Thursday, June 20, 2019

Recent Adirondack Forest Ranger Reports

forest ranger logoNew 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 Newcomb
Wilderness Rescue: On June 15 at 10:30 pm, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch was notified of two hikers separated from their group and overdue returning to the trailhead from the summit of Santanoni in the Western High Peaks Wilderness area. The missing New York City hikers were last seen on the Santanoni summit at 5:30 pm. Two members of the party had returned to their vehicle at the Upper Works trailhead at 8:15 p.m. and waited two hours for their return before traveling approximately 30 minutes to reach cell service to report the others were overdue. One person received a text message advising that the missing 38-year-old male and 41-year-old female hikers had gotten lost and returned to the summit. Forest Ranger Charles Kabrehl met the reporting party at 12:18 am, along with New York State Police, to assist at the trailhead to monitor if the missing hikers came out. Lt. Brian Dubay responded to cover the Bradley Pond loop while Forest Ranger Kabrehl went to the Santanoni summit, reaching the summit at 4:12 am, with negative results. Forest Ranger Evan Donegan arrived at the trailhead at 4:30 a.m., to establish communications with parties in the field. The hikers were located at 7:44 am, by Forest Ranger Donegan in good health approximately 1.5 miles from the trailhead. The pair were walked back to the trailhead and transported to Marcy Field to meet the rest of their party by 9:36 am.

Franklin County

Village of Tupper Lake
Wilderness Rescue: On June 15 at 1:24 am, Central Dispatch received a call from Tupper Lake Police requesting assistance in locating a 62-year-old male last seen at his residence on June 12. The man is an avid nature walker and known to walk the Deer Pond Trail. New York State Police located his vehicle at the Deer Pond Trailhead and requested assistance. Forest Rangers arrived at 2:15 am and searched the areas around Deer Pond throughout the night with negative results. At 6:51 am, the man was located a half-mile east of Deer Pond, dehydrated and malnourished. Forest Rangers escorted the subject to a location where he was then transported by 4×4 to the trailhead. He was turned over to Tupper Lake Rescue Squad for treatment, and the incident concluded by 1:25 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.

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10 Responses

  1. Suzanne says:

    Years ago I was hiking with a bunch of kids led by Jimmy Goodwin. We were planning on Panther and Santanoni, which was going to be my 46! It was cloudy and foggy that day, and we couldn’t see a thing until Bradley Pond emerged from the mist and we realised that we were back on Panther. Jimmy’s compass had led us astray because of the magnetic rocks. Since it was too late by then to go on to Santononi, we went back to the trailhead. I was disappointed, but the following summer, on my 18th birthday, I returned with two friends and Jimmy’s directions, and finished the 46. We didn’t need to bug the Rangers for help–indeed, lacking cellphones, we were on our own and enjoyed the adventure.

    • scott van Laer says:

      Thank you for sharing that. Great story!

      • Suzanne says:

        Thanks, Scott! As an aspiring 46er starting at age 13, I had many adventures and funny stories. My parents never worried about me being off in the woods for a few days, but assumed I was capable of taking care of myself, emerging bug-bitten, bloody and bruised, but happy. At 73, I’m still alive and only slightly the worse for wear.

      • Vanessa says:

        By the way, the following isn’t relevant to this topic but I’ve never seen you post here before Scott. I follow and really like your twitter feed! Especially the mountain photos 🙂

        Hope you’re able to successfully leverage social media to get NYS govt to hire more rangers for your team. Thanks for working so hard in a place so important to many! Cheers!

    • Vanessa says:

      I agree, great story. 🙂 Let’s keep in mind however that not everyone will have had the opportunity to gain enough experience to be able to navigate well in suboptimal conditions. My parents had nothing to teach me in this respect, for example.

      I grant that Santonini probably isn’t the peak you want to start at if or when you’re still learning. But my point is that stuff happens, and while we absolutely should be educating people as much as possible, it isn’t a competition where only the most informed folks are allowed to or are valued when they go into the woods.

      • Suzanne says:

        Stuff certainly does happen, even to the most experienced among us — that was the point of my story. If Jimmy Goodwin, the greatest Adirondack guide of our time, could get confused, then anyone can. I certainly got into plenty of scrapes, a few scares, and made some dumb decicisions, but lacking cell service had to figure out how to get back. These days people seem quick to call the Rangers for assistance. If someone breaks a leg, then of course they need help. Otherwise, a calm assessment of the situation (and proper supplies) would help. One doesn’t need to be Einstein to figure out that taking along a map, rain gear, extra food and a flashlight are a good idea. Anyone who can’t figure that out (like those kids who decided it would be cool — and it sure was — to climb Cascade in shorts and sneakers in the snow) should educate themselves a little bit.

        • Vanessa says:

          I want to take a sec here to say I understand where you’re coming from 100% – it’s a bummer and a burden that resources be wasted due to basic mistakes. I am 110% in the “more rangers” camp to help with education. I also joined the ADK club partially in specific because I want to help fund their educational programs – their summit stewards pop right to mind.

          On the flip side though, I do find the experienced hiking community to be a bit intimidating, and I’ve been frequently hiking for several years now. I did my first trip up Cascade (in February) because I had a crush on the boy running the trip – I hadn’t even ever worn snow shoes. I was a disaster and it was only for pride that I didn’t turn my underprepared tushie around a half mile in.

          We didn’t need help on that trip, but if we had made the ranger blotter it would have been accompanied by many tsk-tsks, I suspect.

          Flash forward 12 years and I’ve learned a TON through supportive friends and more experienced people. I really want everyone to have that same support.

          • Suzanne says:

            Thanks, Vanessa. It sounds as if after 12 years you might consider yourself an experienced hiker. I’ve certainly never climbed Cascade in snowshoes–I used to snowshoe up the long road to our barn to take care of my horses, and that was enough snowshoeing for me (especially since I had the ancient wood and rawhide snowshoes that Baddy Beede gave to my Father–boy, those things were a drag.)

            There’s plenty of support and information available to novice hikers, if they would just do a little research. I agree with you that people who think they know it all can be snarky. Don’t be intimidated.

          • Boreas says:


            I don’t feel the fault was entirely yours on your snowshoe experience. Anyone “leading” any trip needs to be familiar with the capabilities and preparedness of the people he/she is leading. Leaders need to be responsible for the people they are leading – realize if someone is having trouble and modify the trip accordingly.

            • Suzanne says:

              Ain’t that the truth! If you have followed the recent Everest expeditions, there’s a perfect example of poor leadership.

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