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 Morehouse
Wilderness Rescue: On October 26 at 7:07 pm, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Hamilton County 911 advising of a hunter reported as overdue. The 71-year-old man from Utica was hunting behind his camp and expected to return by dark [sunset was at 5:54 pm on this day]. Forest Rangers Michael Thompson and Jenifer Temple responded to assist the Hamilton County Deputy Sheriff’s Office in locating the man. At 8:46 pm, Forest Ranger Thompson located the hunter and assisted him out of the woods where he declined any further assistance.
Town of Long Lake
Wilderness Rescue: On October 27 at 8:28 am, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a group of five men stranded on the shoreline of Forked Lake in Hamilton County. The caller stated that their boat had capsized the night before, causing the group to swim from the boat to shore and resulting in the loss of most of their gear. Forest Rangers Gary Miller, Jenifer Temple, and Robert Zurek responded to assist the group using coordinates provided by their GPS. Forest Rangers used a boat to locate the group and transported them back to their vehicles by 11:51 am.
Town of Greenfield
Wilderness Rescue: On October 27 at 8:41 pm, the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office advised DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch of a lost 911 call. The male caller said, “we are on the trail,” before the call was lost. The 911 coordinates placed the call on the southwest side of Spruce Mountain. Forest Rangers Anthony Goetke and Melissa Milano responded to assist the Sheriff’s Deputies. A second call at 8:47 pm was transferred directly to dispatch. The caller stated he had left from Archer Vly with one other person to hunt but the two were now lost, out of light, and cold. The second set of 911 coordinates were within 600 feet of the first set. Forest Rangers were at the trailhead and in the woods at 10:24 pm, and located the 29- and 27-year-old hunters from Amsterdam, Montgomery County. The pair was cold but otherwise unharmed. Rangers escorted the hunters back to the trailhead at 11:34 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.
The Forked Lake one has me puzzled. 5 men plus gear in a “boat” gets capsized. At night. Curious as to what kind of boat big enough for 5 people and gear gets capsized. Forked isn’t deep enough at the north put in for a big boat, so sounds like a seriously overloaded small boat. We likely will never know.
Nothing compared to all the rescues having to be done, on a weekly basis throughout the year, for unprepared and inexperienced hikers. I know this because I receive the all DEC’s reports in my inbox.