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 Johnsburg, Warren County
Wilderness Rescue: On Oct. 12 at 6:38 p.m., Ray Brook Dispatch received a call forwarded from Warren County 911 about a group of hikers on Crane Mountain who were running out of daylight and didn’t have headlamps. The three hikers from Plattsburgh included a nine-year-old. Forest Ranger Morehouse reached the hiking party at 8:32 p.m. and helped them to the trailhead. Resources were clear at 10:07 p.m.
Town of New Berlin, Chenango County
Wilderness Recovery: On Oct. 12 at 9:40 p.m., Chenango County requested Forest Ranger assistance in the search for a missing 64-year-old. The subject’s wife indicated he drove his UTV, possibly to go fishing. At 10:40 p.m., Ranger Burkholder found the UTV near a pond and saw personal items floating near a boat with a broken motor. At 11:37 p.m., members of the New Berlin Fire Department found the subject deceased in the water, approximately 30 feet from shore. The subject was turned over to the Chenango County Medical Examiner.
Town of Mamakating, Sullivan County
Wilderness Rescue: On Oct. 13 at 2 p.m., Forest Ranger Schweider heard a radio call from the Summitville Fire Department about a hiker who was dizzy and vomiting on a trail on Roosa Gap State Forest. Summitville Fire and Mamakating EMS reached the patient at 3 p.m. and secured the 50-year-old from Pennsylvania in a litter. Ranger Schweider assisted with the carry-out, which included a rope system for steep areas with loose terrain. Mamakating EMS transported the subject to the hospital at 3:30 p.m.
Village of Clinton, Oneida County
Wilderness Rescue: On Oct. 13 at 5:47 p.m., Ray Brook Dispatch received a call about a hiker suffering from knee pain on the Cranberry Lake 50 Trail. The 20-year-old was with three other St. Lawrence University students. Ranger Dempf contacted the subject, who indicated she wanted to spend the night at the campsite. The following morning, Rangers Dempf and Jansen traveled via motorboat to Chair Rock Flow on Cranberry Lake. Rangers reached the subject at Five Ponds Wilderness Area and assisted the patient onto the boat. Rangers assessed the injury and kept her warm until they reached the DEC boathouse and met the hiker’s companions. Resources were clear at 7:13 a.m.
Village of Cattaraugus, Cattaraugus County
Wilderness Search: On Oct. 14 at 9:30 a.m., while participating in a search training class on Cattaraugus State Forest, Forest Ranger Hettenbaugh was approached by a subject who said his 83-year-old father was lost. The Ranger called the missing subject and tried using his siren to get a location, but the 83-year-old couldn’t hear it. Ranger Hettenbaugh asked the subject to call County Dispatch in order to obtain GPS coordinates. Ranger Skudlarek and volunteers from the Killbuck, Little Valley, and Seneca fire departments, who were all part of the training class, located the subject at the coordinates and assisted him back to his vehicle. Resources were clear at 10:15 a.m.
Town of West Turin, Lewis County
Wilderness Search: On Oct. 14 at 3:42 p.m., Lewis County Dispatch requested Forest Ranger assistance for a hunter who fell in Lesser Wilderness State Forest. The 82-year-old from Turin said he wasn’t injured, but unable to get up. Ranger Evans and Thomes worked with Sheriff’s Deputies to find the subject, help him up, and walk him out of the woods to his vehicle. Resources were clear at 4:47 p.m.
Town of Ghent, Columbia County
Wilderness Search: On Oct. 15 at 4:44 p.m., Forest Ranger Gullen overheard Columbia County radio traffic about a missing vulnerable adult in a wooded area. New York State Police responded with a bloodhound and a drone. Ranger Gullen joined Rangers Allwine, Martin, and Sweeney in the search for the 78-year-old from Ghent. Ranger Allwine heard a faint call for help. Rangers pinpointed the location and found the subject at 9:50 p.m. Austerlitz Fire assisted with a UTV for the evacuation. The subject, who was exhausted and had minor scrapes and bruises, was turned over to Greenport Rescue for transport to the hospital for further evaluation. Resources were clear at 11:30 p.m.
Read past Forest Ranger search and rescue reports here.
Photo of Ghent search provided by DEC.