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 and Rescue: On Feb. 3 at 12:08 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Essex County 911. The caller stated his hiking partner sustained a leg injury after falling approximately 10 feet off an icy cliff while hiking Saddleback Mountain. The subject was unable to bear weight on the injured leg. The two hikers were able to move slowly toward Basin Mountain. State Police Aviation was not available due to high winds, snow, and cloud cover. Rangers responded by foot into the wilderness, establishing a communications relay point and a base camp. The subjects were located at about 4:45 a.m. on Feb. 4, and Rangers provided shelter and food and stabilized the injury. Additional crews entered the wilderness and transported technical rope gear to lower the subject and his companion to a safer location and prepared to carry the injured subject out. Thirty-four Forest Rangers and 12 volunteers worked through the winter storm on Sunday in rugged mountainous terrain to complete the rescue. Keene Valley Volunteer Fire and EMS units and volunteer climbing guides assisted in the rescue. The subject was transferred to an ambulance and transported to a local hospital at 1 a.m. on Feb. 5.
Towns of North Elba/Keene
Rescue: On Feb. 4 at 2:22 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a United States Army Medic regarding a 58-year-old male with an unstable lower leg injury on the Cascade/Porter trail. The subject fell, hit a tree with his leg, and heard something snap. The medic, who was on the trail that day, splinted the man’s lower leg and advised Forest Rangers the subjects would begin making their way to the trailhead. Regional Forest Ranger Capt. John Streiff and Forest Ranger Peter Evans responded from the Saddleback/Basin incident command post and found the subject 0.4 miles from the trailhead. Rangers re-evaluated and re-splinted the injury and assisted the subject to the trailhead. The injured hiker stated he would seek further medical care on his own.
Town of Webb
Rescue: On Feb. 3 at 5 p.m., Forest Rangers were notified of a snowmobile accident in Webb. A snowmobile had rolled over into a creek, and the operator had sustained chest and abdominal injuries. Rangers assessed the subject and provided wilderness first aid care. Town of Webb EMS responded and transferred the subject to Mercy Flight. The subject was airlifted to Albany Medical Center for further care.
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.