Monday, January 14, 2013

DEC Forest Ranger Search And Rescues (Aug – Sept, 2012)

DEC Forest RangerWhat follows is the August and September 2012 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 North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness Area

On Tuesday, August 14, 2012, at approximately 9:53 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from a hiker at Adirondack Mountain Club’s Adirondack Loj reporting that his hiking partner had gotten ahead of him after the bridge over Marcy Brook. When the hiker arrived at the trailhead he could not locate James Mateyka, 43, of Rochester, NY anywhere in the area. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded and searched the trails until 3:00a.m. A few hours later, four additional Forest Rangers responded and continued searching the area. At 9:45a.m., Mr. Mateyka was located on the Algonquin Trail near the junction with the Whales Tail Trail by the Algonquin Summit Steward. He reported that he followed an old trail from the junction of the VanHovenberg Trail and the Algonquin Trail to MacIntyre Brook, where he spent the night. At first light, Mr. Mateyka followed the brook to MacIntyre Falls and located the main Algonquin Trail. He was heading back to the trailhead when he was located. DEC Forest Rangers provided him a ride back to his campsite at the DEC Rollins Pond Campground. Stay together when hiking in groups and know the location of all group members at all times.

Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness Area

On Saturday, August 18, 2012, at approximately 11:45 p.m., DEC Central Dispatch received a call reporting two overdue hikers. The caller’s family members, David Smith, 46, and Peggy Smith, 45, both of Central Square, NY, had begun a hike up Mt. Marcy at 9:00 a.m. with a group of other hikers from the Adirondack Loj Trailhead. Mr. and Mrs. Smith had contacted their family member at 5:00 p.m. stating they were at Indian Falls along the VanHovenberg Trail. A DEC Forest Ranger responded and located the Smiths on the VanHovenberg Trail and escorted them out to the trailhead and their vehicle. Mrs. Smith had fallen and injured her knee, which slowed the couple’s progress. Stay together when hiking in groups and know the location of all group members at all times.

Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness Area

On Saturday, August 25, 2012, at approximately 1:30 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting a 17-year-old male hiker needing medical attention. The hiker had been stung by a bee on the trail to Cascade Mountain and was suffering from hives and shivering. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded and met the teenager on the trail. His condition had improved and he was able to walk out. The Forest Rangers escorted the teenager to the trailhead where he signed off on medical attention. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and contact the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies.

Town of North Elba, Eastern High Peaks Wilderness Area

On Monday, August 27, 2012, at approximately 12:55 a.m., DEC Central Dispatch received a call from State Police reporting an overdue hiker. Elizabeth Elliott, 29, of Albany, NY, had planned to hike Mt. Marcy, Skylight and Gray but had not yet returned home. One DEC Forest Ranger responded and located Ms. Elliott at 1:48 a.m.. Ms. Elliott was hiking with her dog, which had difficulty with the terrain and had to be carried for parts of the trip. The Forest Ranger provided Ms. Elliott with food and water and escorted her out to her vehicle. Know your abilities and the abilities of your hiking partner, including pets; be sure that all are capable of any planned hikes.

Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness Area

On Wednesday, August 29, 2012, at approximately 11:00 a.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting an injured hiker. Shelby Lorman, 18, of Los Angeles, CA, was hiking with a group near McIntyre Falls when she fell and hit her head. She was able to get up and walk, however she was having problems with her vision. One DEC Forest Ranger responded and met Ms. Lorman on the trail. She was escorted out of the woods by the Forest Ranger and group leaders. Ms. Lorman refused medical attention on scene but was driven by private vehicle to Adirondack Medical Center in Lake Placid for further care. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and contact the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies. Town of Jay, Jay Mountain Wilderness Area On Wednesday, August, 29, 2012, at approximately 8:15 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call transferred from Essex County 911 reporting a lost hiker. Doug March, 62, of Bloomingdale, NY, was hiking on Jay Mountain when he lost the trail. Mr. March reported that he did not have a map, compass or light. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded and used cell phone coordinates obtained from Essex County 911 to begin their search. Mr. March was located around midnight in good health. The Forest Rangers escorted him back to his vehicle at 1:20 a.m. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them. Always carry a flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries.

Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness Area

On Saturday, September 1, 2012, at approximately 2:00 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a report of a hiker needing assistance. James Ayala, 39, of Buffalo, NY, was hiking Mt. Marcy when he started having difficulty breathing. A DEC Assistant Forest Ranger assisted Mr. Ayala down towards Marcy Dam. One DEC Forest Ranger responded, assessed Mr. Ayala and then transported him from Marcy Da.m. to the South Meadow Trailhead via UTV. Lake Placid Ambulance transported Mr. Ayala to Adirondack Medical Center in Lake Placid for further evaluation. Know your abilities and the area you plan to hike.

Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness Area

On Sunday, September 2, 2012, at approximately 12:00 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a report of an injured hiker. Sue Sung, 19, of Holmdel, NJ, was hiking on the shoreline of Lake Colden when she fell and injured her ankle. She continued on to the Lake Colden Outpost where a DEC Assistant Forest Ranger splinted her ankle and assisted Ms. Sung to Marcy Dam. One DEC Forest Ranger responded and used a UTV to transport Ms. Sung from Marcy Dam to the Adirondack Loj Trailhead. Ms. Sung sought medical attention on her own. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and contact the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies.

Town of Keene, High Peaks Wilderness Area

On Wednesday, September 12, 2012, at approximately 12:55 a.m., DEC Central Dispatch received a call reporting an overdue hiker. Eberhard Burkowski, 78, of Bolton Landing, NY, was had gone hiking for the day from the Garden Trailhead but had not yet returned home. One DEC Forest Ranger responded and began searching the trails. The Forest Ranger noticed a campfire on the Bear Brook Drainage off the Phelps Trail. Mr. Burkowski was found at the campfire in good conditions at approximately 2:55 a.m. While hiking it had become dark and his headlamp was too dim to follow the trail. He began following the Bear Brook drainage. Upon realizing he was lost he stopped and started a fire. The Forest Ranger escorted Mr. Burkowski back out to the trailhead. Always inform someone of your itinerary including an expected return time. Always carry a flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries.

Town of North Elba, Eastern High Peaks Wilderness Area

On Saturday, September 15, 2012, at approximately 2:49 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a report of a hiker needing medical attention. Marco Berdecia, 36, of Goshen, NY, was hiking Mt. Marcy when he became distressed about half a mile below the summit. Due to the seriousness of Mr. Berdecia’s condition and the remoteness of his location, nine DEC Forest Rangers, three Assistant Forest Rangers, the Marcy Summit Steward along with volunteers from Adirondack Backcountry Rescue and Search & Rescue of the Northern Adirondacks (SARNAK) responded to the incident. High winds prevented the State Police Aviation Unit helicopter from hoisting Mr. Berdecia out that afternoon. Several Forest Rangers and volunteers stabilized Mr. Berdecia and spent the night on Mt. Marcy monitoring and caring for him. Weather conditions were suitable in the morning and at 7:56 a.m. Mr. Berdecia was hoisted into the helicopter and transported to Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake for treatment. Always carry a first aid kit and contact the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies.

Town of Saranac Lake, McKenzie Mountain Wilderness Area

On Sunday, September 16, 2012, at approximately 4:35 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting a lost hiker. Sharon Stevens, 49, of Saranac Lake, NY, was hiking with her family on Baker Mountain when she was separated from her family on the trail. Three DEC Forest Rangers and one Saranac Lake Police Department Officer responded to the area and began searching the mountain from different sides. At 6:30 p.m., the searchers made voice contact with Ms. Stevens on the back side of the mountain. At 7:15 p.m. she was out of the woods and with the searchers. Ms. Stevens was reunited with her family at the Baker Mountain trailhead at 7:45 p.m. Stay together when hiking in groups and know the location of all group members at all times.

Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness Area

On Monday, September 17, 2012, at approximately 11:00 a.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting a hiker in need of assistance. Thomas Blackford, 59, of Morrisville, NY, was hiking the Northville-Placid trail when he slipped and fell. Mr. Blackford called his wife and reported that he was having difficulties. Two DEC Forest Rangers and one DEC Environmental Conservation Officer headed down the trail and located Mr. Blackford. He was transported out via ATV to the Averyville trailhead at 3:30 p.m., where his wife met him and brought him to seek private medical attention. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and contact the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies.

Town of Westport, Split Rock Wild Forest

On Sunday, September 23, 2012, at approximately 7:55 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting a missing biker. A 16-year-old male from Chazy, NY was out mountain biking with his family on the Split Rock Mountain trails when he became separated from the group. A DEC Forest Ranger responded and began searching the trails. At 9:10 p.m., the teenager was located and returned to his family. He reported that he took a wrong trail and then was overtaken by darkness. Stay together when hiking or biking in groups and know the location of all group members at all times.

Town of Schroon, Hoffman Notch Wilderness Area

On Sunday, September 23, 2012, at approximately 3:50 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting a hiker needing medical assistance. Samantha Spears, 25, of Saratoga Springs, NY, was hiking up Severance Hill when she became distressed. Six DEC Forest Rangers and members of the Schroon Lake Rescue, Schroon Lake Volunteer Fire Department and Pottersville Volunteer Fire Department responded. Ms. Spears was carried out to the trailhead and transported to the Glens Falls Hospital by Schroon Lake Rescue for medical treatment. Always carry a first aid kit and contact the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies.

Town of Schroon, Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Area

On Tuesday, September 25, 2012, at approximately 7:30 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting a pair of overdue hikers. David Stillwell, 64, and John Story, 63, both of Clifton Park, NY, were hiking Pharaoh Mountain but had not returned home. Three DEC Forest Rangers responded and began searching the large trail system. Voice contact was made with the two men at 12:08 a.m. Forest Rangers located them shortly afterwards at a lean-to on Crane Pond. Mr. Stillwell and Mr. Story had become very tired, so it was decided that they would spend the night and walk out at first daylight. Know your abilities and the area you plan to hike.

Franklin County

Town of Harrietstown, Saranac Lake Islands Campground

On Wednesday, August 15, 2012, at approximately 9:21 a.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting a 17-year-old male from Ballston Lake, NY, missing from a campsite at the DEC Saranac Lake Islands Campground on Lower Saranac Lake. The teenager had left the campsite at 8:00 a.m. to go for a walk, without notifying his family. Three DEC Forest Rangers and an Assistant Forest Ranger responded to the water access only campsite. At 11:10 a.m. the teenager was located by family members along the lake shore about 1/2 mile from his campsite. He returned to his campsite in good condition. Always inform someone of your itinerary.

Town of Harrietstown, High Peaks Wilderness Area

On Saturday, September 22, 2012, at approximately 3:45 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from Franklin County 911 reporting a lost hiker in the Seward Range near Donaldson Mountain. Bernard Hyatt, 43, of Latham, NY, was able to text with Franklin County 911 to give them a general idea of his location. Three DEC Forest Rangers responded and established where Mr. Hyatt had started hiking though the trail registry. At 9:50 p.m., the Forest Rangers heard Mr. Hyatt’s whistle and located him at 10:20 p.m. Mr. Hyatt reported that he had become lost when his cell phone died as he used it to navigate up the trail-less peak on Donaldson Mountain. Mr. Hyatt made a shelter and was prepared to spend the night when he was found. Forest Rangers escorted him back to his vehicle at 12:45 a.m. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them. Always carry a flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries.

Hamilton County

Town of Arietta, West Canada Wilderness Area

On Friday, August 10, 2012, at approximately 12:05 a.m., DEC Central Dispatch received a call from the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office reporting three lost hikers on the Mill Stream Trail. Maximilia Cervelli, 20, of Glen Gardiner, NJ; Christian Lierena, 19, of Freehold, NJ; and Mark Normanvin, 21, of Robinsville, NJ, were making phone calls to report that they were lost, but the calls were short due to bad reception. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded to the area, located the three hikers and escorted them out of the woods by 6:45 a.m. Know your abilities and the area you plan to hike. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them.

Town of Indian Lake, Moose River Plains Wild Forest

On Wednesday, August 15, 2012, at approximately 9:56 a.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from State Police regarding two overdue hikers. Williams Harkins, 65, of Ilion, NY and Mark Reardun, 56, of Mohawk, NY, were hiking the old snowmobile trails near Little Moose Lake on the previous day and had not returned. One DEC Forest Ranger responded and located the two men in good health on the trail about two miles in. Mr. Harkins and Mr. Reardun reported that they had made a wrong turn during the night and headed south toward Lost Pond. Once they ran out of daylight, they camped on the trail near Lost Pond. They were given water and nourishment and then escorted back to their vehicles. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them. Always carry a flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries.

Town of Arietta, Ferris Lake Wild Forest

On Tuesday, August 14, 2012, at approximately 8:53 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting an overdue hiker. Karen Leiner, 57, of Brooklyn, NY, had left her camp in Piseco to hike either Sand Lake Trail or Fawn Lake Trail. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded and located Ms. Leiner’s vehicle at the Sand Lake Trailhead. The Forest Rangers were able to make voice contact with her but had to take cover while a strong storm passed through the area. Ms. Leiner was located about one hour later cold and wet. Forest Rangers escorted her to the trailhead where they were met by the Piseco Volunteer Ambulance. Ms. Leiner was evaluated and released. Know your abilities and the area you plan to hike. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them. Be prepared for all weather conditions.

Town of Inlet, Limekiln State Campground

On Friday, August 24, 2012, at approximately 7:49 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from Herkimer County 911 reporting four lost hikers behind the Limekiln State Campground. Four girls, age 13 to 15, from Central Square, NY, had mistakenly entered the 9-mile trail system between Third Lake Creek and the campground. A DEC Forest Ranger responded and entered the trail system from one side, while a DEC Environmental Conservation Officer and Town of Webb Police Department Officers entered from another side. At about 9:30 p.m., the Webb Police Officers reached the four girls and advised DEC Dispatch that one of them had a minor ankle injury. The Forest Ranger reached the subject shortly after that and with the help of the Old Forge Rescue, used a UTV to evacuate all of the girls. Know your abilities and the area you plan to hike. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them.

Washington County

Town of Lake George Wild Forest

On Tuesday, August 21, 2012, at approximately 8:59 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from Washington County 911 advising of a lost hiker. Francis Stevens, 74, of Diamond Point, NY, had left Commission Point at 4 p.m. to hike in the direction of Black Mountain and was now overdue. Three DEC Forest Rangers responded. One Forest Ranger took a boat from Green Island to Commission Point to interview the family. Two DEC Forest Rangers searched via the Knapp Estate. At 1:30 a.m., voice contact was made with Mr. Stevens and he was located soon after. The Forest Rangers transported Mr. Stevens by boat to Commission Point where he was reunited with his family by 2:15 a.m. Know your abilities and the area you plan to hike. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them.

Warren County

Town of Bolton, Lake George Wild Forest

On Sunday, August 5, 2012, at approximately 9:51 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from a hiking party on the Tongue Mountain Range requesting assistance. Adam Doin, 20, of Ballston Lake, NY; Zachary Hommel, 21, of Malta, NY; and Abigail Marine, 22, of Hudson Falls, NY, were hiking on the Northwest Bay of Lake George but did not have any flashlights. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded, located the group and escorted them back to the trailhead. Know your abilities and the area you plan to hike. Always carry a flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries.

Town of Lake George, Lake George Wild Forest

On Sunday, August 12, 2012, at approximately 12:26 p.m., one DEC Forest Ranger responded to a report of an injured hiker on Prospect Mountain. Four other DEC Forest Rangers responded to provide assistance. Cathy Sims, 53, of Allen, TX, had fell backwards off a rock and sustained injuries to her head and shoulder and bruises and lacerations to the legs and head. Ms. Sims was carried out to Lake George Emergency Squad ambulance and transported to Glens Falls hospital. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and contact the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies.

Town of Lake George, Prospect Mountain

On Friday, August 24, 2012, at approximately 9:00 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting two lost hikers on Prospect Mountain. Moira Reilly, 35, of New York, NY and Michael Traubman, 35, of Forest Hills, NY were hiking on Prospect Mountain when they got
lost on the trails and lost daylight. One DEC Forest Ranger responded and, with help from cell phone coordinates obtained from Warren County 911, was able to quickly locate the two hikers. Ms. Reilly and Mr. Traubman were returned to the village of Lake George at 10:15 p.m. Know your abilities and the area you plan to hike. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them. Always carry a flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries.

Town of Bolton, Lake George Wild Forest

On Saturday, September 1, 2012, at approximately 6:23 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from Warren County 911 reporting lost hikers on Tongue Mountain. Jeremy Shiff was hiking with his girlfriend on a trail, however they didn’t know what trail they were on and they didn’t have any gear or flashlights with them. Two DEC Forest Rangers and searched the trail system eventually locating the two lost hikers. Forest Rangers escorted them to Montcalm Point and transported to Green Island via boat. They were taken by boat from there to their vehicle. Know your abilities and the area you plan to hike. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them. Always carry a flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries.

Town of Johnsburg, Private Land

On Sunday, September 2, 2012, at approximately 2:21 p.m., three DEC Forest Rangers responded to a report of an injured swimmer. A 13 year old male from Brant Lake, NY, had injured his knee on private lands in an area that is a popular swimming site near a steep cliff. The Forest Rangers assisted Riverside and North Creek Fire Departments and Johnsburg Emergency Squad personnel with a low-angle technical rope rescue to evacuate the teenager. He was then transported by ambulance to the Glens Falls Hospital. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and contact the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies.

Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff

Stories written under the Almanack's Editorial Staff byline are drawn from press releases and other notices.

To have your news noticed here at the Almanack contact our Editor John Warren at adkalmanack@gmail.com.


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