What follows is the Novemeber and December Forest Ranger Activity Report for DEC Region 5, which includes most of the Adirondack region. 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) and on the stations of North Country Public Radio.
Town of Champlain, Private Lands
On Thursday, November 4, at approximately 11:45am, State Police in Plattsburgh requested DEC Forest Rangers to assist in a search for Francine Marcel, 56, of Morrisonville, NY. Ms. Marcel was last seen at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, November 2, just before leaving her home to close her camp on Point AuRoche on near the shores of Lake Champlain. She was expected home by 7:00 p.m., but did not arrive. State Police began the search on Wednesday, November 3, locating Ms. Marcel’s car at the camp, but determining that her canoe was missing. New York State Police had received several credible reports of a female in canoe on Lake Champlain near Dixon Point around 11:00 am, November 2. Search efforts were concentrated on locating her canoe. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded and used ATVs to search near the shoreline of Lake Champlain. Although multiple agencies have continued to search the lakeshore for Ms. Marcel and her canoe, as of this date she has not been located. While the exact circumstances of the subject’s disappearance are unknown, remember to always wear a personal flotation device when you are on the water. Also, always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return whenever you go out on the water or into the woods.
Town of Elizabethtown, Private Land
On Wednesday November 17, at approximately 2:11 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from New York State Police requesting assistance in searching for Nancy Foster, 76, of Elizabethtown, NY. Ms. Foster had left her residence to take a short walk at approximately 12:00 pm and had not returned. DEC Forest Rangers were dispatched to assist in searching the community and nearby wooded areas. At midnight Ms. Foster had not been located and the search was called off for the night. Plans were developed to expand the search further into nearby wooded areas and continuing roadside searches. The search resumed the following morning with more than 100 searchers from 11 agencies and organizations, including additional Forest Rangers, DEC Environmental Conservation Officers, State Police, Essex County Sheriffs, local fire departments, regional search & rescue organizations and members of the community. Ms. Foster was located at 10 am by a DEC Environmental Conservation Officer and K9 partner approximately one mile uphill from her residence. She was cold and possibly mildly hypothermic, but otherwise seemed healthy. She was carried to an ATV, transported out of the woods to Elizabethtown-Lewis Emergency ambulance and then taken to the Elizabethtown hospital for further medical evaluation.
Town of Tupper Lake, private land
On Thursday, December 2, at approximately 1:45 pm DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from New York State Police requesting assistance in locating a missing 79 year old female, Helen Reandeau of Tupper Lake, NY. Ms. Rendeau had wandered away from her home at approximately 10:30 am. Family members and the Tupper Lake Police Department attempted to locate her throughout the day to no avail. DEC Forest Rangers responded to assist in organizing a more comprehensive search effort. As a result of New York State Police Aviation participation in the search, a local resident contacted the Tupper Lake Police Department and reported seeing a woman in their yard earlier in the day. Tupper Lake police responded at approximately 5:30 pm and located tracks in the snow. The tracks lead to Ms. Rendeau lying in the snow in a swampy area between the backyard and Raquette Pond. She was examined by Tupper Lake EMS and transported to Saranac Lake Hospital for treatment of possible hypothermia.
Town of Lake Pleasant, Speculator Tree Farm Easement Lands
On Wednesday, November 3, at approximately 6:55pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a report from the Hamilton County Sheriff of an injured hunter near the Macomb Camp on Dug Mountain, off Elm Lake Road. William Abbate, 49, of Niskayuna, NY had been returning from hunting at approximately 4:55 pm when he rolled his ATV. His calls for help were heard by a nearby camp owner who reported the incident. Two DEC Forest Rangers and Speculator Fire Department personnel responded. The group located Mr. Abbate with an apparent hip injury. They carried him in a stretcher a half mile to a waiting ambulance which transported him to Speculator. There he was loaded into a Life Flight helicopter and flown to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Utica for further evaluation and treatment. Know how to obtain assistance in emergency situations. The DEC Forest Ranger emergency phone number is 518-891-0235.
Town of Morehouse, West Canada Lake Wilderness
On Thursday, November 4, at approximately 8:45pm, a DEC Forest Ranger received a call reporting a hunter had not returned to camp. Chester Cuddebeck, 67, of Waterloo, N.Y, had left the hunting camp at approximately 3:30pm for an evening hunt. Three DEC Forest Rangers responded and searched throughout the night using attraction and Type I search techniques, but were unable to locate Mr. Cuddebeck. At 2:30am search operations concluded for the night. Search efforts began again in the morning and at 9:20am, Mr. Cuddebeck was located on the western shore of West Canada Creek. He was two miles from where he was last seen, but in good condition. Forest Rangers escorted him back to camp at 11:20am. Know the area you will be hiking or hunting. Always carry a map and compass and use them.
Town of Bolton, Lake George Wild Forest
On Monday, November 29, a 17 year old male began a trail run up Tongue Mountain from the Clay Meadows trailhead at 2:45 pm. He had told his family that he planned to be out by 6:00 pm, but that they should not to be concerned for him until 9:00 pm. State Police were contacted and at 10:30 pm a State Trooper confirmed the young man’s vehicle was at the trailhead. State Police immediately contacted the DEC Dispatch Center in Ray Brook seeking DEC Forest Ranger response. Forest Rangers, State Troopers and, at one point, a State Police Aviation Unit helicopter searched the trails and the mountain until 5:30 am the next morning. Ten Forest Rangers and the State Police Aviation Unit helicopter began search again at daylight. At 8:30 am the young man was located cold, but otherwise in good condition. He was reunited with his family and taken for further medical evaluation. Know the trails, your abilities and the conditions you will be facing.
Town of Bolton, Lake George Wild Forest, Tongue Mountain
On Thursday, December 2, at approximately 7:06 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from Warren County 911 reporting a lost hiker on Tongue Mountain. Marcus Zalud, 37, of Wuxi City, China, set out to hike the Tongue Mountain loop and ran out of daylight. Family members contacted Warren County 911 when he did not return at the pre- arranged time. Mr. Zalud was reported as an experienced hiker in good health. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded and located him in good condition near 5th Peak at approximately 9:12 pm. Forest Rangers escorted Mr. Zalud out to his vehicle. The subject properly informed his family where he was going and when to expect him back, leading to a prompt response.
Town of Dresden, Lake George Wild Forest
On Saturday, November 6, at approximately 6:29pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a cell phone call from a group of hikers lost on Sleeping Beauty Mountain. Caleb Janho, 18 of Ventura, PA; James Howell, 21, Jocelynn Shelly, 20, and Anni Keffer, 18, all of Ventura, PA; Renae Davis, 18, of Von West, OH and Shelly Crist, 18, of Wilmore, KY were all from the Word of Life Camp in Schroon Lake. The group had parked at the Hogstown Parking Lot and walked past the Dacy Clearing Parking Area on the way to the summit. They had lost their way while heading back down the mountain and had only one flashlight. They indicated that they were on the edge of a burnt tree line. A DEC Forest Ranger responded, instructing the group to continue to a bridge, then contact him and wait for his arrival. The Forest Ranger met up with the subjects at 8:07 p.m., walked them out to his vehicle and then gave them a courtesy ride to their vehicle. All subjects were in good condition and the search concluded at 8:44 pm. Plan ahead before heading into the woods, know when sunset occurs and how long it will take you to get to and return from your destination. Start your hike early enough to ensure your return in daylight and turn around before reaching your destination if you need to.
Town of Dresden, Lake George Wild Forest
On Saturday, November 13, 2010 at approximately 5:00 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from Washington County 911 reporting that there were two lost hikers on Black Mountain. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded and made cell phone contact with Virginia Allen, 50, and Kristyn Allen, 24, both of Gansevoort, NY. After learning their position on the mountain, the Forest Rangers located the subjects at 8:20 pm. Forest Rangers escorted the Allens out of the woods by 10:20 pm. Always carry a flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries.