New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents in the Adirondacks. 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 Adirondack backcountry.
What follows is a report, prepared by DEC, of recent missions carried out by Forest Rangers in the Adirondacks.
Town of North Elba
Rescue: At 2:55 pm on February 18, Ray Brook Dispatch was notified by a group of hikers that a 60-year-old female cross-country skier was injured on the Marcy Dam Truck Trail, about one mile past the trail register. She was suffering from a knee injury and asking for assistance. Forest Rangers responded by snowmobile, and by 4:16 pm, she was back at the trailhead and released to her friends who were transporting her to the Adirondack Medical Center in Lake Placid.
Town of Long Lake
Search: On February 13 at 3:22 pm Forest Rangers were contacted directly by the companion of an overdue snowmobiler on Raquette Lake. Rangers responded in an attempt to locate the individual and found the snowmobiler unconscious on Indian Point. At 4:10 pm a Forest Ranger EMT and the Raquette Lake Rescue Squad responded with a rescue sled. The subject was brought out to Antlers Road to an awaiting ambulance and transported to a local hospital.
Town of Long Lake
Rescue: At 8:44 am on February 17, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch was contacted by Hamilton County 911 regarding a snowmobile and a rider suspected of falling through the ice on Long Lake, with a second snowmobile and rider stranded on the ice near the scene. Forest Rangers arrived within 10 minutes of the call and located the subjects approximately halfway across the channel of Long Lake. Members of the Long Lake Rescue Squad, Blue Mountain Lake Fire Department, and the Tupper Lake Dive Team also responded to assist. Hazardous ice conditions made the operation challenging for rescuers and the airboat operators. One Forest Ranger wearing ice rescue gear entered the water from the airboat to retrieve the first subject. That snowmobiler was then treated and transported to Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake. A canoe was employed to extract the other subject and bring the man back to shore.
Town of Webb
Recovery: On February 16 at about 10:30 pm, Forest Rangers were requested by the Webb Police Department to respond to a snowmobile accident on McCarthy Road. A snowmobile operator had failed to negotiate a turn and hit a tree. Big Moose Ambulance, Lewis County Search and Rescue Ambulance, and Lewis County Sheriffs were also involved in the response. The subject was extracted to a staging area, where he was declared deceased by the Herkimer County coroner. Forest Ranger operations concluded by 3:30 am.
Town of Webb
Rescue: At 1:48 pm on February 18, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch was notified by radio that Forest Rangers were responding to the Black River Wild Forest for a reported snowmobile accident involving one subject with a possible arm injury. Rangers responded with an Old Forge EMS Paramedic 2.5 miles up the trail. The subject had been traveling east on the Sand Lake Falls trail when a ski on his snowmobile caught ice on the trail, propelling him into a tree. Neither alcohol nor excessive speed were involved in the accident. At 3:13 pm Forest Rangers turned the subject over to EMS for transport to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital for treatment of injuries to his head, sternum, arm, and pelvis.
Town of Webb
Search: Four subjects from Chazy went hiking on the Cascade Lake Loop Trail on the morning of Feb. 25. As they were heading in a southwesterly direction along the west side of Cascade Lake, the subjects became disoriented, took a wrong turn, and began heading west on a secondary trail. The hikers then lost the secondary trail and wandered uphill to call 911. Herkimer County 911 dispatched Webb Police Department and called DEC Ray Brook Dispatch. Ranger Lt. Scott Murphy, along with Rangers Gary Miller, Martin Candee, Robert Coscomb, and Matthew Savarie responded with the aid of four snowmobiles. Fortunately, the lost subjects wandered downhill and encountered two other hikers on the trail. Those hikers guided the subjects back to the main trail. Ranger Miller went in first followed shortly by Rangers Lt. Murphy and Candee. Ranger Miller located the four lost hikers on the main trail, and Rangers Miller and Lt. Murphy transported the subjects to the old trailhead. Ranger Coscomb then relayed the hikers from the old trailhead to their vehicle. The four hikers were soaked despite wearing rain jackets and rain pants, but did not require further medical attention.
Town of Queensbury
Rescue: On Feb. 23 at 3:48 p.m., DEC Ray Brook dispatch received a radio transmission from a Forest Ranger concerning a 50-year-old male ice fisherman from Queensbury who fell through the ice on Harris Bay on Lake George. The fisherman did not realize the sun and warm weather were melting the ice. Forest Ranger Evan Donegon responded and assisted Queensbury EMS and Fire Department in retrieving the subject from the water. The man was assisted back to shore, where he was treated by North Queensbury EMS and transported to a nearby hospital for further medical treatment. The incident concluded by 5 p.m.
Be Prepared: Properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hiking Safety webpage and Adirondack Trail Information webpage for more information about where you intend to travel. The Adirondack Almanack reports weekly Outdoor Conditions each Thursday afternoon.