Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Forest Ranger Missions Help The Lost, Unprepared

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 Keene
Wilderness Rescue: On Aug. 6 at 9:42 pm, Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch reporting a woman on Porter Mountain in need of assistance. The caller explained that she had decided to go for a short hike up Porter and began descending down the opposite side once she reached the summit. The subject traveled down the trail until she came to a sign that reported the trail to the Garden parking lot was closed. At that point, she turned around and began to head back the way she came until it was dark. Through coordinates provided by Essex County 911, Dispatch determined that the woman was close to the summit and relatively close to the trail. Forest Ranger Robert Praczkajlo responded to assist. Forest Ranger Praczkajlo made contact with the hiker at 11:51 pm, and supplied her with a light. They proceeded back down to the trailhead and reached it by 1:30 am.

Hamilton County

Town of Indian Lake
Wilderness Rescue: On Aug. 5 at 3:30 pm, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a subject who had located a hiker down on the middle of the Northville Placid Trail, close to Cedar Lake Lean-to #1. The 64-year-old male hiker from Sunderland, Mass., was disoriented and could not walk. The passerby gave the man water to drink and he began to feel well enough to walk. Other hikers carried the man’s gear to the lean-to. Forest Ranger Jenifer Temple was flown in by Helms Aviation via float plane to retrieve the hiker. Forest Ranger Temple located the subject, who was able to walk out to the plane’s location. The Ranger and the hiker were flown to Long Lake, where Long Lake Rescue transported the hiker to a local hospital for medical treatment. The incident concluded at 8 pm.

Franklin County

Town of Santa Clara
Wilderness Rescue: On Aug. 5 at 11:25 pm, Franklin County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch reporting an overdue trail runner on the Deer Pond Trails. The 19-year-old runner from Mexico runs on trails daily but was unfamiliar with this particular trail system. The subject entered the trail at 7:30 pm, wearing running shorts and shoes, navigating with his cell phone, which was going directly to voicemail after 10 pm, indicating the phone had lost power. Forest Rangers David Russell, Robert Zurek, and James Waters responded. Voice contact was made with the missing runner at 1:40 am, and he was located at 2:17 am in good health. All units were out of the woods with the runner by 3:34 am.

Town of Harrietstown
Wilderness Rescue: On Aug. 10 at 3:15 am, DEC’s Central Dispatch received a call from a subject on Middle Saranac Lake reporting a missing camper. The caller woke up at 2:30 am, and could not find his friend, although their canoe was still at the campsite. Forest Rangers Kevin Burns, Robert Zurek, and Lt. Julie Harjung joined DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officer (ECO) Nathan Favreau and responded with vessels to the island campsite. The 37-year-old camper from Saranac Lake was located by Forest Ranger Zurek at 6 am on the outlet. The missing camper had gone to look for firewood when his flashlight died and could not navigate back to the site in the dark. All units were off the water by 7:33 am.

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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One Response

  1. Bill Ott says:

    To “Lost and Unprepared”, I think “unlucky” should be added. Even the most prepared woodsman can be unlucky. I am not nearly qualified to call myself the most prepared backwoodsman, but I have certainly been unlucky. Many times I have been out of human contact for up to a week, done something dumb, and then looked around to make sure nobody saw me. Every time I read one of these posts and think “how could someone be so unprepared” (say stupid if you like), I think back to the times where but for the grace of god there go I. I remember Don Crane’s story of being caught in a blow-down. That is the ultimate story of a guy who was prepared but unlucky. To conclude, reading these rescue posts makes me more afraid of reading about myself here then actually “getting Lost”. These posts have made me clean up my act.