Milano responded to a call for a hiker experiencing medical problems on the Owl’s Head Mountain trail. An hour later, Ranger Milano reached the hiking party and determined the 23-year-old from Alabama has fallen and had a weakened pulse, blurred vision, and nausea, likely caused by low blood sugar. The hiker had not eaten anything since the early afternoon. Ranger Milano treated the low blood sugar and started warming the patient and their companion. A few minutes after they started walking, the patient’s condition deteriorated and she lost consciousness. When the patient came to, she had no recollection of the fall, and started vomiting. Rangers Curcio and Milano built a fire and spent the next few hours warming and feeding the two hikers. Ranger Sabo arrived in an ATV and transported the subject to Long Lake EMS. Resources were clear at 1:20 a.m.
Read past Forest Ranger search and rescue reports here.