Posts Tagged ‘Search and Rescue’

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Mysterious Aircraft Wreckage At Spruce Lake

IMGP0824I have spent the last several years researching and searching for historic plane crash sites in the Adirondacks. It’s much harder to find them then people would think. Only in the last couple decades with the proliferation of hand held GPS devices has precise mapping come about and historical references often contain errors in descriptions and locations. One plane I found was not even on the mountain that media and government reports listed for its location. This fall, wreckage from a crash found me; as of yet, no one has been able to explain it. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, October 16, 2014

Recent Adirondack Search and Rescue Incidents (Oct 7-13)

DEC Forest RangerThe Forest Ranger Search and Rescue Report below is issued by DEC and is not a comprehensive list of all emergencies in the back-country.

The search and rescue events reported below are reminders 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 the most current outdoor conditions on Thursday evenings. On Friday mornings, John Warren reports the latest outdoor conditions on WSLP (93.3) and on the stations of North Country Public Radio. Subscribe to the weekly conditions podcast.
» Continue Reading.



Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Recent Adirondack Search and Rescue Incidents

DEC Forest RangerThe Forest Ranger Search and Rescue Report below is issued intermittently by DEC and is not a comprehensive list of all emergencies in the back-country, these are only a few of those recently reported by DEC.

The events reported below are reminders 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 the most current outdoor conditions on Thursday evenings.  On Friday mornings, John Warren’s reports the latest outdoor conditions on WSLP (93.3) and on the stations of North Country Public Radio.  To subscribe to the weekly conditions podcast.
» Continue Reading.



Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Adirondack September 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 (DEC has recently shortened this report considerably, and produces it less regularly), these reports are 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.



Monday, September 15, 2014

ATV Damage in the Black River Wild Forest

ATV damage to the Gull Lake Trail, Black River Wild Forest.On August 29th, I visited the Gull Lake and Chub Pond trails in the Black River Wild Forest. I photographed all sorts of trail and wetland damage from All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) use on these trails. ATVs are not allowed on these trails, but the Black River Wild Forest area has a history of illegal ATV use, and I thought that the damage to these trails reflected more of the same.

I had received reports about ATV damage in this part of the Forest Preserve earlier this year. The previous week I had spent time in the Ferris Lake Wild Forest inventorying trail damage from ATVs and photographing ATV side-routes around various barrier gates put up by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). It appeared that the damage to the Chub Pond and Gull Lake trails was also caused by illegal trespass. The usual telltale signs of illegal trespass and recreational riding were evident. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The 1981 Ampersand Mountain Search For Kate Dekkers

ampersandmtIn the summer of 1981, in the High Peaks Wilderness, an organized outing consisting of kids and counselors went on a day hike. Twelve children and two adults went up Ampersand Mountain on July 24th to enjoy a summer day in the Adirondacks. Only eleven children returned. A 10-year-old girl, 4-foot-ten-inches tall, wearing blue shorts and a red #88 football jersey went missing, separated from the rest of the group.

It’s the type of unfortunate, yet often preventable incident that regularly happens during summers in the Adirondacks. Most separations like this are solved within hours –  it would take four days to solve the mystery of what happened to young Kate Dekkers. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Recent Plane Crash Recalls 1989 Search For Aircraft

IMGP0624On Saturday July 19th, several people around the Lake Placid Airport witnessed the final moments of a small plane as it attempted a landing. The single-engine Mooney may have stalled, spiraling 200 feet to the ground before bursting into flames. It will be some time before the NTSB releases its findings. Investigators have already been to the scene and the plane has been removed from the crash site, just 40 feet from the River Road. This tragic event that took the lives of three people drew comparisons to a crash that occurred in the same vicinity 25 years ago.

On the March 1, 1989, pilot Paul Ffield departed from the Lake Clear airport for a very short flight to the Lake Placid airport in his twin engine Beech Baron N1729Q. He was forced to abort a landing at Lake Placid, just as happened last week, but in this case the cause was poor weather. It was believed Mr. Ffield turned to the south but no other landing attempt was observed. Lake Placid Airport manager and pilot Steve Short went airborne just a couple hours later to look for the plane. He returned without success, finding no sign of the plane or an Emergency Locating Transmitter (ELT) signal. » Continue Reading.



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.



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