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 Newcomb
Search: At 7:57 am on July 10, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received information about three overdue hikers in the Santanoni Range of the High Peaks Wilderness. Three hikers in their 30s had set out to climb three Santanoni mountains via the Express Route and Panther Brook herd paths. The subjects found themselves taking longer than expected and called home to let family members know they would not be out until 2 am. When the three hikers did not return home by daybreak, Forest Rangers were called in for assistance. By 8:30 am, three Rangers headed to the area and located the subjects at 10:18 am in good health approximately a half mile up the foot trail.
Town of Keene
Rescue: On July 11 at 3:51 pm DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call regarding a 55-year-old man who had fallen and sustained a lower leg injury on the Great Range Trail between Gothics and Saddleback mountains. Another group hiking the same trail splinted the leg and provided coordinates to Ray Brook Dispatch. Two Rangers were transported by New York State Police Aviation helicopter to the man’s location. Upon arrival, one Ranger was lowered by hoist to the man’s location. The Ranger treated the subject and prepared him for extrication by helicopter. The man was flown to a local hospital where he received further medical care.
Town of Keene
Rescue: On July 13 at 2:06 pm, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance for a 52-year-old female from Oxford, Conn., with a possible ankle fracture on Cascade Mountain. The subject was 1.7 miles in on the trail, and 12 Rangers were dispatched. NYSP Aviation was contacted but unable to fly due to bad weather. When Rangers located the subject they assessed and splinted the leg injury and the subject was able to bear weight on it for part of the walk down. When the subject felt unstable again, Rangers packaged her in a backpack litter and carried her down to the trailhead. The subject was then transported to the hospital by her husband. All Rangers were clear by 7:11 pm.
Town of North Alba
Search: On July 14 at 6:17 pm, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Essex County 911 and patched them through to four hikers in the McKenzie Pond Wilderness. The four had decided to go on an adventure and bushwhack through the wilderness on a short hike with no gear, map, or compass. Coordinates put them on the side of Hennessy Mountain, due north of Route 86 and Old Military Road. With severe weather coming in, the subjects could not find their way back. Forest Rangers were dispatched to the location of the group’s car on Route 86 and, under heavy rain, started a land search to the hikers last known location. At 8:14 pm, Forest Rangers found the individuals in good health; and by 9:05 pm, the subjects were back at their vehicles.
Town of Keene
Rescue: On July 16 at 3:32 pm, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Essex County 911 with the caller stating that an 18-year-old male fell while climbing Cascade Slide near the Cascade Falls day use area in Keene. The caller reported the subject was conscious and in extreme pain. Six Rangers responded and located the subject. The first Ranger on scene assessed the subject and requested Keene EMS and Keene Valley Fire Department. The young man is believed to have fallen more than 100 feet from a rock while climbing. He landed near the base of the falls. The subject was stabilized, packaged, and transported to a waiting ambulance. The man is believed to have sustained multiple fractures, as well as internal injuries. The ambulance took the subject to Elizabethtown Hospital, where he was then transported by Life Flight to the medical center in Burlington, Vermont, for further medical care.
Town of Keene
Rescue: On July 19, at 12:23 p.m., DEC Ray Brook dispatch received a transferred call from Essex County 911. A female bystander reported a 72-year-old male from Fairport, NY, with possible cardiac distress. The man advised that he had a history of cardiac issues and reported his location at the junction of the trail for Rooster Comb and Hedgehog Mountains. Under Lt. Platt’s authority, three Rangers and one assistant Ranger were dispatched. The four Rangers arrived on scene at 12:45 p.m. The assistant Ranger hiked into Rooster Comb to assess the subject. Two Rangers met New York State Police Aviation at Marcy Field in Keene for a possible hoist. One Ranger was inserted onto Rooster Comb Mountain. The subject began walking down the mountain prior to Ranger insertion. Rangers caught up with the subject who continued to descend. The hiker was evaluated, escorted to the trailhead, and advised Rangers that he would seek medical follow up on his own.
Town of Elizabethtown
Rescue: On July 19, at approximately 5:45p.m., DEC Ray Brook dispatch received a call from Essex County 911 requesting assistance for a 25-year-old female who sustained a fracture to her leg while swimming in Split Rock Swimming Area. Elizabethtown EMS, Elizabethtown Fire Department, and Keene Valley Back Country Rescue were also called to the scene. Rangers utilized a technical rope system to set up a steep angle raise to extract the subject. The subject was then taken via ambulance to a nearby landing zone and flown by Life Net to Burlington, Vermont, for further medical attention.
Town of North Elba
Rescue: On July 19, at 7:08 p.m., DEC Ray Brook dispatch received a call from a hiker on the trail to Mount Marcy who stated he had located a 51-year-old female hiker suffering from heat exhaustion. The caller walked approximately one mile to Marcy Dam where he was able to get cell phone service. Dispatch directed the caller to assist the subject to the Marcy Dam Outpost. Two Forest Rangers responded via UTV and located the subject. One Ranger assessed the subject and administered first aid. Following rehydration, the subject reported feeling better and decided to continue her camping trip. The Ranger informed her that if further assistance was needed she should contact Ray Brook using the radio at Marcy Dam Outpost.
Town of Ticonderoga
Recovery: On July 21, at 6:21 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Essex County 911 requesting Forest Ranger assistance in locating a 60-year-old male from Patchogue, who had overturned his paddleboard on Lake George and not resurfaced. Two Rangers responded to Baldwin Road in Ticonderoga to assist in the search. Several additional agencies and a dive team were on scene with boats looking for the subject, along with local fire department personnel and DEC Environmental Conservation Officers. Agencies searched well into the night before being suspended with plans to resume the following morning.
On July 22, at 7:20 a.m., the subject was located deceased and submerged roughly 300 feet off shore in eight to 10 feet of water. The Warren County Dive Team extracted the body with assistance from the Lake George Park Commission and Forest Rangers. The body was brought to shore and turned over to the Essex County Coroner at 9:10 a.m. The Ticonderoga Police Department is handling the investigation.
Town of Fort Ann
Search: On July 18, at 7:39 p.m., DEC Ray Brook dispatch received a transferred call from Warren County 911. The caller stated he was lost on what he believed to be Buck Mountain in Fort Ann. After getting coordinates and interviewing the subject, it was determined that he was actually on the west side of Pilot Knob. Two rangers responded to the trailhead and began bushwhacking to the subject. The ill- prepared subject did not have a flashlight, map, compass, or warm clothes. The Rangers located the subject and rehydrated him. The subject was then assisted back to the trailhead.
Town of Dresden
Rescue: On July 21, at 10:00 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance for a group eight hikers from Parlin, NJ. The group was having difficulty descending Black Mountain. The subjects were on the trail but had no water, inadequate lighting, and were suffering from dehydration. Two members of the group hiked out to the road to get assistance for the others, and returned with supplies. One additional hiker contacted Ray Brook for assistance. A Forest Ranger responded, arriving on scene at 11:00 p.m., and met the reporting party after hiking 1.5 miles up Black Mountain. After rehydration of the subjects and providing lights for the individuals, the Ranger walked the group back to the trailhead. One subject was severely dehydrated with muscle cramps in her feet and legs, but declined medical attention. At the trailhead, the subjects declined further medical attention. The incident concluded at 12:12 a.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.