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 Adirondack backcountry.
What follows is a report, prepared by DEC, of recent missions carried out by Forest Rangers in the Adirondacks.
Winter Storm Stella
More than 80 Forest Rangers were assigned across the state to address potential searches, rescues, or calls associated with Winter Storm Stella on March 14 and 15. Twelve to 40 inches of snow were reported throughout Upstate New York. Rangers conducted several wellness checks of backpackers in the Catskill and Adirondack mountains where individuals were concerned for the safety of their family members. Two Rangers assisted the Lyon Mountain Fire Department in evacuating two snowmobilers that became stranded on Lyon Mountain. The 15- and 17-year-old Clinton County youths used their cell phones to ask for help when their snowmobiles became disabled, and Rangers and fire rescue personnel located the two in blizzard conditions and assisted them out uninjured.
Town of North Elba
Rescue and Arrest: On March 18, off-duty Forest Ranger Megan McCone witnessed a snowmobile roll over while being operated on a town road near Lake Placid. McCone confronted the operator, who was injured, but the man fled the scene. She followed the operator to his residence, where Ranger Joe LaPierre apprehended the 40-year-old Lake Placid man, who appeared intoxicated. The man was arrested and refused to submit to a breath screening before being transported to the local hospital. He will be charged with operating a snowmobile while intoxicated, a misdemeanor, and refusing to submit to a chemical test, a violation.
Town of Keene
Search: On March 19, two men backcountry skiing on Mount Colden’s Couloir Slide became disoriented and called 911 for help. The call was transferred to DEC Ray Brook Dispatch with the cell phone GPS location. Due to the accuracy of the GPS location, the dispatcher was able to tell the skiers how to get back on the trail. Within 30 minutes, the two reported they were back on the trail and no longer in need of assistance.
Town of Wilmington
Recovery: On March 23, Ray Brook Dispatch received a transferred call from Essex County 911 regarding a 65-year-old male from Massena with an ankle injury on the Poor Man’s downhill trail in Wilmington. Rangers were dispatched to assist the subject. The Rangers evaluated, packaged, and transported the subject by snowmobile to the road. Wilmington Rescue Squad transported the individual to a local hospital.
Town of Tupper Lake
Rescue: On March 15, five Forest Rangers rescued a 39-year-old Massachusetts man hiking the trails to Seymour and Steward mountains. The man reported he was dehydrated and unable to self-rescue. Within six hours, Rangers used snowmobiles to access the remote area and bring the man out without further illness or injury.
St. Lawrence County
Town of Brasher
Custodial Arrest: On March 21 while on routine patrol of Brasher State Forest, Forest Rangers Jared Booth and Joshua Hogan encountered a group camping in an unusual location. Rangers checked the campsite and engaged the individuals in conversation. Ranger Hogan recognized one of the individuals from a previous encounter. Believing this individual gave a false name, the Rangers checked the Massena Police Department social media page for outstanding warrants. Because the man matched the description of the subject of an arrest warrant issued by the Massena Police Department, the Rangers took him into custody. The subject was then transported to the Massena Police Department for processing and arraignment.
Town of Johnsburg
Search: Gore Mountain Ski Patrol asked Rangers to help locate two teenagers that had skied off the trail system. Four Rangers conducted a search by snowshoe and snowmobile and determined the teenagers had returned to the ski center trails and were no longer in need of assistance.
Town of Lake Luzerne
Assist to State Police: On March 15, three Forest Rangers assisted the New York State Police with locating a 23-year-old Lake Luzerne man reported to be despondent in the woods with a knife. Since the incident was at the end of a snowstorm that brought 24 inches of fresh snow to the area, Rangers were needed to track the man. Shortly after initiating the search, the man was found alive and well.
Be Prepared: Properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hiking Safety webpage and Adirondack Trail Information webpage for more information about where you intend to travel. The Adirondack Almanack reports weekly Outdoor Conditions each Thursday afternoon.