Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Recent Forest Ranger Search and Rescue Missions

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 August 12 at 12:11 pm, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a man reporting that his wife had a non-weight bearing ankle injury on the side of Little Porter Mountain. The injury occurred when she and two others went off the hiking trail. Coordinates provided by Essex County 911 placed the hikers just over a half-mile from where they started their hike in Keene Valley. Forest Rangers Robbi Mecus, Kevin Burns, James Giglinto, Thomas Gliddi, David Russel, Benjamin Baldwin, Peter Evans, and James Waters responded. Forest Rangers were at the scene at 1 pm, and a request for assistance was made by Lieutenant Christopher Kostoss for New York State Police Aviation assistance. At 3:40 pm, Forest Rangers performed a hoist operation using a harness to get the 55-year-old injured hiker from Fairfax, Virginia, into the helicopter. She was then brought to a local hospital for treatment. All Forest Rangers were clear of the scene at 4:40 pm.

Franklin County

Town of Harrietstown
Wilderness Rescue: On August 17 at 8:41 am, Franklin County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch advising of a 64-year-old female hiker from Tupper Lake who fell and lacerated her head while descending Ampersand Mountain. The hiker advised that she would continue descending the mountain but requested Rangers meet her on the trail. Forest Rangers Robert Zurek and Peter Evans responded to assist. Forest Rangers located the hiker at 9:39 am and administered first aid to her head laceration. The subject was escorted out to the trailhead where she advised she would seek medical attention on her own at a local hospital. The incident concluded at 10:15 am.

Washington County

Town of Fort Ann
Wilderness Rescue: On August 18 at 8:44 pm, Washington County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch for a couple on Shelving Rock Mountain unable to make it back down the mountain due to darkness. Dispatch advised the pair not to use the light function on their phone in order to conserve their already low battery power. With the coordinates provided by Washington County 911, Dispatch placed the two hikers near the summit of Shelving Rock. Forest Ranger Evan Donegan responded to assist the hikers and made contact with the couple at 11:41 pm, at which point he supplied them with lights and assisted them back down to the trailhead. The party made it back to the trailhead by 12:32 am, at which point Forest Ranger Donegan was cleared from the scene.

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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9 Responses

  1. AdkAck81 says:

    flashlights? amazing how well they work

    Lets get prepared people.

    • Boreas says:

      Cell phones also have accurate clocks, but they don’t tell you when to turn around and head out. Before there were flashlights, people who were benighted often spent a night in the woods (using their safety gear and food), then walked out in daylight. But cell phone coverage seems to have brought an end to that. At least no one spent a cold night in the woods.

      • Balian the Cat says:

        The two occasions where I had to spend unplanned nights in the woods taught me more about myself and the nature of my recreational proclivities than the hundreds of occasions where things have gone as planned. Of course, I had to be inconvenienced/uncomfortable for more than 3 seconds…

        • Boreas says:


          You touch on a good point. I often wonder about hikers that ring for assistance and then receive it. Assuming they continue hiking, do they actively engage in acquiring much more knowledge about all aspects of hiking, or just learn to carry a flashlight or correct what they did incorrectly before? In other words, does the experience spur them to become more knowledgeable hikers overall, or do they only learn the one lesson? I wonder if DEC ever tabulates any data to see if there are repeat callers?

          • John Warren says:

            You’re assuming that people who need assistance are inexperienced. They often times are not. The only case of someone that I’m aware of calling for help twice, was an experienced person.

  2. Sandor says: sounds like benighted was an honor? Alas poor yorick.: your backpack is empty dear sir, shall we call the king? Indeed my serf I am out of ale!

    • Boreas says:

      King: You only killed the bride’s father, you know.
      Sir Lancelot: Well, I didn’t mean to.
      King: Didn’t mean to? You put your sword right through his head.
      Sir Lancelot: Oh dear… is he all right?

  3. Joel Marcellus says:

    What in heck is the matter with these guys who choose to ignore warning signs on the trails? Seems like they don’t think the laws apply to them too!

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