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 Keene
Search: On Dec. 28 at 8 pm, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a radio call from the Adirondack Mountain Club’s John’s Brook Lodge outpost concerning a 57-year-old male from Brooklyn who was having issues with his feet. The subject had hiked Little Haystack Mountain and when he returned to Camp Peggy O’Brian at John’s Brook Lodge, he noticed discoloration in some of his toes. Basic first aid was administered for cold exposure by John’s Brook staff. Based on observations and weather conditions, Rangers determined it was necessary for the subject to spend the night in the heated cabin. On Dec. 29 at 7:58 am, Forest Rangers planned a rescue to retrieve the subject so he could receive medical attention. First aid was continued by John’s Brook Lodge staff as instructed by a Forest Ranger, and Rangers drove utility task vehicles (UTVs) to John’s Brook Lodge and walked to the subject. The subject was evaluated, packaged in a rescue sled, and transported downhill to the UTV. The subject was then transported to the trailhead and transferred to a Keene Valley Ambulance at 2:45 pm.
Town of Keene
Helicopter Rescue: On Jan. 14 at 4 pm, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a man snowboarding with a friend on Mount Marcy. While snowboarding, a 32-year-old Staten Island man sustained a puncture injury to his mouth from a stick, resulting in serious bleeding. As nightfall approached, Forest Rangers Jim Giglinto and Kevin Burns responded in a State Police helicopter. Both snowboarders made their way to a large clearing where Ranger Giglinto was lowered and the injured man was hoisted into the helicopter. The subject was flown to the Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake for treatment. Giglinto then assisted the uninjured man back to the Adirondack Loj trailhead by 8:30 pm.
Village of Malone and Town of Covington
Ice Jam Flooding: Recent unseasonably high temperatures caused rapid snow melt resulting in rising water and ice jams along the Salmon River. On Jan. 12, the village of Malone Mayor declared a State of Emergency due to flooding of roads and homes. Forest Rangers responded with one airboat and staged at the Franklin County 911 building. Rangers spent the morning monitoring an ice jam at the Willow Street Bridge and flooding along Patnode and Lafayette streets. Rangers also assisted Franklin County Emergency Services with evacuation planning. At approximately 1:30 pm, the ice jam near the Willow Street Bridge broke, allowing flood waters to recede. In addition, the Fort Covington Town Supervisor declared a State of Emergency for flooding along the Salmon River. On Jan. 13, Rangers deployed their airboat and used cold weather suits to support fire departments conducting welfare checks. Over the course of the morning, Franklin County evacuated 29 residents and four dogs. The Salmon River was monitored for the next several days for new ice jams.
Town of Speculator
Airboat Rescue: On Jan. 14 at 11:15 am, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department asked Forest Rangers to assist with evacuating two stranded snowmobilers on a Speculator Tree Farm easement trail. One subject became stranded after attempting to ride a trail next to the flooded Sacandaga River. Due to the hazards of this location, Rangers deployed their airboat with two Rangers, a State Trooper, one Sheriff’s Deputy, and members of the D.R.A.G Snowmobile Club. The airboat was unable to get close enough to the 51-year-old East Northport man, but was able to transport him and his snowmobile back to the boat. The second snowmobiler on another portion of the trail had self-rescued, leaving his snowmobile partially submerged. Rangers used the airboat to retrieve the snowmobile and return it the operator by 1:50 pm.
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.