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 Constantia, Oswego County
Wilderness Search: On Oct. 3 at 10:52 a.m., Forest Ranger Petit overheard radio traffic from a New York State Police (NYSP) Trooper requesting search and rescue assistance for an elderly subject suffering from dementia. The subject’s caretaker called for help when the 90-year-old walked into the woods. At 11:19 a.m., Ranger Petit located the subject, helped them out of the woods, and delivered them to a Brewerton Ambulance. Resources were clear at 12:20 p.m.
Town of Hunter, Greene County
Wilderness Rescue: On Oct. 3 at 3:30 p.m., Greene County requested Forest Ranger assistance with a hiker who had suffered ankle and shoulder injuries near Newman’s Ledge on the Escarpment Trail. The 34-year-old from Brooklyn was with a hiking partner and two dogs. The hiking partner took the dogs to look for help. The subject realized she had cell service and called 911.
Ranger Dawson hiked approximately 1.5 miles to the subject, provided first aid, and coordinated the evacuation. Rangers Fox and Peterson hiked in with a wheeled litter and rope gear and Rangers Bowler and Jackson arrived to assist with the carry-out. The rope gear was needed in four areas of steep terrain. Rangers completed the carry-out at 10:15 p.m. The hiker’s partner took her to the hospital.
Town of Keene, Essex County
Wilderness Rescue: On Oct. 4 at 8:08 p.m., Ray Brook Dispatch received a call about a beacon device activated to communicate a diabetic emergency. The 35-year-old from Minnesota self-administered insulin but could not test his blood sugar. At 11 p.m., Forest Rangers and a Wilmington/Keene Valley Paramedic reached the subject between Basin Mountain and Little Haystack. Rescuers helped the subject and their hiking partner back to their vehicles. When they arrived at 12:20 a.m., the patient’s blood sugar was back to a normal level.
Town of Austerlitz, Columbia County
Law Enforcement: On Oct. 6, Forest Rangers Jackson and Peterson investigated an illegal camping complaint on Beebe Hill State Forest. Rangers discovered a tent just off trail with rubbish strewn nearby. The tent was unoccupied, but a propane space heater was still lit, suggesting continued use. On Oct. 7, Rangers Jackson and Russo returned to check on the site and discovered an individual walking to the camp.
The individual claimed they were living out of the tent for more than a month. Rangers issued three appearance tickets for camping within 150 feet of a trail, failure to maintain a neat and sanitary campsite, and camping for four nights or more without a permit. The subject was advised to clean up the campsite and move off the premises.
Town of North Elba, Essex County
Wilderness Rescue: On Oct. 7 at 4 p.m., eight Forest Rangers responded to a report of three hikers stranded behind high water at Indian Falls. The hikers from Pennsylvania were descending Street Mountain when they encountered the water. Rangers used an inflatable rescue boat to pull the hikers safely across before helping them to their vehicles. Resources were clear at 6:18 p.m.
Town of Edinberg, Saratoga County
Water Rescue: On Oct. 8, Forest Rangers Nally and Hamm heard Fulton County radio traffic reporting a disabled boat on Great Sacandaga Lake after an angler struck a rock pile near the shoreline of Sinclair Point. Ranger Nally and members of the Northville Fire Department waded out to the stranded boat and guided the 62-year-old from Tivoli back to shore. Rangers Hamm and Nally coordinated efforts with staff from Reets Boat Works to recover the rapidly sinking boat and transport it back to its owner at the Northampton Campground boat launch.
Village of Tannersville, Greene County
Wilderness Rescue: On Oct. 8 at 2:50 p.m., Greene County Dispatch reached out for Forest Ranger assistance for an injured subject on the Hemlock Trail in the Mountain Top Arboretum. Rangers Dawson and Fox, a Windham Ambulance member, Mountain Top Arboretum staff, and volunteers from Tannersville Fire Department went into the woods to find the 70-year-old from New York City. After splinting the subject’s ankle, rescuers used a wheeled litter to carry her to a waiting ambulance. Resources were clear at 5:15 p.m.
Town of Long Lake, Hamilton County
Wilderness Search: On Oct. 8 at 5:35 p.m., Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from 12 hikers lost on Owls Head Mountain. The group hiked a hunters’ trail into a beaver pond but veered off the trail on the way back. The hikers, who range in age from 14 to 75, had minimal clothing layers and food and did not have any headlamps. Dispatch identified the coordinates that put the group a couple of hundred yards east of the trail. Forest Rangers Curcio and Sabo hiked two miles and reached the group at 8:45 p.m., provided extra clothing and headlamps, and safely walked the group to the trail and their vehicles. Resources were clear at 12 a.m.
Photo of Indian Falls rescue provided by DEC.