Thursday, November 3, 2011

DEC Region 5 Forest Ranger Report (Mid-Aug – Oct)

What follows is the mid-August through October 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.

Essex County

Town of Keene, High Peaks Wilderness Area

On Tuesday, August 16, at approximately 11:10 pm, DEC Central Dispatch received a call from the Marcy Dam Backcountry Steward reporting a hiker in need of assistance. Robert Taylor, 64, of Ellicott City, MD, and his 17-year old son began hiking Mt. Marcy at 9:00 am with only one liter of water to share. Mr. Taylor became extremely dehydrated and was having difficulty completing the hike on his own power. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded, helped rehydrate the Mr. Taylor and assisted him to the trailhead. Carry and drink plenty of water while hiking and take rest breaks often to prevent exhaustion.

Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness Area

On Wednesday, August 17, at approximately 10:55 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from a hiker reporting a member of his hiking group missing. Brett Lafave, 24, of Voorheesville, NY, had been hiking with a group in the Marcy Dam-Lake Colden Corridor had not returned to his vehicle at the Adk Loj. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded and began a quick search, one in from the Adirondack Loj Trailhead and the other in from the Upper Works Trailhead. Unable to locate Mr. Lafave, plans were made to continue the search effort in the morning with five additional Forest Rangers. At 6:47am, shortly after beginning the search effort, Mr. Lafave was located in good health. Keep groups together, know the location of all members of the group at all times.

Town of North Elba, Eastern High Peaks Wilderness Area

On Saturday, August 20, at approximately 5:01 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a request from the Marcy Dam caretaker for assistance for a hiker in distress. David Hasfurter, 27, of North Syracuse, NY, hiked Mt. Marcy with companions but became dehydrated and nauseous after his group had reached the summit. Upon descent, he became more distressed and was assisted to Marcy Dam by other hikers. The Marcy Dam interior caretaker assessed Mr. Hasfurter and provided fluids and limited food. Evacuation was requested evacuation due to Mr. Hasfurter’s condition. A DEC Forest Ranger responded with an ATV via the Marcy Dam truck trail. Mr. Hasfurter was taken to the Adirondack Loj and turned over to the Lake Placid Rescue Squad for further evaluation and treatment. Carry and drink plenty of water while hiking and take rest breaks often to prevent exhaustion.

Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness Area

On Saturday, August 20, at approximately 7:35 pm, two DEC Forest Rangers were patrolling near Marcy Dam when Jerrie Evans, 55, of Pendelton, OR, approached them with a left knee injury after hiking Indian Falls. The Forest Rangers escorted Ms. Evans out to ADK Loj. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and know how to obtain assistance in emergency situations. The DEC Forest Ranger emergency phone number is 518-891-0235.

Town of Keene, private land

On Sunday, August 28, at approximately 3:30 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook was contacted by State Police who reported that two adults and three dogs were trapped in a home with water rising quickly. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded with a cataraft and attempted to reach the home of Marcy Neville, 59, of Keene, NY, but were unable to due to the strong river currents. Four additional Forest Rangers responded with an airboat and reached the Neville home. However, the airboat suffered a major mechanical failure. Rangers were then forced to evacuate the family to high ground with the cataraft and another boat. Once safely on high ground the Nevilles were taken to a neighbor’s home. The Neville family’s house was only one of multiple homes overtaken by the Ausable River during flash flooding caused by Tropical Storm Irene. Forest Rangers often assist local emergency responders in their communities. Local emergency responders often assist Forest Rangers in the backcountry.

Town of North Elba, Eastern High Peaks Wilderness Area

On Sunday, September 11, at 3:15 PM, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from a member of a hiking party on Algonquin Mountain reporting that one their group was injured. Andrea Bakic, 23, of Guilderland, NY had a lower leg injury and was unable to walk. She was located at on trail just above the intersection with the trail to Wright Peak. The State Police Helicopter out of Lake Clear was on another assignment at the time and unavailable to assist in the rescue. Eight DEC Forest Rangers responded to assist with the 4 mile carry out. An Assistant Forest Ranger (AFR), who was patrolling nearby, and the Algonquin Mountain Summit Steward, who was already on the mountain, also responded and reached Ms. Bakic first. The AFR applied a splint to her lower leg. The AFR, the summit steward and other members of the hiking party began assisting Ms. Bakic down the trail towards Adirondack Loj. At 6:25 PM, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook was contacted by State Police Aviation and informed that the State Police Helicopter was now available to assist. Ms. Bakic had only traveled a quarter mile when Forest Rangers reached her and prepared her for hoisting into the helicopter. Ms. Bakic was transported to Adirondack Medical Center in Lake Placid at approximately 7:50 PM for further evaluation and treatment. Lake Placid Fire Department secured in the land area at the hospital. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and know how to obtain assistance in emergency situations. The DEC Forest Ranger emergency phone number is 518-891-0235.

Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness Area

On Friday, September 30, at approximately 3:37 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting a 12-year old male from East Aurora, NY, had separated from his hiking party and was now missing. The subject was last seen at approximately 2:00 pm near MacIntyre Falls. Two members of the hiking group went to report him missing while two other members continued to look for the boy. One DEC Forest Ranger responded. Shortly thereafter the boy made his way out to the Adk Loj on his own. Due to his age and inexperience, it was difficult to determine the exact route he had taken from his description. However, since there were several people searching on the trail who did not see the boy, it is assumed that he made his way back off the trail. Keep groups together. Know the location of all members at all times – especially children and other inexperienced hikers.

Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness Area

On Friday, September 30, at approximately 8:00 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a report of two hikers who had been separated while descending Mt. Marcy. Andrew Summers, 24, of Lafarge, NY, was hiking with his partner when they became separated and neither had lights. Mr. Summers continued out to ADK Loj using his cell phone as light. Meanwhile his partner stopped at Marcy Dam outpost and requested assistance from DEC. One DEC Forest Ranger responded and transported Mr. Summer’s hiking partner back out to the Loj by ATV, where the pair was reunited. Stay together. Always carry a flashlight or headlamp and spare batteries.

Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness Area

On Saturday, October 1, at approximately 9:40 am, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting an injured hiker on the trail to Nye Mountain. David Kent, 72, of East Long Meadow, MA, was hiking when he lost his footing while crossing Indian Pass Brook. Mr. Kent felt severe pain in his leg and was no longer able to bear any weight. Eight DEC Forest Rangers responded, stabilized and splinted Mr. Kent’s left knee and prepared him for a carryout. Forest Rangers carried him out to Heart Lake and released him to seek medical treatment on his own. Accidents can happen. The DEC Forest Ranger emergency phone number is 518-891-0235.

Town of Keene, Giant Mountain Wilderness Area

On Saturday, October 1, at approximately 8:21 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting two overdue hikers. Tracy Walker, 63, and Robert Norton, 61, both of Rochester, NY, had been on a hike over Giant Mountain. A DEC Forest Ranger responded and located the subjects in the vicinity of the Washbowl and both were in fair condition. Mr. Norton was moving extremely slow due to “bad” knees and the one headlamp they still had was weak and flickering off. The Forest Ranger provided extra lights and guided them down to the trailhead where they were picked up by friends at 11:30 pm. Know your physical abilities and the difficulties of the hike you plan to take. Don’t push yourself too hard, rest often and turn back if you are having physical difficulties.

Town of Keene, High Peaks Wilderness Area

On Saturday, October 1, at approximately 5:25 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a radio transmission from the Johns Brook Lodge caretaker reporting a hiker with a lower leg injury on Upper Wolfjaw Mountain. One DEC Forest Ranger responded and received notification that the subject, William Mahoney, 21, of South Dartmouth, MA, was assisted down by the rest of his group and was now at Johns Brook Lodge. The Forest Ranger received an assessment of the injury from a doctor who was staying at the lodge. Once satisfied that Mr. Mahoney was stable, the Forest Ranger was re-assigned to another ongoing search and plans were made to evacuate Mr. Mahoney the following morning. The following morning six DEC Forest Rangers utilized an ATV and litter to get Mr. Mahoney out of the wilderness, at which time he was released to seek medical attention with the assistance of his group. All were clear at 2:30pm on October 2. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and know how to obtain assistance in emergency situations. The DEC Forest Ranger emergency phone number is 518-891-0235.

Town of Westport, Split Rock Mtn Wild Forest

On Thursday, October 6, at approximately 1:49 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting a lost hiker. Sandra Ruppell, 73, of Indian Shores, FL, was hiking at Split Rock Mountain without a map or compass when she got lost. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded and located Ms. Ruppell in good health at 5:05 pm. She was escorted out of the woods and back to her vehicle. Know the area you plan to hike and camp. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them.

Town of North Elba, Saranac Lake Wild Forest

On Thursday, October 6, at approximately 3:01 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting an injured hiker. Kathy Meador, 52, of Lake Forest, IL, and her husband were descending from the summit of Scarface when she slipped and fell, her foot stuck in the mud, causing injury to her ankle and which was unable to bear any weight on it. One DEC Forest Ranger responded and provided first aid, food and warm clothing to prevent hypothermia. Six other Forest Rangers responded on foot and carried Mrs. Meador over a mile to where an ATV was staged for evacuation. She was then taken back to her vehicle where her husband transported her to Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake. Always carry extra clothing to help stay warm in an emergency.

Town of St. Armand, McKenzie Mountain Wilderness

On Saturday, October 8, at 6:55 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from Franklin County 911 reporting a lost 11-year old boy on Baker Mountain. Harris Thor, 56, and Debra Ann Thor, 52, of Vestal, NY were hiking Baker Mountain and were separated from their son. A DEC Forest Ranger responded and located the boy a short distance from the trailhead. After securing the boy in her vehicle, the Forest Ranger ascended the trail to locate the parents who were without a flashlight or headlamp. The family was reunited at their vehicle at 8:00 pm. Keep groups together. Know the location of all members at all times – especially children and other inexperienced hikers. Always carry a flashlight or headlamp and spare batteries.

Town of North Hudson, Dix Mountain Wilderness

On Sunday, October 9, at 8:04 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a report of two women injured on the Dix Mountain in the Dix Mountain Wilderness in the Town of North Hudson, Essex County. Sarah Meixell, 56, of Moravia, NY was hiking with family members approximately one mile below the summit of Dix Mountain when she was impaled by a stick in her leg. Ms. Meixell and her husband began moving down the mountain via the Beckhorn Trail while the two daughters went on ahead to seek help. One of the daughters fell injuring her leg but was able to continue on to the trailhead. The daughters called for assistance from the trailhead. Eight DEC Forest Rangers and personnel from Glens Falls Hospital Back Country Rescue responded. First aid was administered then Ms. Meixell was carried 3.5 miles down the trail. A Forest Ranger on an ATV was able to meet them 1.5 miles from the trailhead. Ms.Meixell was taken to the Elk Lake Trailhead at 7:40 am, transferred to a Schroon Lake Rescue ambulance and transported to the Glens Falls Hospital for further medical evaluation and treatment. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and know how to obtain assistance in emergency situations. The DEC Forest Ranger emergency phone number is 518-891-0235.

Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness

On Monday, October 10, at 11:00 am, DEC Forest Ranger on routine patrol encountered an injured man on the trail to March Dam. Paul Wiebe, 73, of Vancouver, BC, Canada, had been hiking with his wife when he tripped on a root, fell and lacerated his arm. The Forest Ranger applied direct pressure on the wound to stop the bleeding. He then assisted Mr. Wiebe to his feet and walked him to the trailhead at noon. He was taken by his wife to Adirondack Medical Center in Lake Placid for further medical evaluation and treatment. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and know how to obtain assistance in emergency situations. The DEC Forest Ranger emergency phone number is 518-891-0235.

Town of Keene, Dix Mountain Wilderness

On Monday, October 10, at 11:11 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a phone call from a man seeking assistance on the Round Mountain Trail. Roger Pershing, 38, of Kunkletown, PA had fallen approximately a half mile from the trailhead and was unable to get up. Three DEC Forest Rangers responded to the location and found Mr. Pershing in physical distress. Fluids were administered but Mr. Pershing remained unable to stand. Additional personnel were requested from the Keene Valley Volunteer Fire Department, the Keene Volunteer Fire Department and Search and Rescue of the Northern Adirondacks (SARNAK). Mr. Pershing was packaged in a litter and carried out to the trailhead. At 6:13 am he was placed in a Keene Fire Department ambulance and transported to the Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake for further medical evaluation and treatment. Know your physical abilities and the difficulties of the hike you plan to take. Don’t push yourself too hard, rest often and turn back if you are having physical difficulties.

Town of Keene, Giant Mountain Wilderness Area

On Friday, October 14, at approximately 5:06 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting stranded hikers. A group of five students and two teachers from Corwin Russell School in Sudbury, MA, had climbed Giant Mountain and were returning to the Roaring Brook trailhead. One of the students, a 14-year old female from Needham, MA, was unable to cross Roaring Brook with the rest of her hiking party due to high and rising water. A DEC Forest Ranger responded and built a temporary crossing rigged with a safety line. The young lady, who was wearing sneakers and nylon wind pants, was given a personal flotation device (PFD) and assisted across the water. The group was then escorted to the trailhead. Check weather forecasts before starting and be aware and prepared for weather conditions.

Town of Minerva, Vanderwhacker Mtn Wild Forest

On Saturday, October 15, at approximately 4:28 am, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from Warren County Sheriff advising of four people missing from The Word of Life Camp in Schroon Lake. Micah McQuillen, 20, of Archibald, OH, Amy Detzel, 20, of Lancaster, PA, Nicole Ingalls, 18, of Bremen, IN and Joseph Griffith, 19, of Monroeville, NJ, had not been seen since 3pm on the previous day when they left on bicycles. The group had told other camp members they were going to bushwhack to the ledges off I-87 near exit 27. Three DEC Forest Rangers responded and began searching on foot while a New York State Police Aviation Unit Helicopter with another Forest Ranger searched from the air. At 10:52 am, the four people were located walking on I-87 trying to retrieve their bicycles. The group had bushwhacked to the top of Devil’s Ledge when they became disoriented due to heavy rains and darkness. They followed a stream down to a barn where they spent the night. Upon waking up the next morning they found a dirt road which lead them back to I-87. The four people were cold but otherwise in good condition. Know the area you plan to hike. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them. Always inform someone of your itinerary.

Town of Minerva, Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest

On Saturday, October 22, at approximately 9:03 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from reporting two lost hunters. Gary Yund, 59, of Albany, NY, and Dan Harmon, 29, of Niskayuna, NY, went in to the woods off the Northwoods Club Road at 2:00 pm. At 6:30pm, the two men had failed to show up for dinner at camp. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded and began searching. After extensive searching through the night, plans were made for more resources to continue searching in the morning. At 8:15am the following morning, the two hunters were located in good health. Know the area you plan to hunt. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them. Always inform someone of your itinerary.

Town of North Elba, Eastern High Peaks Wilderness Area

On Monday, October 24, at 12:06 pm, Franklin County 911 transferred a call to DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook from a man in distress in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness in the Town of North Elba, Essex County. Kevin Hagerty, 36, of Clifton Park, NY had become lost while bushwhacking between Gray Peak and Mt. Marcy after having spent the previous night at the Panther Gorge Lean-to. During the phone conversation the dispatcher determined that Mr. Hagerty was suffering from hypothermia based on the uncontrolled chattering of his teeth, the numerous times he dropped his cell phone and his inability to open his backpack. Six DEC Forest Rangers were dispatched to locate and assist Mr. Hagerty. A helicopter from the State Police Aviation Unit was utilized to locate Mr. Hagerty and hoist a Forest Ranger down to him. He was wrapped in warm blankets and evaluated. It was learned that he had gotten wet when temperatures had been in the single digits. Due to his condition it was determined that he would be hoisted up and evacuated by helicopter, rather than carrying him out. Mr. Hagerty was transported to the Adirondack Medical Center in Lake Placid at 2:15 pm where Lake Placid Volunteer Fire Department secured the landing zone. Check weather forecasts before starting and be aware and prepared for weather conditions. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them.

Franklin County

Town of Harrietstown, Western High Peaks Wilderness Area

On Friday, August 19, at approximately 3:01 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a report of an injured hiker on Ampersand Mountain. Natalie Shuster, 21, of Rockville, MD, was about a mile from the trailhead when she injured her ankle. A few members of her hiking party were able to assist her until the two DEC Forest Rangers who responded reached them. The Forest Rangers assisted her back to the trailhead where a third Forest Ranger examined her ankle and splinted it. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and know how to obtain assistance in emergency situations. The DEC Forest Ranger emergency phone number is 518-891-0235.

Town of Harrietstown, Saranac Lakes Wild Forest

On Wednesday, September 28, at approximately 2:36 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting a lost hiker. Denny Zheng, 33, of Saranac Lake, NY, was hiking with friends in the area of Bartlett Carry when he became separated from the rest of his hiking group. Three DEC Forest Rangers responded and made cell phone contact with Mr. Zheng. A Forest Ranger told Mr. Zheng to contact 911 with his cell phone thus they would be able to obtain his coordinates. At 3:15 the Forest Rangers located Mr. Zheng and escorted him out of the woods by 4:00 pm. Keep groups together – know the location of all members at all times. Know the area you plan to hike. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them.

Town of Constable, Trout River State Forest

On Saturday, October 1, at approximately 10:23 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from Franklin County 911 reporting an overdue hunter. Russell Newman, 53, of Constable, NY, was also reported as having multiple medical conditions. A DEC Forest Ranger and members of the Constable Volunteer Fire Department responded. A hasty search through the center of the search area resulted in locating Mr. Newman in poor condition. Mr. Newman had spent most of the afternoon lost and said his condition had been poor since dark. The Forest Ranger and Fire Department members escorted him out half a mile to the ambulance, where he was treated and released at 12:36 am. Know how to obtain assistance in emergency situations. The DEC Forest Ranger emergency phone number is 518-891-0235.

Fulton County

Town of Oppenheim, Lassellville State Forest

On Thursday, September 29, at approximately 7:38pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from Fulton County 911 reporting a lost hunter. Olivieri Guillermo, 35, of Kingston, NY, was hunting in the Lassellsville State Forest late in the day when he became lost without a map or compass, and only a flashlight and cell phone. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded and received approximate coordinates from Mr. Guillermo’s cell phone. DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook was able to establish contact with Mr. Guillermo via text message to determine his status. Forest Rangers located Mr. Guillermo at 8:50 p.m. Know the area you plan to hunt. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them. Always inform someone of your itinerary.

Hamilton County

Town of Indian Lake, Sargent Ponds Wild Forest

On Friday, August 26, at approximately 12:02 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from Blue Mountain Lake Rescue reporting an injured subject halfway down the trail on Castle Rock. Miller Wright, 22, of Manhattan, NY, had injured his knee. Blue Mountain Lake Rescue and three DEC Forest Rangers responded. Upon reaching Mr. Miller they splinted his leg and packaged him in a litter. He was carried off the mountain and then transported to Glens Falls Hospital by Blue Mountain Lake Rescue. Accidents can happen. The DEC Forest Ranger emergency phone number is 518-891-0235.


Editorial Staff

Stories written under the Almanack‘s Editorial Staff byline are drawn from press releases and other notices.

To have your news noticed here at the Almanack contact our Editor John Warren at adkalmanack@gmail.com.




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