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
Wilderness Search: On Oct. 11 at 9:09 pm, Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance from two hikers, 25 and 26 years old from Buffalo, who became disoriented while descending the Great Range. Coordinates provided by the subjects placed them slightly off the trail. Ranger Robbi Mecus was dispatched to search for the subjects and arrived on scene at 10:30 pm. Ray Brook reestablished contact with the subjects and transferred the call to Ranger Mecus, who advised the pair to head in a direction for 15 minutes to locate the trail. This attempt was unsuccessful. Ranger Mecus then advised the hikers to head in the direction of Deer Brook. Once they reached Deer Brook, the pair followed it down to the falls. Ranger Mecus located the subjects at 11:56 pm, and escorted them out to the trailhead to her Ranger patrol vehicle. The subjects were given a courtesy ride back to their vehicle and the incident concluded at 12:45 am.
Town of Wilmington
Wilderness Mountain Rescue: On Oct. 13 at 12:23 pm, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Essex County 911 reporting a 20-year-old woman who had fallen while climbing Esther Mountain. She proceeded ahead of her group and was later found shortly after, unconscious from hitting her head on a nearby rock. The hiking group was about a half-mile up the trail from the parking lot at the Atmospheric Science Research Center in the Wilmington Wild Forest. Under the direction of Lt. Gary Friedrich, Rangers Robert Praczkajlo and Kevin Burns responded to the trailhead. At 1:15 pm, Rangers Praczkajlo and Burns and the Wilmington EMS were preparing to carry the subject back to the waiting ambulance. At 1:45 pm, the hiker was at the ambulance and en route to the local hospital for additional medical attention.
Town of Waverly
Wilderness Search: On Oct. 10 at 10:47 am, New York State Police in Plattsburgh requested Forest Ranger assistance for a missing 80-year-old man from Ogdensburg. The man was initially reported missing from his camp situated near the Santa Clara Conservation Easement. At 4:25 pm, the man was located in good health by Rangers David Russell and Peter Evans. The Rangers had followed his tracks for approximately one-half mile from his camp before making voice contact. At 5:49 pm, the man was turned over to St. Regis Falls EMS for transport to Canton-Potsdam Hospital for evaluation. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents also aided in the search.
Town of Webb
Wilderness Mountain Rescue: At 1:15 pm on Oct. 10, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch was contacted by a hiking group leader on Bald Mountain concerning a 73-year-old female from Apache, AZ, who fell near the summit, injuring her ankle. Five Rangers from Region 6 and two Rangers from Region 5 responded along with volunteers from the Old Forge Fire Department. Rangers reached the woman at 2:10 pm. After treatment, she was packaged into a litter and prepared for a carry out. As the trail was muddy and slippery, low angel rope rescue techniques were used at five different locations along the trail. The rescue team arrived at the trailhead at 3:30 pm, and the woman was transferred to Old Forge EMS and transported to St. Luke’s in Utica for treatment. The incident concluded at 4:30 pm.
Town of Diana
Wilderness Search: On Oct. 13 at 4:24 pm, Ranger Peter Evans was called by Lewis County 911 requesting assistance with locating a disoriented 51-year-old hunter from Harrisville. The hunter had started his day off of Route 812 when he realized he had become disoriented. He called for assistance, and the coordinates obtained by Lewis County 911 placed him about half a mile off Route 3. Under the direction of Lt. Scott Murphy, Rangers Luke Evans and Brandon Poulton were assigned to assist with the search. At 5:22 pm, Rangers located the man and guided him to Route 3 where he got a ride back to his vehicle.
Town of Fort Ann
Wilderness Search: On Oct. 13 at 6:48 pm, a call came into Ray Brook Dispatch through Washington County 911 reporting two hikers in their 20s stranded off trail on Buck Mountain. The pair started their hike from Pilot Knob and on the descent found themselves in unfamiliar territory without headlamps and darkness setting in. The hikers were roughly three-quarters of the way up the mountain from the Pilot Knob Trailhead and were losing cell phone battery power. Under the authority of Lt. Jaime Laczko, Rangers Anthony Goetke and Mark St. Claire responded to the trailhead to assist the hikers off the mountain. At 10:26 pm, Rangers found the men in good health and started the long hike back to their vehicle. At 12:06 am, everyone was back to the trailhead and en route to their residences.
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.