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 Oct. 21 at 12:32 pm, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a Forest Ranger about an injured man near Scott’s Clearing in the High Peaks Wilderness Area. Three Rangers responded with NYSP Aviation. Two Rangers were inserted by helicopter at Scott’s Clearing. The Rangers hiked down to the subject, evaluated him, and stabilized his injuries. The subject was then assisted uphill and hoisted into the helicopter. By 3:28 pm, the hiker was transported to Adirondack Medical Center-Lake Placid via helicopter for further medical care.
Town of Keene
Search: On Oct. 21 at 7:41 pm, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Essex County 911 regarding four women lost near Giant Washbowl along the Roaring Brook Falls trail in the Giant Mountain Wilderness Area. The women stated they had become separated from two of their friends. Essex County provided cell phone coordinates that placed the subjects on the trail. Ray Brook Dispatch contacted the two friends and found that they were safe and out of the woods. A Forest Ranger responded and made voice contact with the lost group at 9:20 pm. The Ranger led the group back to the trailhead, where they were reunited with the remaining members of the hiking party. The incident concluded at 10:51 pm.
Town of Wilmington
Rescue: On Oct. 28 at 12:26 pm, Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Essex County 911 requesting Forest Ranger assistance for a 50-year-old male with a severe lower leg injury. The subject described himself to be three-quarters of a mile from the Hardy Road Trailhead in Wilmington. Three Forest Rangers with an ATV responded to the Hardy Road Trailhead, along with Wilmington Fire and Rescue personnel, and met up with one of the reporting party members. Rangers and rescue squad personnel reached the subject at 1 pm and administered basic first aid. The subject was transported by ATV to the trailhead, transferred to a Wilmington Ambulance, and then transported to Adirondack Medical Center in Lake Placid for treatment.
Town of Keene
Search: On Oct. 28 at 5:12 pm DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a hiker at the Adirondack Loj who had become separated from his father while hiking Rocky Falls in the High Peaks Wilderness. Three Forest Rangers responded to begin a search for the 64-year-old hiker. During the hike to the Rocky Falls lean-to, the subject slipped and got both feet wet while crossing Indian Pass Brook and decided to head back out early on his own. After re-crossing Indian Pass Brook, he made a wrong turn and started following the herd path along the south side of the brook rather than the marked foot trail back to the Adirondack Loj, where they were camping. The father continued toward Street and Nye Mountains, and decided to wait there for rescue. At 7:56 pm, a Forest Ranger located the subject in good condition and escorted him back to the trailhead to be reunited with his son.
Town of Harrietstown
Search: On Oct. 20 at 8:39 am, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a request from New York State Police to locate a 66-year-old man from Keeseville who was three days overdue from hunting in the Western High Peaks Wilderness Area. The hunter was last seen on Oct. 17, in the morning hours at a campsite off Coreys Road in the town of Harrietstown. Forest Rangers responded, interviewed the reporting party, and began an immediate search of the area the hunter was known to frequent during the day. Plans were developed for additional search tactics. Volunteers from Search and Rescue of the Northern Adirondacks (SARNAK) and the NYS Federation of Search and Rescue assisted in the search. NYSP Aviation conducted additional infrared flights after dark. Containment and listening post search tactics were used overnight. On Oct. 21, shortly before 8 am, the hunter was located near a trail on the west side of Ampersand Brook by one of the search crews and SARNAK volunteers. He was cold, hungry and had been lost since Oct. 17. He walked back to the Command Post where he was evaluated by the Tupper Lake Rescue Squad and interviewed by Rangers. The incident concluded at 10:30 am.
Town of Indian Lake
Search: On Oct. 21 at 12:53 pm, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a request to locate a 20-year-old man from Indian Lake who had become separated from his hunting party. The hunter was last seen at 9 am. The group was hunting the outlying areas along the Northville Placid Trail. Forest Rangers arrived in the general area at 1:15 pm, and initiated a search. At 2:40 pm, voice contact was made with the subject. He was located shortly after in good condition, escorted to the trailhead, and reunited with members of his hunting party. The incident concluded at 4 pm.
Town of Morehouse
Search: On Oct. 28 at 6:25 pm DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Hamilton County 911 requesting Forest Ranger assistance in regards to a missing hunter in Hoffmeister, town of Morehouse, off Alderbend Road. The 30-year-old male left unprepared for an evening in the woods. Three Rangers responded and searched the area with assistance with Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) and Hamilton County Sheriff’s units until midnight with no success. Sixteen Forest Rangers responded to continue search efforts the next morning. On Oct. 29 at 7:30 am two Forest Rangers located the subject on the edge of a wetland, approximately 0.8 miles from his camp and in good health. He had sheltered for the night next to a tree after dark and slept during search efforts. He was walked back to his camp when located by Rangers and declined further care.
In related incidents outside the Adirondack Park:
Wildland Fires: During the past week, Forest Rangers responded to and extinguished a number of wildland fires caused by unattended campfires and fires resulting from debris burning. Forest Rangers want to remind the public that campfires need to be completely extinguished each night by flooding them with water, stirring completely, checking for heat, and repeating until the area of the campfire is cold. Forest Rangers caution the public that fall fires can sometimes start easily and travel rapidly in dry leaves. Recent warm weather and lack of rain has also dried the ground enough for fire to burn into the ground.
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.