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 Saranac Lake
Memorial Service: April 30 marked the 100th anniversary of the passing of Forest Ranger James Ahern, the first Ranger to die in the line of duty. His death in 1917 was a result of injuries received from a fall from a ledge while inspecting boundary lines near Ray Brook. Forest Rangers, including the Forest Ranger Color Guard, family, and others honored his memory in a Memorial Service at Saranac Lake.
Town of North Elba
Search: On April 29 at 4:38 pm, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a transferred call from Essex County 911 from a woman stating that she and her four-year-old son were lost on Haystack Mountain. Essex County 911 provided coordinates of her location, which was in the vicinity of the trail. One Forest Ranger responded, made cell phone contact with the subject, and was able to get the family headed in the right direction. The Ranger hiked up the trail, found the two hikers, and assisted them to the trailhead.
Town of Keene
Rescue: On May 2, Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a distraught woman on the Phelps Mountain trail. The subject, her 11-year-old son, and their dog were cold and worried about trail conditions. They requested to camp at high elevation in fear that descending would place them in greater danger. They were placed in phone contact with Forest Rangers and were directed to start down the trail to Marcy Dam, where Forest Rangers would meet them. Forest Rangers Joseph LaPierre and Megan McCone responded via UTV to Marcy Dam. The subjects were met by the Rangers just above the high water bridge on the Van Hovenburg trail, escorted to the UTV, and transported back to their vehicle.
Town of Brighton
Search: On May 4 at 4:17 p.m., Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance from a 23-year-old male and a 21-year-old female from Syracuse who were disoriented on St. Regis Mountain. The subjects reported that during their descent they decided to bushwhack due to unsuitable ice and mud conditions along the trail. They subsequently became disoriented and lost. Under Lt. Julie Harjung’s authority, two Rangers were dispatched to search for the subjects. Coordinates obtained from their cell phone placed the subjects on St. Regis Mountain. The responding Rangers traveled the St. Regis trail to the reported coordinates. Rangers later obtained voice contact with the subjects, who were located in good condition. They were returned to the trail and escorted back to the trailhead.
Town of Long Lake
Search: On April 30, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call late in the day from In-Reach, an S.O.S emergency response system, requesting assistance for a subject hiking the Northville Placid Trail. The subject had become separated from her group and lost the trail. The system provided coordinates with the subject’s location and contact information. Forest Ranger James Water contacted the subject and assessed the situation. The subject was properly equipped and prepared to spend the night. The following morning two Rangers mobilized, located the subject, and brought her to Long Lake, where she met up with three other members from her group.
St. Lawrence County
Town of Clifton
Rescue: On May 2 at 7:10 p.m., a call came into Ray Brook Dispatch from the wife of a subject who received a distress text from her husband’s GPS unit. The message reported that the man and his dog were in need of help and were cold, wet, and feeling hypothermic because of the weather. GPS coordinates placed him at the intersection of the Burnt Bridge Pond Trail. At 7:24 p.m., Forest Rangers Corenne Black and Adam Baldwin were dispatched to the scene and proceeded to the subject’s reported location using an ATV via the Burnt Bridge Pond Trail. The subject and his dog were successfully located and later returned to his vehicle in Wanakena.
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.