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 Aug. 19 at 3:50 pm, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a radio transmission from Assistant Forest Ranger Jonathan Leff stating he had received a report of a 70-year-old male hiker who suffered an ankle injury on a trail in the MacIntyre Range. At 4:23 pm, Ranger Leff located the injured man from New Rochelle at the Whales Tail Junction. Meanwhile, Forest Rangers James Giglinto, Daniel Fox, Kevin Burns, and Scott Sabo started up the trail to assist. The Forest Rangers carried the man by litter down to a six-wheeler, which was used to drive the subject out to the trailhead. Once back at the trailhead, the injured hiker opted to seek medical treatment on his own and all Forest Rangers were cleared of the scene by 7 pm.
Town of Jay
Wilderness Search: On Aug. 21 at 6:15 pm, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from New York State Police requesting assistance searching for a missing 77-year-old woman from the town of Jay. The woman’s husband believed she left the house between 1 and 5 pm Forest Ranger Dan Fox responded and was on scene at 7:03 pm. After consulting with on-scene resources, four additional Forest Rangers were dispatched to assist with a search of the immediate area, which included trails, roads, residences, and outbuildings. Forest Rangers were assisted by State Police Troopers and their K-9 units, State Police Aviation, Clinton and Essex County Sheriff’s Departments, DEC’s Division of Law Enforcement, friends, and family. Search operations continued into the night, and plans were made for the following day, including identifying necessary resources. On Aug. 22 at 7 am, the woman was located in a nearby overgrown field in need of medical assistance. Forest Rangers, State Police, and members of local fire departments carried the woman out to a waiting ambulance to be transported to a local hospital for treatment. The incident concluded at 9 am.
Town of Keene
Wilderness Rescue: On Aug. 24 at 3:25 pm, Franklin County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch from a man on the Van Hoevenberg trail on Mount Marcy reporting a member of his hiking party had a non-weight bearing ankle injury. The man stated that on the hiking group’s way down from the summit, a 27-year-old Oswego woman twisted her ankle could not continue. Upon receiving this information, Lt. Christopher Kostoss requested assistance from State Police Aviation and asked for Forest Rangers Daniel Fox and Robbi Mecus to meet State Police at the Lake Placid Airport. Using coordinates obtained through Franklin County 911, Dispatch placed the group’s location approximately one mile down the trail from the summit of Mount Marcy. At 4:41 pm, Forest Ranger Mecus was lowered down to the hiker to evaluate the injury. The woman was loaded in a harness to be picked up by the helicopter for transfer to a local hospital.
Town of Wells
Wilderness Rescue: On Aug. 20 at 11:57 am, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance from Hamilton County 911 for a 38-year-old female hiker from Gloversville who was injured while hiking Auger Falls. Passing hikers reported the woman was injured and that she required assistance for an unstable lower leg injury. Forest Rangers David Kallen and Andrew Lewis responded to assist and were on scene by 12:30 pm. When the hiker was located, she was with fire department personnel and her leg had been stabilized by EMS. A vertical technical rope rescue was set up to haul her up to a ledge. Once the woman was up on the ledge, she was carried to the trailhead by Forest Rangers and emergency personnel. The hiker was loaded into a waiting ambulance at 2:45 pm and transported to a local hospital for treatment. The incident concluded at 3:15 pm.
Town of Fort Ann
Wilderness Rescue: On Aug. 24 at 1:31 pm, Washington County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch from a 39-year-old male hiker lost on Pilot Knob Mountain with his eight-year-old son and the son’s nine-year-old friend. The hikers from Ballston Spa were looking for a plane wreck on the side of the peak when they became disoriented along the maze of old roads and herd paths near Inman Pond. Coordinates placed the group just below the summit, where they were requested to remain in place until Forest Rangers arrived. Forest Rangers Michael Bodnar and Nancy Ganswindt responded and located the lost hikers at 3:45 pm. Forest Rangers guided the group to the trailhead and were cleared of the Lake George Wild Forest at 4:50 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.