The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Region 5 Forest Rangers piloted a preventative Search and Rescue initiative during the President’s Day holiday weekend in the High Peaks Wilderness.
Staff from Adirondack Mountain Club and volunteers from Keene-Keene Valley Backcountry Rescue partnered in the effort to directly interact with hikers entering the backcountry.
According to an announcement by DEC: “Statistics from Cascade Mountain show that more than 100 hikers were encountered each day on Saturday and Sunday. Approximately 40 percent were unprepared because of improper clothing or footwear.”
Forest Rangers, ADK staff, and volunteers were stationed at the Cascade Mountain Trailhead, Adirondak Loj Trailhead, the High Peaks Information Center, and on other trails in the area where they queried hikers about their destination, gear, equipment and clothing. They also provided information and displays to demonstrate the proper gear, equipment, and clothing necessary to help ensure a safe and enjoyable outdoor winter experience.
DEC press announcements have said the overall goal of this effort is to decrease the number of unprepared hikers and the number of search and rescue incidents.
Forest Rangers and other participants are expected to meet to evaluate the pilot initiative.
Photo of Forest Rangers speaking with hikers during outreach efforts provided by DEC.