Posts Tagged ‘Search and Rescue’

Monday, July 14, 2014

“Oops!” Moments From The North Country’s Past

1899 ABadPlaceToCutIceFRIt’s time for another installment of what I call “Oops Moments” from the North Country’s past—incidents that resulted in unforeseen consequences (but in many cases should have been foreseen). I enjoy collecting these because of the humor involved: most of them will either make us laugh or leave us shaking our heads in wonder.

The first takes us back to 1899 Ogdensburg and involves an important part of the region’s past: ice harvesting. In early February, it was noted that several parties had begun cutting ice from the St. Lawrence River in front of Spaulding Boat Works. Perhaps a little more thought should have gone into choosing where to cut, for it was also noted that the ice being harvested was not fit for use as drinking water. It came from “the direct line with sewer drain from the boat works, and is very likely filled with sewer contamination.” Hmm … could Ogdensburg be the originator of novelty ice cubes? » Continue Reading.



Saturday, July 12, 2014

A Great American Wilderness: Two Tragic Anniversaries

Snowy Mountain from the Jessup River Wild ForestI have noticed some opinions floating through the media lately calling into question the extent to which the Adirondacks really qualify as a wilderness.

As I write this, on July 10th, a sad and sobering anniversary has arrived. Then in September we will mark the seventieth anniversary of another tragedy, one of many plane crashes that have occurred in the park, this one remarkable for the longevity of its mystery. Both anniversaries remind me just how formidable a wilderness the Adirondack region really is. » Continue Reading.



Monday, July 7, 2014

Search And Rescue Stories: Ranger Orville Betters

raquette fallsA striking old black and white photograph of a Forest Ranger posted on the NYSDEC Twitter feed recently caught my attention and captivated my imagination. The tweet read “Ranger w/pack basket putting up Canoe Carry Trail sign. Raquette Falls in the (Adirondacks) 1949.”

The ranger had a striking pose, wearing a Stetson, boots tightly laced half way to his knees. The ranger’s face was hidden from view, not surprising for a profession, that – especially then – toiled in the outdoors, their daily routine invisible to the public. I quickly tweeted back “Do you know who that is?”  Unfortunately no one did. » Continue Reading.



Monday, June 30, 2014

New History Exhibit: Warrensburg Fire, EMS And Police

Firemen ParadeThe Warrensburgh Museum of Local History is preparing its major summer/fall 2014 exhibit, opening Sunday, June 29, at 1 PM with a reception, and will remain through Columbus Day.  The exhibit tells the stories of the Warrensburg Volunteer Fire Company, Warrensburg Emergency Medical Service, and local policing efforts, including the role Warrensburg citizens played as Warren County sheriffs.

Since Warrensburg’s early settlement in the late 18th century, as in any frontier community, the safety and protection of its settlers was a concern but little could be done about it.  Destructive fires, whether of home, barn or commercial building, were all too common.  With illnesses and accidents, availability and distances to doctors meant that home remedies were heavily relied upon.  And self-protection was the order of the day when it came to criminal activity. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, April 17, 2014

Adirondack Winter Search And Rescue Report

DEC Forest RangerThe most recent Forest Ranger Search and Rescue Report for DEC Region 5 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 John Warren’s Adirondack Outdoor Conditions Report on Friday mornings on WSLP (93.3) and on the stations of North Country Public Radio.
» Continue Reading.



Thursday, April 17, 2014

Facing the Storm: Preparing for Increased Extreme Weather

View from Bridge of HopeI attended a recent forum in Albany, Facing the Storm: Preparing for Increased Extreme Weather in Upstate New York, and wanted to pass along some of what I heard, or thought I heard. The event was sponsored by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government.

For a forum concerning the impacts of a changing climate the audience was unusually diverse in terms of backgrounds and professions. As a staff member for Adirondack Wild, I was sitting next to a firefighter from a village in Montgomery County. At the next table were other firefighters and emergency personnel in uniform.  Across from me were several members of the League of Women Voters.  Initially we all wondered if we were in the right meeting. I think by the end we realized what we all have in common. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, February 6, 2014

Signs of an Unstable Snowpack in the Backcountry

Adirondack AvalanchesWhile out skiing yesterday afternoon I saw several signs that the snowpack is unstable and extreme caution should be used if you are tempted to head towards the slides after this recent snowfall.

I came across numerous small slides, such as the one in this photograph, on N and NW aspects at slopes as low as 25 degrees.

Whooping and shooting cracks were prevalent. I was skiing the trees but any turns made near a convex roll produced a small slide.  If you venture into avalanche terrain make sure you have the knowledge to assess the risk, know proper travel techniques, and are carrying a beacon, probe, shovel, and the knowledge to use them.



Thursday, January 16, 2014

Body of Missing Australian Man Found On Scarface

capt_paul_mckay_australian_soldier_missing_in_new_yorkOn January 15, 2014, New York State Forest Rangers located the body of a man who is being identified as missing Australian soldier, 33-year-old Paul J. McKay.

The body was located near the summit of Scarface Mountain in the town of North Elba shortly after 11 a.m. State Police forensic investigators were flown to the mountain by State Police helicopter.

No signs of foul play have been determined in the initial investigation. Essex County Coroner Francis Whitelaw authorized the removal of the body.

The body was then transported to Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake by New York State Police Aviation.  An autopsy will be performed by Dr. C. Francis Varga on January 16, 2014, to determine the cause and manner of death. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, December 19, 2013

Recent Adirondack Search and Rescues

DEC Forest RangerThe most recent Forest Ranger Search  and Rescue Report for DEC Region 5 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 John Warren’s Adirondack Outdoor Conditions Report on Friday mornings on WSLP (93.3) and on the stations of North Country Public Radio.
» Continue Reading.



Thursday, November 14, 2013

Getting Lost in the Adirondack Backcountry

Lost in the Five Ponds WildernessA pleasant hike in the Adirondack backcountry suddenly turns into a disaster. The heart quickens in the chest, the echo of the frequent beats drowning out the surrounding natural sounds. A thin sheen of sweat covers the skin, producing a clammy feeling and chills. Breathing becomes labored as if just summiting a faraway peak. A frantic feeling overcomes you, as if mortal danger is imminent.

What is going on? Is it a heart attack? A panic attack? Aliens?

Nope. It just means you made a terrifying discovery, as everything around you looks unfamiliar, and you no longer know where you are. You are lost. All the physical indications are there, the racing heart, the profuse sweating, the difficulty breathing, and the sense of impending doom. Every rock, tree, bird and chipmunk looks threatening. What choice do you have but panic, right?
» Continue Reading.



Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Recent Adirondack Search and Rescue Operations

DEC Forest RangerWhat follows is the September 2013 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.
» Continue Reading.



Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Rescue At Rogers Rock on Lake George

Rogers Rock rapRogers Rock on Lake George is one of the most scenic cliffs in the Adirondacks, a spectacular place to climb on a crisp, clear fall day when you can see for miles up and down the lake.

My friend Mike Virtanen and I enjoyed just such a day last Sunday when we climbed Little Finger, a 490-foot route that follows a long crack that splits the slab. The slab rises straight out of the lake. We got there by canoeing from the Rogers Rock State Campground.

Little Finger is the most popular route on Rogers Rock (the guidebook Adirondack Rock gives it five stars), so given the beautiful weather, we feared others would have the same idea. Sure enough, when we got to the launch site, we met two other climbers with designs on Little Finger. Since we had climbed it before, they offered to let us go first.

Their climb would not end as well as ours. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, September 19, 2013

After 18 Months Search Efforts Continue for Colin Gillis

colinState Police and DEC Forest Rangers, are reminding the public of a missing person case, hoping they can assist in the search.

On March 11, 2012 around 2:00 AM, Colin Gillis, age 18, of Tupper Lake, was last seen walking along Route 3 between Tupper Lake and Piercefield. At the time, Gillis was wearing a white T-shirt with black stripes, blue jeans, red sneakers and a red and black down jacket. He is 6 foot tall, 170 lbs, and has blonde hair and blue eyes.

Officials are reminding hunters in particular to be observant for anything unusual while they’re in the woods. If you have any information about Colin’s disappearance, call the NY State Police at (518) 897-2000.



Monday, September 16, 2013

ECO and Forest Ranger Exams Scheduled

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“I want, as game protectors, men of courage, resolution and hardihood who can handle the rifle, axe and paddle; who can camp out in summer or winter; who can go on snowshoes, if necessary; who can go through the woods by day or by night without regard to trails,” New York Governor Theodore Roosevelt said in 1899.

This fall, those who think they meet that description will have a chance to apply to the storied ranks of New York State Environmental Conservation Officers (ECO) or Forest Rangers.  The state will hold civil service exams for those positions on November 16, 2013.  Applications are being accepted until October 2. » Continue Reading.



Monday, September 9, 2013

Minerva Fire and Rescue Dog Event Saturday

252285_563946196955160_337470663_nMinerva Volunteer Fire and Rescue will be hosting “Minerva is Going to the Dogs: An All Breed Fun Dog Show” on Saturday, September 14th from noon to 5 pm at Minerva Beach.

The event features an agility and rally course, a silent auction, vendors, trainers, dog demos, fun competitions for dogs of all ages and abilities, and food and drink. The “Call Of The Wild” sled dogs will also be on hand. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, August 22, 2013

To Live and Die in the Adirondacks

Pleasant Last Resting PlaceThere are plenty of reasons people enjoy spending time in the Adirondack wilderness. The reasons include the mental, spiritual and physical benefits of being surrounded by and immersed in the diversity of life. Few think about the flip side of life, as the backcountry is full of dangers, many of which can easily lead to, gulp, death.

For the grim reaper often wears hiking boots.

This struck me after reading about an incident where a hiker passed away in the High Peaks Wilderness recently. A 63-year old man, apparently in good health, collapsed and died a mile below the summit of Mt. Marcy just over a week ago. Unfortunately, this is not the first time such an incident occurred, as deaths often occur in the Adirondack backcountry. Whether these deaths come from over exertion or just some accident, thankfully, they do not happen too often.
» Continue Reading.



Thursday, July 4, 2013

Swimming: Beware Of Fast Currents This Weekend

Swimming Dangerous CurrentThis Fourth of July weekend use extreme caution at local swimming holes, and near raging rivers and streams. Fast moving rivers and streams can pose great dangers. Do not underestimate the force of moving water and strong currents. The high, fast water the Adirondacks is experiencing due to recent heavy rains was the cause of two deaths this week in treacherous currents.

A Whitehall man was swept under while swimming with family in the Mettawee River in Granville on Saturday. Also, a Franklin County man, a father of three, went over Rockwell Falls in Lake Luzerne on an inflatable raft on Sunday.

Adirondack history includes additional examples of people who have ventured into fast-moving waters with tragic results. For example, in 2003 four teenagers, two co-captains of their high school swim team, were drowned at the Boquet River’s Split Rock Falls after one entered the fast moving current and his three friends attempted rescues.  Since the mid-1990s, five people have drowned in dangerous whirlpools of the Schroon River.  » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Dave Gibson: The APA Says Science Can Wait

Adirondack_Park_Agency_in_Ray_Brook_NYIt’s happened again. The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) has eliminated a permit condition for advance studies to assure no harm comes to sensitive wildlife from new development on four mountain summits.

The entire project – a new Emergency Communication system for Essex County – could have still gone forward and been completed by next winter according to New York State Police – even with the permit condition in place. It’s remarkable how little pressure is required to cause APA to abandon its statutory purpose to protect delicate biological and physical resources of the Adirondack Park. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Inlet’s Greg O’Hara Named to Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe New York State Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame (NYSOHOF) has announced that seven new members will be inducted for 2013. Among those being honored is Greg O’Hara of Inlet, a licensed guide who has been involved in search and rescue in the Adirondacks for many years.

In 2003 O’Hara founded Central Adirondack Search and Rescue Team (CASART) which involved recruiting volunteers, fund raising efforts to provide necessary equipment, and training in many skills necessary for this mission. In the past 10 years they have been involved in nearly 40 missions. Greg has been a licensed hiking and camping guide for over 20 years and has presented many seminars on his “Hiking Safely” program to schools, camps, and the visitors to the Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.



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.
» Continue Reading.



Page 1 of 512345