Thursday, August 18, 2011

DEC Region 5 Forest Ranger Report (Mid-Summer)

What follows is the Mid-Summer Forest Ranger Activity Report for DEC Region 5, which includes most of the Adirondack region. Although not a comprehensive detailing of all backcountry incidents, these reports are issued periodically by the DEC and printed here at the Almanack in their entirety. They are organized by county, and date. You can read previous Forest Ranger Reports here.

These incident reports are a stern reminder that wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Hikers and campers should check up-to-date forecasts before entering the backcountry and always carry a flashlight, first aid kit, map and compass, extra food, plenty of water and clothing. Be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods and always inform others of your itinerary.

The Adirondack Almanack reports current outdoor recreation and trail conditions each Thursday evening. Listen for the weekly Adirondack Outdoor Conditions Report on Friday mornings on WNBZ (AM 920 & 1240, FM 105 & 102.1), WSLP (93.3) and on the stations of North Country Public Radio.

Essex County

Town of Newcomb, High Peaks Wilderness

On Monday, June 20, 2011 at approximately 8:06 PM, a DEC Forest Ranger was contacted by the Newcomb fire department chief regarding Michael Yandon, 50, of Newcomb, NY who was reported missing. Six DEC Forest Rangers responded and along with fire department personnel, began searching areas of state land that Mr. Yandon was known to frequent. Search efforts continued the following day, June 21, with 40 volunteers, K-9 units and four State Police Troopers also assisting in the search. At 1:25 PM, Mr. Yandon was located at Fish Rock lean-to on Newcomb Lake in fair condition. He was taken to the Santanoni Gatehouse where he was evaluated by Newcomb rescue personnel and interviewed by State Police before being released to his family. Always let friends and family know where you plan to hike and camp and how long you plan to be in the woods.

Town of Keene, Dix Mountain Wilderness Area

On Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at approximately 3:30 PM, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from Adirondack Mountain Reserve staff reporting an injured hiker on the Indian Head trail. Sam Pence, 23, of Naples, FL, was at the top of Indian Head jumping between the rocks when he landed wrong injuring his leg and was no longer able to bear weight on it. A member of Mr. Pence’s hiking group used a fireman’s carry and brought him within .25 mile of the road. A Forest Ranger, an Assistant Forest Ranger and Adirondack Mountain Reserve staff reached Mr. Pence at that location. He was packaged into a litter and carried out to the road. There he was placed in the back of the Forest Rangers truck and transported to his own vehicle. Mr. Pence sought medical treatment on his own. Accidents can happen. Don’t hike alone. Always carry a first aid kit and know how to obtain assistance in emergency situations. The DEC Forest Ranger emergency phone number is 518-891-0235.

Town of Keene, Dix Mountain Wilderness Area

On Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at approximately 1:25 PM, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting an injured climber. A 13-year-old male from Camp Dudley in Westport, NY was being belayed to bottom of the Beer Walls, a popular climbing cliff near Chapel Pond. The belay failed and the young man fell about five feet to the ground. Although he landed on his feet, he fell back onto a rocky area and was injured. A camp counselor walked out to Route 73 and used a satellite phone to call the DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook. The EMTs provided basic medical care and packaged the young man into litter. He was carried to Route 73 by the forest ranger and EMTs where he was placed in an ambulance and transported to Elizabethtown Community Hospital for further evaluation and treatment. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and know how to obtain assistance in emergency situations. The DEC Forest Ranger emergency phone number is 518-891-0235.

Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness

On Monday, August 8th, at approximately 9 PM, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from staff at the Adirondack Loj reporting a distressed hiker on the Mary Dam Trail. Paul Gervais, 49, of Endicott, NY was returning from a hike up Mt. Colden with family when he complained of exhaustion and dehydration. Two members of his group had continued on to the Adirondack Loj to summon assistance. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded and met Mr. Gervais approximately 150 yards from the trailhead slowly making his way back accompanied by other members of his party. Upon assessing Mr. Gervais, one of the forest rangers returned to his vehicle to get oxygen and other medical gear and to request an ambulance. The other forest ranger assisted Mr. Gervais as he continued to walk to the trailhead. He walked only a short distance when he stated he could not proceed, he sat down and then collapsed. The forest ranger immediately began providing cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, and the returning forest ranger applied the oxygen he had retrieved. Minutes later, at 10:05 PM, advance life support emergency medical technicians from Lake Placid Ambulance arrived on scene and continued the attempt to revive Mr. Gervais. The attempts were unsuccessful and ceased at 10:30 PM. State Police and DEC Environment Conservation Police were informed of the incident and conducted an investigation. Mr. Gervais’s body was turned over to the Essex County Coroner and transported to the Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake. Know your physical abilities and the difficulties of the hike you plan to take. Don’t push yourself too hard, rest often and turn back if you are having physical difficulties.

Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness

On Friday, August 12, at approximately 2:49 PM DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook was informed by the Algonquin Summit Steward that he and a hiker were providing cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to a man that had collapsed near the summit of Algonquin Mountain in the High Peaks Wilderness. Alexander Kazimirov, 59, of Dryden, NY, had collapsed while hiking the mountain. The summit steward was assisted by a hiker who happened to be an off-duty paramedic. An Assistant Forest Ranger on patrol in the McIntyre Brook area responded to assist in the CPR. Three DEC Forest Rangers responded to the Lake Placid airport, to meet a State Police Aviation Unit helicopter with a medic on board and were transported to the summit of Algonquin. The attempt to revive Mr. Kazimirov was unsuccessful and the medic called an end to CPR at 3:43 PM. Mr. Kazimirov’s body was taken to the Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake. State Police and DEC Environment Conservation Police were informed of a death on state land incident and conducted an investigation. Mr. Kazimirov was a staff scientist at Cornell University in the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source program. Mr. Kazimirov had been accompanied by his dog. Forest Rangers walked the dog out and made arrangements for the Lake Placid Animal Shelter to take it. Know your physical abilities and the difficulties of the hike you plan to take. Don’t push yourself too hard, rest often and turn back if you are having physical difficulties.

Town of Keene, Dix Mountain Wilderness Area

On Saturday, August 13, at approximately 6:14 PM DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting an injured hiker on the Dix Mountain Trail from the Ausable Club property in the Town of Keene in the Dix Mountain Wilderness. Michael Lawliss, 43, of Plattsburgh, NY was returning from a hike with family when he injured his leg. Two DEC Forest Rangers and an Assistant Forest Ranger responded assisted by nine members from the Keene Volunteer Fire Department and Keene Valley Volunteer Fire Department. The responders carried Mr. Lawliss 2.5 miles back to the trailhead. He declined transport by ambulance and indicated that a family member would take him to seek medical care. Accidents can happen. Don’t hike alone. Always carry a first aid kit and know how to obtain assistance in emergency situations. The DEC Forest Ranger emergency phone number is 518-891-0235.

Franklin County

Town of Harriestown, Saranac Lake Wild Forest

On Wednesday, June 29, 2011 at approximately 6:20 PM, DEC Dispatch received a call from staff of the Fish Creek Campground that two 14-year-old girls from Quebec had not been seen since 1:30 PM. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded to the scene and began searching at 7:16 PM. The girls were located in good condition at 7:47 PM. They had taken a walk on a herd path behind the restrooms and became lost on state land. Know the area you plan to camp and hike, and pay attention to your surroundings.

Town of Tupper Lake, Horseshoe Lake Wild Forest

On Sunday, July 3, 2011 at approximately 7:32 AM, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting Mark Smith, 47, of Canajoharie, NY, had not been seen since 4 PM of the previous day. The last place he was seen was the Round Lake outlet. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded and began searching the area. At 10:16 AM, Mr. Smith was found in fair condition east of Round Lake. Know the area you plan to hike and camp. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them.

Town of Harrietstown, High Peaks Wilderness

On Saturday, August 13, at approximately 12:54 PM DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook was advised by Franklin County 911 that an adult member of a Boy Scout group was in distress on Ampersand Mountain. Doug Collins, 53, of Amherst, NY was on medication for a medical condition. Six DEC Forest Rangers and a Physician’s Assistant responded. An assessment determined that Mr. Collins was dehydrated. He was rehydrated and given oxygen. He was able to walk out on his own to the trailhead escorted by the Physician’s Assistant and Forest Rangers. Mr. Collins declined further medical care or transport at the trailhead. Carry and drink plenty of water while hiking and take rest breaks often to prevent exhaustion.

Hamilton County

Town of Long Lake, High Peaks Wilderness

On Tuesday, June 28, 2011 at approximately 10:47 AM, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting two lost individuals. Bennett Sherry, 25, of Ogdensburgh, NY and Jacob Tagg, 20, of Hammond, NY were dropped off 3 days prior at Henderson Lake to do a paddle and camping trip to Tupper Lake through the Cold River area. During the trip their canoe capsized and all of their gear, including their shoes, was lost. They attempted to walk out and at one point were able to briefly contact Mr. Sherry’s mother by cell phone. They reported that they had not eaten in three days. Six DEC Forest Rangers responded and began hasty searches of all the surrounding trails. Meanwhile, DEC Disptach contacted Verizon and, using the cell phone coordinates, were able to establish their general location. At 3:09 PM, Mr. Sherry and Mr. Tagg came out of the woods on their own in Long Lake and called their families. Forest Rangers interviewed the two men and learned they had spent the first 24 hours after the canoe capsized searching for the Northville Placid Trail. Once they found the trail they walked south on it until the encountered a lean-to where they spent the night. The next day they proceeded on the Northville-Placid Trail toward Long Lake and made the cell phone call to Mr. Sherry’s mother stating they were three hours from Long Lake. After placing the phone call the two men continued down the trail until they were able to obtain a boat ride to Long Lake. Due to unclear cell phone messages, Mr. Sherry’s parents were unsure of the conditions of the subjects or their exact location, only that they had been lost in the High Peaks Wilderness Area for two days. Mr. Sherry and Mr. Tagg, despite their misfortunes, were not trying to seek assistance, only to report in to their family. Don’t depend on electronic devices in the Adirondack backcountry. Have an escape plan if things go bad.

Town of Indian Lake, Blue Mountain Wild Forest

On Wednesday, July 6, 2011 at approximately 1:21 PM, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting an injured hiker on Blue Mountain. Edward Barry, 63, of Bronx, NY, was near the summit of Blue Mountain when he slipped and fell on a wet rock while wearing sneakers, injuring his right knee. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded to the scene and responders from the Indian Lake and Blue Mountain Lake Fire Departments assisted them with the one-mile carryout. Mr. Barry declined EMS transport at the trailhead at 4:30 PM and was being transported to the hospital in a private vehicle. Wear proper footwear in the backcountry – boots or hiking shoes with proper soles and ankle support.

Town of Lake Pleasant, private land

On Saturday, July 9, 2011 at approximately 4:20 PM, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a request from Hamilton County 911 to assist in locating a missing kayaker on Lake Pleasant. Anthony Perez, 19 of Bronx, NY, was kayaking when he was witnessed going underwater. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded with an airboat to assist the Sheriff’s office. The State Police dive team, St. Johnsville dive team and two DEC Conservation Officers also assisted. Search operations continued for 3 days with a total of nine DEC Forest Rangers working the search. Arial detection and sonar detection were used with negative results. On July 11, 2011 a second Forest Ranger airboat was added to the search efforts. On July 12, 2011 at approximately 12:00 PM, Mr. Perez’s body was found and recovered by the State Police dive team using sonar detection equipment. Forest Rangers assisted with the removal of the body. Always wear a properly fitted and secured personal flotation device when kayaking, canoeing or boating.

Town of Benson, Shaker Mountain

On Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at approximately 4:57 PM, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a request for assistance in the search for three missing individuals on Cathead Mountain. Paige Feenstra, 22, a 12-year-old female and an 11-month-old male, all of Franklin, TN, had been hiking with other family members when they decided to return to their vehicle. When the rest of the hiking party returned to the vehicle and didn’t find the three, they called 911 for assistance. Two DEC Forest Rangers, a DEC Environmental Conservation Officer and NY State Troopers responded and began searching surrounding trails and outlets. At approximately 7:59 PM, Ms. Feenstra and the two children were located in good health in a residential backyard on Chartier Road. The Cathead Mountain trailhead had been closed to the public for awhile so the trail was not well maintained. Ms. Feenstra and the children lost the trail and wandered into a drainage that led them towards the road. A resident heard the 11 month old child crying and located the three lost hikers behind her house. Know the area you plan to hike and keep groups together.

Warren County

Town of Thurman, Wilcox Lake Wild Forest

On Monday, June 27, 2011 at approximately 8:28 PM, DEC Dispatch in Ray Book received a report of a group of lost hikers on Crane Mountain. Jessica Arney, 25, Vera Tolova, 25 and Mikki Puija, 23, all of Washington DC, were hiking on Crane Mountain when they lost the trail. Three DEC Forest Rangers responded. The three women were located in good health in a drainage area on the southwest side of the mountain. Forest Rangers escorted them back to the trailhead at 11:28 PM. Know the area you plan to hike and camp. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them. Always carry a flashlight or headlamp.

Town of Bolton, DEC Lake George Island Campground

On Monday, July 4, 2011 at approximately 2:55 PM, two DEC Forest Rangers were on a state land boat patrol on Lake George when they overheard radio traffic regarding a distressed boater in Log Bay. The Forest Rangers were nearby and responded to the situation. They found a boat with four people on aboard and the boat’s stern sinking. The Forest Rangers helped the four boaters aboard their patrol boat and gave them PFDs. They were taken to nearby Lake George Campground and interviewed Lake George Park Commission Officers. The boat eventually sank with the bow still above water. The four people were returned to Fischer’s Marina where their vehicle was located. Always wear a properly fitted and secured personal flotation device when kayaking, canoeing or boating.

Town of Thurman, Wilcox Lake Wild Forest

On Monday, July 4, 2011 at approximately 5:18 PM, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from Tiffany Tryniszewski, 25, of Rexford, NY, reporting that she and her hiking partner, Claudia Andrejuk, 27 of Schenectady, NY, were at the summit of Crane Mountain and could not find the trail back down. Ms. Tryniszewski also stated that they did not have any water and were dehydrated. Three DEC Forest Rangers responded and located the two women at 7:37 PM. They were rehydrated and walked out the woods and back to their vehicle at 8:45 PM. Know the area you plan to hike and camp. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them. Carry and drink plenty of water while hiking.

Town of Johnsburg, Siamese Ponds Wilderness

On Saturday, July 9, 2011 at approximately 3:50 PM, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting an injured hiker near Thirteenth Lake. Louis Coli, 52, of Westford, VT, fell and injured his leg while returning to his camp on the Thirteenth Lake/Puffer Pond trail. Three DEC Forest Rangers and an Assistant Forest Ranger responded and were assisted by a Johnsburgh EMS personnel, and members of the Horicon and North River Fire Departments. Mr. Coli was packaged in a litter and carried to the Old Farm Clearing Trail. There he was placed on a Horicon Fire Department ATV and transported to the trailhead. At 9:13 PM he was transferred to an ambulance and was transported to Glens Falls Hospital. Accidents can happen. Don’t hike alone. Always carry a first aid kit and know how to obtain assistance in emergency situations. The DEC Forest Ranger emergency phone number is 518-891-0235.

Town of Hague, Lake George Wild Forest

On Thursday, July 14, 2011 at approximately 10:35 PM, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a report of two teenagers who left in kayaks from Rogers Rock Campground on Lake George at 8:15 PM and had not returned. A 14-year-old female from New York, NY and a 16-year-old male from Tannersville, NY, had headed in the direction of the Waltonian Islands. A DEC Forest Ranger and a DEC Environmental Conservation Officer responded and began searching the waters of Lake George for the two teenagers. At 11:22 PM, the Forest Ranger made voice contact with the pair and escorted them back to shore at 11:38 PM. Know what time the sunsets and plan accordingly. Always carry a flashlight or headlamp.

Town of Bolton, Lake George Wild Forest

On Monday, July 25, 2011 at approximately 2:49 PM, during Log Bay Day activities, participants in Log Bay Day activities observed a man face down in the water who was not breathing. They pulled Jamie Birkenstak, 35, hometown unknown, into their boat, began administering cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and brought to the boat to shore. DEC Forest Rangers, DEC Environmental Conservations Officers and Lake George Park Commission Officers on patrol in the area were flagged down to assist. Three Forest Rangers jumped from shore and continued CPR. An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) from a Lake George Park Commission patrol boat was also administered on Mr. Birkenstak. He was transferred to the Lake George Park Commission boat and transported to Green Island. Mr. Birkentak was alert and conscious upon arrival at Green Island where he was placed in an ambulance and transported to Glens Falls Hospital.

Washington County

Town of Fort Ann, Lake George Wild Forest

On Thursday, June 30, 2011 at approximately 12:10 PM, a DEC Forest Ranger responded to an injured man on at Shelving Rock Falls. Timothy Doyle, 42, of Selden, NY, was walking at the top of the falls when he slipped and fell 50 feet. An off duty medical doctor at the site provided the initial first aid. Fort Ann and Bay Ridge Rescue and Fort Ann Volunteer Fire Department also responded. Mr. Doyle was packaged into a litter and brought to the top of the falls using a low-angle rope carry. From there he was carried to the road, placed into an ambulance and brought to an open area. There he was transferred to helicopter and flown to Albany Medical Center. Watch for and avoid wet, slippery areas, especially at the top of waterfalls and cliffs.

Town of Fort Ann, Lake George Wild Forest

At approximately noon on Thursday, July 7, 2011 DEC dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from Washington County Department of Public Safety’s 911 Communications Center reporting that a young man had fallen at the Shelving Rock Falls. A 14-year-old male from Moretown, VT had fallen 30 feet from the top of the falls and sustained a number of injuries. DEC Forest Rangers responded along with members of the Fort Ann and West Fort Ann Volunteer Fire Departments. The responders evaluated and stabilized the youth’s injuries and packaged him in a litter. He was then transported to the top of the falls using a low-angle rope carry. Forest rangers and other responders carried him from there to Shelving Rock Road and placed him in a waiting to ambulance. The ambulance transported him to a nearby landing zone where he was loaded into a helicopter. The youth was flown to Glens Falls Hospital for further evaluation and treatment. Watch for and avoid wet, slippery areas, especially at the top of waterfalls and cliffs.

Town of Fort Ann, Lake George Wild Forest

On Saturday, July 23, 2011 at approximately 2:55 PM, a DEC Forest Ranger responded to a report of a hiker that had been separated from her group. Emma Bloomfield, 22, of Bolton Landing, NY, was hiking without a map or compass and became lost when she was separated from her hiking group. One DEC Forest Ranger responded, but Ms. Bloomfield safely found her way out of the woods on her own. Keep groups together. Be sure you can always see, or at least hear, other members in your group.

Town of Fort Ann, Lake George Wild Forest

On Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at approximately 6:30 PM, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from Washington County 911 reporting a group of lost hikers on Buck Mountain. Brittany Cooper, 18, Christopher Proctor, 18, Conner Weatherford, 18 and a 17-year-old female, all of Clifton Park, NY, were hiking on Buck Mountain when they lost their way. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded. A Forest Ranger received cell phone coordinates from Washington Co. 911 and was also able to make contact with one of the subjects on his cell phone. The Forest Ranger encouraged the group to head west towards the sun. Meanwhile the Forest Ranger walked into the woods and met up with the group at 8:30 PM. They required no medical attention. Know the area you plan to hike and camp. Always carry a map and compass and know how to use them.


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