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 Jay
Rescue: DEC Dispatch received a call on Jan. 15 at 7:58 pm, requesting assistance to locate a group of overdue hikers on Nun-da-ga-o Ridge near Lost Pond. Two Forest Rangers responded and located the subject’s vehicle at the Lost Pond trailhead. The Rangers located the subjects at 10:42 pm, in good condition near the upper trailhead. Rangers assisted the group back to their vehicles, and the incident concluded at 11 pm.
Town of Elizabethtown
Rescue: On Jan. 27 at 3:55 pm, Forest Rangers were requested to respond to a rescue call on Giant Mountain. A 20-year-old female hiker had sustained an ankle injury while hiking down the Ridge Trail, about a mile and a half from the trailhead. The recent warm weather followed by freezing temperatures caused the trails in the Giant Mountain Wilderness to become icy and difficult to navigate. Forest Ranger Robbie Mecus was dispatched to the scene to evaluate the injury. After assessing the subject, it was determined that the injury could not sustain any weight, requiring her to be carried out in a litter. Six additional Forest Rangers were dispatched to the trail to assist with the carry-out. Keene Valley Ambulance was requested to assist with medical treatment at the trailhead. By 8:55 pm, all subjects and personnel were back to the trailhead. The subject was transported by ambulance to the Elizabethtown Hospital for further medical treatment.
Town of Thurman
Rescue: On Jan. 27 at 5:10 pm, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch was notified by State Police in Warren County about hikers that required help on Crane Mountain. The 27-year-old female caller had sustained a shoulder injury while descending Crane Mountain via the Crane Mountain Pond Trail. The hiking party attempted to continue, but the shoulder injury did not allow the injured hiker to support herself on the steep and icy terrain. The subjects attempted to navigate down the mountain off the icy trail, but became stuck upon reaching an area of steep cliffs a little more than a mile from the trailhead. Coordinates from their phone helped Forest Rangers locate the subjects, where it was determined high angle rope rescue systems would be required to lower the injured hiker safely down from the cliffs. Four Forest Rangers were dispatched as freezing rain coated roadways and hampered response efforts. By 12:40 am, both subjects had been lowered from the cliff and transported to the trailhead by snowmobile. Johnsburg EMS assessed the pair and all Forest Rangers were back in service by 4 am.
Ice-Jam Flooding: Warm temperatures during the weekend of Jan. 20 and 21, resulted in the formation of ice jams in many of New York’s rivers. Combined with melting snow and rain, the ice jams caused potential for significant flooding to areas along the Mohawk River, upper Hudson River, North Country and Southern Tier. With nearly 50 ice jams threatening communities statewide, Forest Rangers staged crews across the state in order to provide rapid response to missions in the event flooding conditions developed. Forest Ranger air boat crews were staged Monday through Wednesday at Sherburne (Cortland County), Lowville (Lewis County), Northville (Fulton County), and Northville (Warren County). In addition, Forest Rangers flew drones throughout the week to provide analysis of ice jam conditions to the State Office of Emergency Management and other state agencies monitoring conditions.
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.