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.
Town of North Elba
Rescue: On May 10, an 18-year-old male hiker located Forest Rangers while the Rangers were doing a resupply at Lake Colden with New York State Police Aviation and requested help for a friend with an unstable knee injury. The hiker also stated that the two had been separated from a third subject. The subjects were assisted out of the woods by NYSP Aviation, and the hiker with the unstable knee injury was hoisted and flown directly to AMC Lake Placid. The missing friend made his way down to the High Peaks Information Center on his own. All subjects were from Ottawa, Canada, and were later reunited at Lake Placid AMC.
Town of Keene
Search: On May 12 at 11:16 pm, Central Dispatch received a call from a subject advising that his friend, a 29-year-old male from Howard Beach, was overdue from hiking Giant Mountain. The caller last spoke to the subject at 8 pm as he was descending down the trail that leads out through Roaring Brook Falls. Forest Ranger Scott VanLaer responded, arriving at the Giant Mountain Trailhead around 1:15 a.m. After searching the initial area for more than three hours, he requested four more Rangers to respond by way of the Lake Colden Outpost. As additional Rangers were beginning their trek, the subject called friends and reported he had made it out of the woods to State Rte. 73. A resident then drove the subject to the Noonmark Diner, where he met with the Rangers. The subject reported he lost the trail at dark, spent the night near a river, and hiked out at first light. After an interview, it is believed he mistakenly descended Giant via the North Trail near Elizabethtown. He was released to a third party and the incident concluded at 7 am on May 13.
Town of North Elba
Search: On May 17 at 9:09 p.m., a call came in from Essex County 911 to Ray Brook Dispatch reporting two lost hikers on the Scarface Trail. Two hikers, ages 24 and 12, were off the trail and unsure of their location, and unable to locate the trail using Google Maps on their cell phone. Coordinates from 911 placed the two southeast of the trail. With continued efforts, they were unable to locate the trail and were asked to remain at their location for further assistance. A Forest Ranger was dispatched to the trailhead and was quickly in contact with the two young hikers, walking them out and releasing them to their parents at the trailhead with no injuries.
Town of Indian Lake
Search: On May 17 at 12:04 p.m., Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Hamilton County 911 about a hiker lost on the Rock River Trail in Indian Lake in the Blue Mountain Wild Forest. The hiker stated he was off the trail and near a pond, which was later verified to be Rock Lake. Forest Rangers were dispatched to the trailhead, where the subject’s car was located. At 2:52 p.m., Forest Rangers made voice contact with the hiker and within 15 minutes assisted him back to the trailhead. The subject was found in good health with no injuries. At 4:48 p.m., the subject was back at his vehicle.
Town of Greig
Rescue: On May 12 at 3:25 pm, Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance for a 75-year-old female from Wolcott who was injured when she and her horse fell down a hill on the Otter Creek horse trails in Independence River Wild Forest. The subject suffered unstable injuries to her extremities when the horse rolled on her. Three Forest Rangers arrived on scene at 4:10 pm and accessed the trails through Confusion Flats, reaching the subject at 4:41 pm. She was packaged for transport out of the trail by UTV to an awaiting Ranger truck and driven a few miles to an ambulance. She was taken to an area hospital for treatment with the incident concluding at 6:10 pm.
Town of Warrensburg
Swiftwater Rescue Training: From May 14 to 19, Forest Rangers participated in two swiftwater training events, one on the Schroon River and one on the Hudson River. Course instruction was led by Aaron Peeler from the American Canoe Association, the nation’s leading accreditation organization for swiftwater rescue and boat use. Mr. Peeler is among the top swiftwater rescue instructors in the country. Successful completion of these courses resulted in six Forest Rangers receiving certification as Level 4 instructors on oar frame raft operation. Ten Forest Rangers attained Level 4 swiftwater rescue instructor certification. In partnership with the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control, Forest Rangers are trained and equipped to respond to swiftwater rescues and flood rescue events and serve as the State’s experts in swiftwater rescue. New York is home to thousands of miles of runnable kayak and raft water.
Town of Dresden
Rescue: On May 20 at 6:42 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a woman stating her 18-year-old daughter and friend went hiking on Black Mountain in Dresden. While on the hike, the daughter sustained an ankle injury near the summit. Three Forest Rangers and the Dresden Fire Department and Skenesborough EMS teams responded to the trailhead. The fire department used their UTV to locate the injured party and transport her to the trailhead. The subject refused further medical care. All units were clear by 7:45 p.m.
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.