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 Keene
Wilderness Rescue: On July 4 at 2:35 p.m., the Johns Brook Lodge caretaker contacted Ray Brook dispatch about a sick hiker on Yard Mountain. As Forest Rangers responded, the caretaker reached the hiker and reported the subject was experiencing persistent vomiting, weakness, and could not hold down water. Due to the subject’s significant heat stroke and location, Rangers requested New York State Police (NYSP) Aviation. Rangers on the ground packaged the subject and at 5:50 p.m., NYSP Pilot Kotronis and Ranger Lewis successfully hoisted the hiker to be flown to the hospital. Rangers on the ground walked the subject’s hiking partner nearly two miles back to his vehicle. Resources were clear at 9 p.m. Rangers checked on the subject the following day and he made a complete recovery.
Village of Fort Ann
Wilderness Rescue: On July 5 at 4:24 p.m., Ray Brook Dispatch requested Forest Ranger assistance with a lost hiker near the summit of Buck Mountain. Ranger Poulton found the 23-year-old from Troy and helped her back to the trailhead. Resources were clear at 7:30 p.m.
Town of Ohio
Wilderness Search: On July 6 at 12:55 p.m., Herkimer County requested assistance in the search for a missing hunter. The 73-year-old and his son went into the woods to check on their hunting blind. The two became separated and the father did not come out of the woods. Over the next 24 hours, 13 Forest Rangers, four Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs), including a drone operator, one NYSP Officer and canine, and 14 volunteers joined the search. The Central Adirondack Search and Rescue Team, Boonville Search and Rescue, Poland Volunteer Fire, and Kuyahoora Valley Ambulance assisted in the search efforts. On July 7 at 10:45 a.m., a Ranger found the hunter along the Vly Brook drainage approximately 1.4 miles from his last known location. The subject indicated he lost consciousness at one point and became disoriented. The subject was evaluated by EMS and taken to the hospital by a family member. Resources were clear at 1:19 p.m.
Town of Keene
Wilderness Rescue: On July 8 at 1 p.m., Forest Ranger Lewis responded to a report of a hiker with a lower leg injury on Cascade Mountain. Due to the hiker’s location and the nature of the injury, Rangers requested assistance from NYSP Aviation. NYSP Pilots Kneer and Oropallo flew in with hoist operator Ranger O’Connor. Ranger Praczkajlo hiked in to the subject, confirmed the unstable ankle injury, and prepared the 38-year-old for a hoist rescue. At 3:30 p.m., NYSP pilots Kneer and Oropallo and Ranger O’Connor successfully hoisted the subject and flew her to the hospital.
Town of Pinckney
Wilderness Rescue: On July 8 at 1:45 p.m., eight Forest Rangers responded to Inman Gulf on Tug Hill State Forest for a report of a hiker who fell into the gorge. At 3:20 p.m., Rangers set up a rope system to retrieve the 20-year-old from Fort Drum. With assistance from Lewis County Search and Rescue, Adams Center Fire, Rodman Fire, and Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, the subject was successfully raised to the top of the gorge where he was checked out by EMS. Resources were clear by 4:30 p.m.
Town of Newcomb
Wilderness Rescue: On July 8 at 2:50 p.m., Forest Ranger Sabo received a call from Newcomb Volunteer Fire requesting assistance with a bicycle crash victim near Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest. Ranger Sabo opened the gate and escorted medics to the scene. The 71-year-old from Penfield was biking with his wife and a friend when he lost control of his bike. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and multiple lacerations and bruises. The patient was wearing a helmet, which likely prevented a more severe head injury. Ranger Sabo helped treat the injuries and Newcomb Volunteer Fire Chief Bush drove the patient to the trailhead. Newcomb EMS then transported the patient to the hospital. Resources were clear at 3:50 p.m.
Town of Keene
Wilderness Rescue: On July 9 at 1:09 p.m., Forest Rangers responded to a call about a 13-year-old camper reported to be in anaphylactic shock on the Four Corners trail in the Eastern High Peaks. Due to the camper’s location and nature of his condition, Rangers requested assistance from NYSP Aviation. NYSP Pilots Kneer and Oropallo flew in with hoist operator Ranger Praczkajlo and Rangers Lewis and O’Connor. Ranger O’Connor was lowered down to the patient, who already received an epinephrine injection from camp staff. Ranger O’Connor prepared the camper for a hoist rescue. At 2:50 p.m., pilots and Ranger Praczkajlo successfully hoisted the subject and flew them to the hospital. The camper, who had not previously shown signs of a nut allergy, had a reaction to a granola bar.
Town of Keene
Wilderness Search: On July 10 at 12:45 a.m., Ray Brook Dispatch requested Forest Ranger assistance with a hiker who lost the trail after hiking Dial and Nippletop. At 2:50 a.m., Ranger Mecus reached the subject on Bear Den Mountain and helped the 59-year-old from Canada to Lake Road. The pair made it to the subject’s vehicle by 4:40 a.m. The hiker was unprepared for the hike, did not have a map or compass, was unaware of how long it would take to hike multiple peaks, and did not check the forecast.
Read past Forest Ranger search and rescue reports here.