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 backcountry.
What follows are reports, prepared by DEC, of recent missions carried out by Forest Rangers in the Adirondacks.
Town of Harrietstown
High Peaks Wilderness
Lost Hunters: On October 24, 2015 at 9:40 p.m., Franklin County 911 transferred a call to DEC Central Dispatch reporting two lost hunters in the Harrietstown area. The 35-year-old man and 29-year-old woman, both from Tupper Lake, became disoriented along the Raquette River while hunting in the Western High Peaks Wilderness area. One of the hunters sent a text message to a friend indicating they were lost and needed help. The friend contacted Franklin County 911, which transferred the call to DEC. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded to the intersection of routes 3 & 30 in the town of Harrietstown, where the hunter’s truck was parked. Forest Rangers and a local K9 search and rescue handler entered the area and began the search. Rangers fired off a set of signal shots to help locate the pair. Those attempts failed so the Rangers exited the woods and entered a trail headed towards Trombley’s Landing. Rangers fired off another round of signal shots once in that area and the hunters responded back. Rangers located the pair a short time later and escorted them back to their parked vehicle. The incident concluded at 1:30 a.m. the following morning.
Town of Bolton
Lake George Wild Forest
Distressed Hikers: On November 1, 2015 at 5:19 p.m., Warren County 911 transferred a call to DEC Ray Brook Dispatch from a group of hikers requesting assistance. A 26-year-old woman and two 25-year-old women, all from Albany, NY and a 34-year-old woman and 28-year-old woman both from Brooklyn, NY were hiking Cat Mountain when it became dark and they were unable to continue on the trail. A DEC Forest Ranger responded and located the hikers at 7:25 p.m. The Ranger escorted the group out to the trailhead at 8:25 p.m.
So nobody in the lost Lk George party had a flashlight? 34, 28, 26, 25, 25 years old and nobody had the foresight to prepare for this hike? Astonishing how bad this makes me feel – the outcome could’ve been bad.
A flashlight, a whistle, water, food, space blanket. Sure a compass/map but you need to know how to read it. Maybe two pounds on your back could make the difference. Cell phones fail.
My thoughts exactly. I’ve often wondered how many rescues are simply because someone didn’t put brain in gear before putting feet in motion?
I’m sure someone will say they didn’t intend for that to happen. Of course they didn’t, but a little bit of simple, inexpensive planning greatly reduces the need for rescue in the first place.
Unfortunately, 95% of people have no conception of what is needed to survive in the natural world. The reality for most is that everything is available via smartphone and an app. That is where most people live their lives. Hang out in any visitor center or the Adk Loj and listen to the questions. People are dumbfounded that there might not be cell reception and Internet access at some remote location in the Daks.
I’m amazed at how many people require rescue each year because they get disoriented, lost, or stuck out on well marked, well trodden trails. I see several things here…they overestimated their ability and physical condition, they paid little attention to their surroundings, they underestimated how long it would take to go out and back, or they were unprepared for sudden weather conditions.
it’s nice to know the DEC is ready to go and able to help anyone in need. It does not matter how inexperienced or well seasoned you are, there will always be that day you will need help
we now live in a world where being outside and exploring nature is becoming a far fetched idea and pastime for most encouraging people to go for a hike and to be prepared is one of the best things we can do as americans