Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Adirondack Search and Rescue Highlights (June)

DEC Forest RangerState Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents statewide. 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 from the backcountry.

June missions carried out by DEC Forest Rangers in the Adirondacks include:

Medical emergency on Snowy Mountain
On June 1, 2015 at 12:58 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from New York State Police Central Dispatch reporting a 15-year-old boy from Canastota in medical distress at the top of Snowy Mountain in the West Canada Lakes Wilderness near Indian Lake. DEC Forest Rangers responded and located the teen approximately one mile up the trail, hiking out under his own power. He called 911 after becoming separated from his brother. A short time later, he located his brother and they both hiked out without further incident. No further action was taken. The incident concluded at 4:00 p.m.

Lost hiker on Mount Baker
On June 3, 2015 at 2:45 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a 22-year-old woman from Saranac Lake reporting she had become lost while hiking on Mt. Baker. DEC dispatch advised her to call 911 so that her GPS coordinates could be obtained. DEC Forest Rangers located the woman along the shoreline of McKenzie Pond in the vicinity of North Bay. A nearby homeowner transported her across McKenzie Pond. No further action was taken. The incident concluded at 5:30 p.m.

Lost hikers on Ampersand Mountain
On June 3, 2015 at 6:30 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call reporting two lost hikers on Ampersand Mountain. The 68-year-old man from Malone and 66-year-old woman from Winthrop become lost while descending the mountain. They had bushwhacked for approximately four hours before calling for help. DEC Forest Rangers responded, located the pair by a small stream near the base of the mountain and escorted them out without further incident. The incident concluded at 8:30 p.m.

Lost boy near Shelving Rock
On Wednesday, June 3, at 6:48 p.m. DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a report that a 13-year-old boy had become separated from a group of Washington County students on a class trip in the Shelving Rock Area of the Lake George Wild Forest, in the Town of Fort Ann, Washington County. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded to the area and began searching for the student who was last seen at 6:30 p.m. while the group was returning from Shelving Rock Mountain. However, prior to a search by Forest Rangers, the missing student had reached the road and flagged down a passing vehicle. The driver happened to be a member of the West Fort Ann Fire Department who was already responding to the incident. The driver transported the student to the Hogtown Parking Lot where he was examined by the Ft. Ann EMS and released. No further action was taken.

Hiker injured on Mount Jo
On June 7, 2015 at 2:54 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a 76-year-old woman from Plattsburgh reporting she had sustained a lower leg injury while hiking Mt. Jo in the High Peaks Wilderness. DEC Forest Rangers, an Assistant Forest Ranger, and the Marcy Dam caretaker responded. They carried the hiker out to Mt. Jo trailhead at the Adirondack Loj, where the Lake Placid Rescue Squad transported her to Adirondack Medical Center in Lake Placid. The incident concluded at 4:30 p.m.

Lost hiker on Nicks Creek
On June 7, 2015 at 9:51 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch learned that a lost hiker from Nicks Lake Campground in the town of Webb in Hamilton County had called Herkimer County 911 for help. One DEC Forest Ranger responded and located the 48-year-old woman from Monument County at 11:35 p.m. along Nicks Creek. The Forest Ranger escorted her back to her vehicle at the campground beach parking area. The Town of Webb Rescue Squad evaluated the woman and released her at 12:45 a.m.

Lost hiker near Whiteface Mountain
On June 10, 2015 at 4:15 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a 37-year-old man from Hollywood, Florida saying that he and his dog had become exhausted and could not continue to the summit of Whiteface Mountain in in the McKenzie Mountain Wilderness Wilmington. Ray Brook Dispatch advised him to call 911 to obtain his GPS coordinates. A DEC Forest Ranger responded with an ATV to the Connery Pond Trail and continued to Whiteface Landing where he talked to the man by phone. The Ranger met up with the hiker just south of the Whiteface lean-to and provided him with food and water before assisting him back to Whiteface Landing. The Forest Ranger then gave the man and his dog a ride back to the trailhead by ATV. The incident concluded at 8:00 p.m.

Injured bicyclist in Moose River Plains
On June 13, 2015 DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received reports of two bicycle accidents on Moose River Plains Road during the Adirondack Black Fly Challenge Bicycle Race in the Moose River Plains in Hamilton County. The first accident, which happened at 1:50 p.m., involved a 60-year-old man from Delmar, NY who was participating in the race. A DEC Forest Ranger responded and provided basic first aid until the Indian Lake EMS arrived on scene. Indian Lake EMS transported the man to a local medical facility. At 2:05 p.m., a 60-year-old male participant from New Hartford also crashed on Moose River Plains Road. A DEC Forest Ranger responded and provided basic first aid until the Inlet EMS arrived on scene and transported to the injured man to a local medical facility.

Distressed hiker on Buck Mountain
On June 11, 2105 at 3:47 p.m., Warren County 911 contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch reporting a 23-year-old woman from Wilton in medical distress on Buck Mountain in the Lake George Wild Forest. The hiking party was approximately 2.5 miles from the Pilot Knob trailhead. Four DEC Forest Rangers responded along with the Pilot Knob and North Queensbury Fire Departments and EMS. Forest Rangers reached the woman at 4:50 p.m. Due to her health condition, New York State Police Aviation responded and transported her to the North Queensbury Fire Department at 6:30 p.m. From there, an ambulance transported her to Glens Falls Hospital.

ATV accident on Buck Mountain trail
On June 11, 2015 at 7:00 p.m., an ATV overturned on the Buck Mountain trail injuring two members of the North Queensbury Fire Department. The department members; a 75-year-old man from Boydton, VA and a 64-year-old man from Lake George, had been assisting in an earlier rescue. A carryout was necessary due to the extent of one of the injuries. DEC Forest Rangers and Fire Department members carried the more injured man to the trailhead and Lake George EMS transported him to Glens Falls Hospital at 9:25 p.m. The other man walked out on his own.

Trapped in Ausable River
On June 17, 2015 at 5:00 p.m., Essex County 911 notified DEC Ray Brook Dispatch of a 51-year-old man from Brooklyn, Michigan, conscious but unable to get out of the Ausable River at the Wilmington Flume. One DEC Forest Ranger responded along with Wilmington Fire Department and EMS Personnel. The man managed to get out of the water by the time they arrived, but was trapped on a ledge approximately 40 feet downstream and unable to return to the shoreline. The Forest Ranger directed setup of a belay line for lowering and hauling up the rescuer and hiker. The man had been hiking on a herd path, taking photos, when he leaned around a tree and slipped and fell into the Ausable River. Emergency crews transported him to Adirondack Medical Center in Lake Placid for evaluation at 5:55 p.m.

Distressed hiker on Buck Mountain
On June 20, 2015 at 5:20 p.m., Washington County 911 notified DEC Ray Brook Dispatch of a female hiker in medical distress on Buck Mountain in the Lake George Wild Forest. The 51-year-old woman from Wilton could not continue the hike. DEC Forest Rangers responded with New York State Police Aviation to the summit at 8:00 p.m. They hoisted the woman out at 8:13 p.m. and turned her over to North Queensbury EMS at 8:23 p.m. Forest Rangers escorted the remaining member of the hiking party to the trailhead. All units were clear at 10:06 p.m.

Hikers lost on Whiteface Mountain
On June 20, 2015 at 7:04 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from two female hikers lost on a trail on Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington in the McKenzie Mountain Wilderness. The 25-year-old woman from Brooklyn and 26-year-old woman from Ballston Falls lost the trail while returning to Connery Pond from Whiteface Landing. Neither hiker carried a map, compass or light. Dispatch advised the hikers to call 911 to obtain GPS coordinates from their cell phones. A DEC Forest Ranger responded by boat, arriving at Whiteface Landing at 8:14 p.m. During the course of this search, dispatch asked the women to contact 911 two additional times for coordinates, but the coordinates were incorrect. The Forest Ranger eventually made verbal contact with the hikers and located them in good condition at 11:25 p.m. The Ranger escorted them back to Whiteface Landing where they traveled by boat to the Lake Placid marina. The Ranger then gave them a ride back to their vehicle.

Lost hiker on Bald Mountain
On June 21, 2015 at 3:45 p.m., a DEC Forest Ranger on patrol in the Fulton Chain Wild Forest learned of a female hiker lost on Bald Mountain. The 36-year-old female from Utica, NY called Herkimer County 911 reporting she had become disoriented a quarter-mile mile from the top and lost the trail. Additional Forest Rangers responded. They located the women in good condition shortly after arriving. The incident concluded at 5:50 p.m.

Lost Hikers on Whiteface Mountain
On June 23, 2015 at 9:20 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from the Lake Placid Fire Department requesting assistance in locating two 19-year-old men – one from New York City and the other from Spring Valley – missing from Buck Island on Lake Placid since 4 p.m. The Lake Placid Fire Department located the two men’s boat at Whiteface Landing. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded to Whiteface Landing at 10:30 p.m. After checking the lean-tos and not locating the two men, one Forest Ranger continued up the Whiteface Mountain Trail while the other Ranger checked the Connery Pond Trail. At 1:49 a.m., the Forest Ranger heading up Whiteface Mountain made voice contact with the men. He eventually located them in fair condition in a drainage area off the trail. The Ranger provided them with food and water and escorted them back to the trailhead and then to the place where they were staying on Buck Island at 4:00 a.m.

Injured hiker on Panther Mountain
On June 25, 2015 at 4:15 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call reporting an injured 48-year-old woman from Dayton, Ohio near the top of Panther Mountain in the Santanoni Mountain Range in the High Peaks Wilderenss. The woman sustained a lower leg injury and said she could not walk. DEC Forest Rangers responded and requested assistance from New York State Police Aviation. Forest Rangers prepared her for transport to Newcomb Air Strip where paramedics from the Newcomb Ambulance Squad waited. After evaluation, the woman decided she would seek medical assistance on her own. Forest Rangers transported her back to her vehicle and the incident concluded at 6:45 p.m.

Lost motorists near Whitehall
On June 25, 2015 at 9:30 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance from the Washington County Sheriff’s Department in locating a 23-year-old man from Cambridge, NY, an 18-year-old man from Shushan, and an 18-year-old woman from White Creek. The group went off-road riding and became lost and stuck on old logging roads. DEC Forest Rangers responded and through text messages and broken cell phone calls determined the group was near the New York/Vermont border on logging roads behind a private residence. Forest Rangers and the landowner headed out to the logging roads behind the property and relied on text messages and fresh tire tracks to determine the direction of travel. They also advised the group to start blowing their horns. The Forest Rangers and landowner located the group at 12:15 a.m. in good condition. They escorted them to another road and returned them to a third party. The vehicles will be retrieved at a later date. The incident concluded at 1:00 a.m.

Injured hiker in High Peaks Wilderness
On June 26, 2015 at 6:30 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from an injured hiker near the junction of the Tabletop and Mt. Marcy trail in the High Peaks Wilderness. The 62-year-old man from Albany, NY fell and sustained a lower leg injury. An Assistant DEC Forest Ranger responded from the Marcy Dam Interior Outpost and reached the hiker at 8:17 p.m. The Forest Ranger helped the man down the trail to Marcy Dam where an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) waited. Rangers transported the man to the Adirondack Loj at 11:45 p.m. He said he would seek medical assistance on his own.

Lost hiker on Hudson River
On June 27 at 12:35 a.m., Washington County 911 transferred a call to DEC Central Dispatch from the son of an overdue hiker. He reported that his 58-year-old mother, from Fort Edward, went hiking on Thursday, June 25 and he had not heard from her since. He thought she had gone to the Shelving Rock area but, after talking with family members, he determined she might have gone to Ok Slip Falls. The Washington County Sheriff’s Department responded to the Shelving Rock trailhead but did not locate her vehicle. DEC Forest Rangers located her vehicle at the Ok Slip Falls trailhead and some of her personal items along the Hudson River but did not find her. Dispatch advised the rafting companies that operate on the Hudson River to be on the lookout for the missing woman. At 1:40 p.m., Adirondack River Outfitters notified Dispatch that a guided raft picked up a lost hiker along the Hudson River and brought her to their base at North River. Warren County EMS evaluated her and Rangers briefly interviewed the woman before releasing her. The incident concluded at 3:30 p.m.

Lost hiker on Mount Marcy
On June 28, 2015 at 5:00 a.m., DEC Central Dispatch received a call from Essex County 911 reporting a lost hiker on Mt. Marcy. Essex County 911 obtained coordinates indicating the 35-year-old man from Cato was near the summit of Mt. Marcy on the Panther Gorge side. Essex County transferred the hiker to Ray Brook Dispatch. He said he was on a trail with a compass and a GPS but did not know where he was. He also reported being in medical distress as he was not prepared for the conditions. Three DEC Forest Rangers, an Assistant Forest Ranger and the Lake Colden Caretaker responded initially. However, at 8:03 a.m., the hiker indicated by text he was now lost off trail and Dispatch advised him to call 911 again to establish a new set of coordinates. The new coordinates indicated he was closer to Schofield Cobble just north of the trail from Mt. Marcy to Panther Gorge. An additional Forest Ranger responded to the Adirondack Mountain Reserve to hike to Panther Gorge. Forest Rangers responded with New York State Police Aviation to search from the air. At 2:02 p.m., the Assistant Forest Ranger and the Lake Colden caretaker located the hiker. Additional Rangers and a critical care technician from Keene Valley Rescue arrived for an initial medical assessment. They initiated a carry-out after weather conditions prevented an aviation rescue. The critical care technician administered fluids to the hiker, enabling him to alternate between walking and being carried. The carry out team brought him to Marcy Landing and then transported him by boat across the Ausable Lakes to a waiting ambulance. The ambulance then transported the man at 3:45 a.m. to Elizabethtown Hospital for treatment.

 


Mike Lynch

Mike Lynch is a staff writer and photographer for the nonprofit Adirondack Explorer, the regional bimonthly news magazine with a focus on outdoor recreation and environmental issues.

Mike’s favorite outdoor activities include paddling, hiking, fishing and backcountry skiing. In 2011, he paddled the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail from Old Forge to Fort Kent, Maine.

From 2007 until 2014, Mike worked as an outdoors writer and photographer for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise in Saranac Lake.

Mike welcomes story ideas and can be reached at mike@adirondackexplorer.org.




6 Responses

  1. Solo Pete says:

    Lost Hiker. Lost Hiker. Lost Hiker. At what point will these people be held accountable for lack of preparation? No map and compass? $100 fine……

    • Paul says:

      Only problem is do you check everyone and if so who does the checking? Or do we just fine those that get lost w/o these items? If so I am sure they would be happy to pay 100 bucks and they are probably not going to forget it next time, not because the paid the fine but because they got lost and embarrassed by the rescue. Pete I hear where you are coming from but this is the cost that we as tax payers have to endure if we want to open up so much public land for hiking. A few people are gonna get lost. The numbers are very low relative to those in the woods.

      Besides this in NYS if you fine someone they will probably sue us and then we spent 10K to get our hundred bucks.

  2. Pete Klein says:

    Snowy Mnt. is not in the West Canada Lakes Wilderness.
    It is in the Jessup River Wild Forest.

  3. Bob Meyer says:

    so many unprepared people.
    it may be time to levy fines on a case by case basis for those folks deemed
    negligent in preparation and/or common sense.

  4. Bruce says:

    I don’t see the problem getting any better. More and more people going to the outdoors to get away from urban stress and visit scenic wonders, while at the same time fewer and fewer people are developing any form of outdoor knowledge beyond tending their flowers, mowing their lawns, and navigating malls.

    Kids today don’t play in the woods, they watch the outdoors on TV and play video games. Until I became a teenager, I grew up on the edge of Syracuse in the 50’s, where few had TV’s. Fortunately we had a sizable patch of woods across our street where we played. Lucky indeed, are the children whose parents take them camping in undeveloped areas, hiking overnight trails and teach them basic outdoor skills.

    What bothers me is so many of these lost hikers are lost near the trails they were supposedly following in the first place.