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 North Elba
Wilderness Rescue: On May 17 at 5:45 pm, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance for a 33-year-old male from Saranac Lake who became separated from his party while descending Mt. Jo. When his hiking companions arrived at the trailhead, the subject was not there. The hiking party proceeded to check both the long and short trails and eventually met at Heart Lake without finding their missing friend. Two Forest Rangers arrived on scene, and while interviewing the group, the lost hiker walked in to the Adirondak Loj. The subject had veered off onto a herd path, followed a stream, and arrived at Last Chance Ranch. The caretaker at the ranch gave him a ride back to the Loj. The incident concluded at 6:35 pm.
Town of Minerva
Wilderness Rescue: On May 18 at 6:10 pm, Franklin County 911 transferred a call from a 30-year-old female hiker on Vanderwhacker Mountain. The call provided little information, but it was clear the hiker had lost the trail. The subject remained at her location overnight at the direction of Ray Brook Dispatch and began moving at first light. Several Rangers worked through the night to locate her, and additional Rangers were dispatched to the search along with NYSP Aviation in the early morning hours. The subject was located around 2:30 pm, the next day by Rangers who were able to follow her tracks down a drainage.
Town of Wilmington
Wilderness Rescue: On May 19 at 4:19 pm, Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch reporting two hikers requesting assistance. The hikers had parked at Connery Pond and walked to Lake Placid. While at Lake Placid, they spoke with an unknown individual about hiking to the summit of Whiteface, which they were told would take about 45 minutes. After climbing through the ice and snow to the summit for several hours, the couple called for a taxi to return to their vehicle, which was six miles away. They were informed the Whiteface Mountain toll road was closed. Forest Ranger Robert Praczkajlo picked up the hikers at the Whiteface summit and gave them a courtesy transport back to their vehicle by 5:50 pm.
Town of Harrietstown
Wilderness Rescue: On May 17 at 8:20 pm, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance for two individuals stranded after flipping their kayaks on Middle Saranac Lake. The reporting party helped the individuals to shore, but the Denver, Colorado, men could not navigate the trail to Ampersand Parking Lot in the dark. Forest Ranger Scott Sabo arrived on scene, located the men at 9:50 pm, and helped the subjects to the trailhead by 11 pm.
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.