Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Several 70-Year-Olds Rescued in the Adirondacks

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.

Franklin County

Town of Brighton
Wilderness Rescue: On Sept. 3 at 9:18 pm, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance in locating a 71-year-old man from Easton, Conn., overdue from hiking St. Regis Mountain. Forest Ranger Scott Sabo responded and arrived on scene at 9:40 pm, and started his search from Keese Mills access, sweeping the trail to its junction to the lake trail. From there, the Ranger searched the drainages north and south of the trail attempting to obtain voice contact. The Esker was also swept past Spectacle Pond through Camp Top Ridge back to Keese Mills Road with negative results. Suspending the search until the next day, Forest Ranger Sabo requested six additional Forest Rangers for a 5 am start at Paul Smiths-Gabriels Fire Department. On Sept. 4, the search continued, and the hiker was located at 7:30 am, by Forest Rangers in wet but good condition. The hiker said he came a third of the way down St. Regis Mountain and realized he was on a herd path and not the trail. The subject tried to navigate using his phone but ran out of battery power. With impending darkness, he decided to hunker down and spend the night and begin walking at first light. After a brief interview, he was turned over to his sister who had a waiting boat at the launch near the trailhead. The incident concluded at 9:04 am.

Hamilton County

Town of Long Lake
Wilderness Rescue: At 5:39 pm on Sept. 7, Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Ranger Megan McCone reporting an overdue kayaker on Long Lake. Ranger McCone stated that the 70-year-old woman, from The Villages, Fl., was paddling in a yellow kayak and was last seen on the northern side of Long Lake. Under the authority of Capt. John Streiff, Ranger Jim Waters drove the Ranger boat north onto Long Lake to search for the missing woman. Ranger Peter Evans, three Assistant Forest Rangers, a volunteer, and the Raquette Falls Caretaker Gary Valentine searched surrounding waterways. Per Ranger McCone’s request, a plane from Helms Aero Service was utilized to assist in the search. With darkness fast approaching and lightning storms in the area, the plane could not locate the subject and returned to the hamlet of Long Lake. An Assistant Forest Ranger eventually located the missing woman’s kayak on the Cold River. The subject had encountered two other paddlers who brought her to a nearby lean-to for shelter. She was soaking wet from having tipped over in her kayak and was suffering from hypothermia. The woman was transported in a canoe up the Raquette River to Long Lake, given a ride back to the Hamlet of Long Lake by Ranger Waters, and met by Ranger McCone and the woman’s friends. Ranger Waters then returned the next day and transported the woman’s kayak off the Cold River and returned it to the woman by Sunday afternoon.

St. Lawrence County

Town of Hopkinton
Wilderness Search: At approximately 1 pm on Sept. 7, a 69-year-old man and a 72-year-old man, both from Canton, were traveling together on the back roads of the Sylvan Falls Hunting Club in a remote part of the town of Hopkinton when their vehicle became stuck. The men were uncertain of their exact location and called St. Lawrence County 911 for help. The 911 center obtained cellphone coordinates and dispatched local emergency personnel to the scene. At 4:33 pm, the 911 center called DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch requesting Forest Ranger assistance to locate the men. By 9 pm, two Rangers had searched the area using ATVs and determined the location coordinates were not correct and that the stranded motorists must be elsewhere. Four additional Rangers with ATVs responded and located the men just after midnight. Rangers transported the two men by ATV to St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Deputies by 2:15 am, who then transported them back to their residences.

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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40 Responses

  1. SunnyDay says:

    Interesting….I don’t recall seeing the ages of lost, injured or distressed individuals in previous headlines in the Adirondack Almanac’s reports of DEC search and rescue incidents.

    • Kathy says:

      Yes , was there a reason to mention age when the age span of rescues range from lost 12 year olds to on up into the 70s??

      • Balian the Cat says:

        If all of the folks mentioned were 12 yrs old, this comment section would be full of people screaming “where were their parents” and ” what the heck are little kids doing in the woods…” Data is data, people ad the judgements. Do you think it completely inappropriate that a conversation could be had regarding the realities of an aging recreation population and the effect that could have on rescue trends?

        • John Warren says:

          Good response Balian, thanks.

          • Kathy says:

            It was a question …not a complaint and the 1st time I recall the age group in the headline…..no issues,with ages in the reports and no one should use that demographic as a cautionary tale or indicator of common sense or preparedness.

      • Boreas says:

        I suspect the issue here is the title, not the typical data included within the accounts. It certainly got my attention, be it good or bad.

    • adkgirl85 says:

      I’ve been reading these reports off an on for years and recall ages and hometowns always being a part of the report.

  2. rc says:

    human nature in the 21st century:
    – in the first, the guy was smart enough to hunker down when lost and wait for morning.
    – in the second story the woman was helped by the kindness of strangers.
    – the third story, two guys were driving on a road, got stuck, and instead of walking BACK the way they came, they called for help. (then again, maybe they were unable to walk).

    At what point will people start being billed for rescues?

    • Steve B. says:

      “At what point will people start being billed for rescues ?”

      Maybe only for cell phone rescue calls. “I’m sorry sir, we have a minimum $200 rescue fee for those calling us, if you rub 2 sticks together and start a fire, or use the matches you so thoughtfully brought with you, then send SOS smoke signals, the rescue is free”.

  3. Paul says:

    Why does someone that gets their truck stuck on private land call 911? Just call a friend to help pull you out. I’ve done it once. If it was actually on Wilderness land as described in the intro that might be different but it looks like that might not be accurate. Why didn’t 911 tell them to call a tow truck?

    • Trailogre says:

      With a vehicle …..?
      no chains……?
      no Come along ………?

    • Boreas says:


      They way I read it 911 called local authorities first, but when the people couldn’t be found DEC became involved in a search. Apparently cell coverage was lost. Perhaps with the amount of time that transpired the people left the vehicle and were trying to walk out and inadvertantly walked into a cell shadow? The account states the men were found, but doesn’t mention them being with the vehicle.

  4. Brian says:

    I don’t quite understand what the rescuees’ age has to do with the story

    • CJ says:

      I just went back through the 10 most recent Forest Ranger reports. Every single one of them references the age of the person rescued, regardless of age. Not sure why people suddenly are upset about this.

      • Jeffrey Whittemore says:

        But in the headline as a group?

        • John Warren says:

          This was the first time that everyone rescued was basically over 70. It’s notable because the dominate (though false) narrative for these is they are all young hikers who are ill prepared.

          • CJ says:

            Exactly, John.

            I don’t see people complain when Almanack commenters use the Ranger Reports as an excuse to poke fun at millennials and college kids.

            • Suzanne says:

              Accidents happen to all ages and levels of expertise. Even well-prepared experienced hikers can trip and sprain or break an ankle and need help. That said, there are plenty of people, and not only kids, who don’t know how to prepare because they have little experience in the woods. Rather than make fun of them, which is hardly helpful and intended to express one’s own supposed superiority, better to offer suggestions which may be useful for new hikers. It is a good thing that more people wish to get out into nature. Teach them, rather than deny them.

        • Avon says:

          A headline has gotta say something that isn’t bleached-boring, if the target audience is going to be any broader than just those folks who read stories for no reason. It isn’t any more pejorative to call these folks 70 than it is to call them lost/stuck in the wilderness. Coincidences happen, and they interest more folks than randomness does.

          If they were three unrelated parties all from Brooklyn, that coincidence would likewise be the headline. I’m from Brooklyn, and I’m 66, and I’d defend that headline as I do this one. But I wouldn’t as likely have read the article at all if the headline were uninformative, like “Rangers did stuff.” Would you?

  5. Justin Farrell says:

    Well the headline says “several”, which gives the impression of ‘many’, but it was only three coincidental incidents. A little misleading to say the least. Why not just say “Three seventy year olds rescued”?

    • John Warren says:

      Several is a different word than many. Several is more than two or three. There were three over 70 and one 69 and this is only an abbreviated report.

      • Balian the Cat says:

        I think it’s time to pull up stakes and move on from here, John. There are people who sift through everything for something to be offended by and/or to argue over just for the sport of arguing. The post WWII population comprises the core of the outdoor recreation demographic. They are also getting older – getting older carries with it certain realities that should factor into our conversations about being safe in the woods, etc. I am not sure what to do if we can’t talk about that.

  6. Ott says:

    Donald Trump is 73. Now if he were lost in the woods I am sure the headline would read “73 year old clueless clown completely lost.”

  7. Nan Plantier says:

    Several 70-Year-Olds Rescued in the Adirondacks…as your lead-in title? And your point being? Why not “several hikers and kayaker” rescued in the Adirondacks…? Citing ages of those rescued within context of article seems fine. But I really don’ t recollect past lead-in titles citing ages. Do I detect a hint of ageism here?
    Nan Plantier, Lake Luzerne

    • Balian the Cat says:

      Nan – You know as well as I do that you have read headlines that read to the effect: “two infants trapped in a car…” or “Teenagers responsible for vandalism…” or “this minority more susceptible to a certain disease…” Information is important to a story – it may or may not inform of us of something useful that we couldn’t know without the complete picture. .

    • John Warren says:

      We have in fact used ages in headlines before, when they appear to be relevant: Four Unprepared Teens Rescued At Mount Colden.

      We have stories every week that say several hikers, or paddlers, etc., rescued. This was rather unique and offers context for the typical narrative that hikers who get into trouble are young, inexperienced, and unprepared.

      John Warren
      Founder & Editor
      Adirondack Almanack

  8. Kathy says:

    An informative article for this could a followup of all age groups involved in rescues to reflect the variance of ages and perhaps demonstrate it’s not “teens”,millenials”middle agers” or ” post 60s,70s” that constitute necessity for rescue but “unprepared ” hikers or unavoidable accidents.
    (Of course leaving out their gender as not to fan the sparks).

  9. John powers says:

    Why are gender and hometown included in these rescues? I’m offended…..I’m 72.

    • Suzanne says:

      I am 74, and not at all offended–I suspect you are being facetious, although I may be mistaken. Ages and hometown always are included in the reports, because it’s just information. Whether one is an ill-prepared teenager attempting climb Cascade in shorts and sneakers, or a 70-year old getting lost, it’s just the facts, which might be useful in reminding other hikers to be prepared. I’m an old fart and a 46er, still 18 at heart, but with arthritis and a bum hip am realistic regarding my present limitations.

  10. Bill Ott says:

    I expect the next reports to read as follows: “An unnamed person of undetermined age from a far away place suffered some kind of injury sometime in the recent past near an Adirondack pond or river.” Then I shall be properly uninformed, eagerly awaiting the next batch of Almanack rescue reports.

  11. JohnL says:

    PLEASE. I’m begging you. Shut this article down and move on.

    • AdirondackResident says:

      Thank you! If this is not an example of an easily offended culture, I don’t know what is. For goodness sake, it’s a rescue report. Stop making it out to be somethings it’s not. No one meant to be offensive when writing it. SMH

  12. Nan Plantier says:

    With the current increased emphases on diversity in bringing folks to the Adirondacks, perhaps a future lead-in might read, “Several African-American, Latino…were rescued…”
    Actually agree w/you @ how easily offended a culture we’ve become. And, yes it’s just a rescue report but Mr. Warren himself points to inherent biases @ who’s getting rescued these days thus using the lead-in as a retort.

  13. AdirondackResident says:

    “… a future lead-in might read, “Several African-American, Latino…were rescued…”
    Are you serious? Or is this tongue and cheek?

  14. Sandor says:

    More tax payer money is spent in one day in NYC for an ambulance ride??? Then in 5 years in the ADKS for a true rescue…let’s make upstate a new state .MAGA….

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