Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Forest Rangers Last Week: Rescues, Search, Fires

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.

Essex County

Town of Keene
Wildland Rescue: At 12:55 pm on Aug. 6, a call came in to Ray Brook Dispatch from hikers on Basin Mountain reporting a 60-year-old female hiker from Binghamton was suffering from low blood sugar. Forest Ranger Robbi Mecus was put in direct contact with the subjects. Johns Brook Outpost caretaker Katie Tyler headed up the trail to meet the subjects. By 8 pm, the subjects reached Slant Rock exhausted. Due to the late hour and long distance to Johns Brook Outpost, the hikers, caretaker Tyler, and Forest Rangers Jacob Deslauriers and Jamison Martin spent the evening at the Slant Rock lean-to with plans to exit the High Peaks Wilderness in the morning. At around 6:20 am on Aug. 7, the female hiker’s condition deteriorated. State Police Aviation was requested to hoist the hiker from the Johns Brook Outposts area. During a window of clear weather with incoming storms, aviation responded with a Forest Ranger hoist operator and extracted the hikers and landed in Marcy Field, where they were turned over to Keene Valley EMS personnel around 9:10 am.

Town of Keene
Wildland Rescue: At 12:10 pm on Aug. 11, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Essex County 911 advising that a 38-year-old male subject from Providence, R.I., had fallen from Pitch Off Mountain while rock climbing. Three Forest Rangers were dispatched to the access of Pitch Off through Lower Cascade Lake. Rangers arrived on scene at 12:28 pm with Back Country Rescue and local fire and rescue personnel. By 12:45 pm, Forest Rangers and EMS personnel had reached the fallen climber and assessed his injuries. The subject was secured to a back board and lowered using rope rescue techniques. He was delivered to an awaiting ambulance at 1:40 pm and transported to Elizabethtown Community Hospital. He was later airlifted to Burlington, V.T., for additional care. The incident concluded at 2:30 pm.

Town of North Elba
Wildland Rescue: At 4:32 pm on Aug. 6, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a radio call for assistance reporting an 18-year-old male hiker from Lake Orion, Michigan, on the summit of Algonquin Peak was suffering from the effects of dehydration and heat exhaustion. Forest Rangers Robbi Mecus and James Giglinto responded. When the Rangers reached the man, whose condition had not improved, Ranger Giglinto made the decision to use New York State Police Aviation to extract the subject from the rocky summit in the High Peaks Wilderness. By 6:30 pm, the subject was at the Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake and all personnel were clear of the scene.

Town of Johnsburg
Wildland Rescue: At 2:44 pm on Aug. 11, a call came in to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch from the Garnet Hill Lodge reporting a 46-year-old female from Plainfield, Vt., with a knee injury near the summit of Balm of Gilead Mountain in the Siamese Ponds Wilderness Area. The hiker had made a bad step while descending a rocky section of the trail and sustained the non-weight bearing injury. Five Forest Rangers and an Assistant Forest Ranger responded to the Garnet Hill Lodge to assist. Upon reaching the hiker, a medical evaluation determined that with stabilization and assistance the woman could make her way down the mountain to a staged ATV. By 7:19 pm, the hiking party and Forest Rangers were back at the Garnet Hill Lodge.

Town of Johnsburg
Wildland Search: At 7:13 pm on Aug. 12, a call came into DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch from a female hiker on the Bog Meadow Trail in Bakers Mills. The hiker had underestimated the time it would take to hike the remote trail in the Siamese Ponds Wilderness and became stranded after dark with no headlamp. Even with a GPS tracker and her phone for a light source, she did not trust her ability to get out and requested Forest Ranger assistance to get back to the trailhead. Forest Rangers Arthur Perryman and Nancy Ganswindt responded to the trail to locate the hiker and walk her out of the woods. By 5:11 am, all parties were back at the trailhead in good health and clear of the scene.

Wildand Fire Activity: While many areas of New York State have received rain over the last couple weeks, areas along Western New York and the north portions of New York State remain unusually dry. Forest Rangers aggressively responded to six wildland fires this past week and contained all of them to under a half acre in size. Unextinguished and abandoned campfires resulted in four of the fire – one on Long Island on Blue Mountain Lake; one on private property in St. Lawrence County; a third on an island on Lake Colby in Essex County; and a fourth one on an island on Flood Pond in the St. Regis area of Franklin County. An off-road utility vehicle rolled over on the John White Wildlife Management Area in Genesee County that resulted in a small grass fire. Lightning that moved through the Adirondacks last week ignited a small fire on conservation easement land in Essex County, which was eventually extinguished.

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.

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