Thursday, December 26, 2019

Emergency Beacon Brings 10 Rangers, 2 Airboats

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.

St. Lawrence County

Town of Clifton
Wilderness Rescue: On December 17th at 8:48 pm, St. Lawrence County 911 contacted DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch regarding a distress signal from an InReach emergency beacon in the Five Ponds Wilderness Area at Cat Mountain Pond. Due to the remote location and winter conditions, 10 Forest Rangers utilizing two airboats responded to expedite personnel transport. Forest Ranger Nathan Shea hiked in from the Dead Creek trailhead, while the remaining Forest Rangers proceeded to the location with airboats using the SUNY ESF Ranger School beachfront area. The 38-year-old male hiker from West Point was found by Ranger Shea at 1:57 am, using the coordinates given by 911. Ranger Shea warmed the hiker, gave him fluids and food, and they began walking out to meet the rest of the search party. At 3:07 am, Forest Rangers met the hiker and Ranger Shea between the Cat Mountain junction and Cat Mountain Pond. They then hiked to Janacks Landing and were evacuated by airboat back to the Ranger School. The hiker declined medical care and was transported by family members to a hotel in Tupper Lake. All units were back in service at 4:45 am on December 18th. The hiker stated he had left Cranberry Lake at 5 am, and attempted to hike the Cranberry Lake 50 trail, but was not fully prepared for the hike and did not have winter-weight boots or enough food.

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.

Related Stories

Stories under the Almanack's Editorial Staff byline come from press releases and other notices.

Send news updates and story ideas to Alamanck Editor Melissa Hart at

9 Responses

  1. Chris says:

    “…was not fully prepared for the hike and did not have winter-weight boots or enough food.”

    But he had a several hundred dollar Inreach?

    • TrailOgre says:

      Maybe a requirement for purchasing one of these beacons
      should be a 6 week course in outdoor skills ………

      or brain surgery…..

  2. laurie says:

    I understand the argument against charging people for a rescue, but maybe instead, when a hiker is found to be unprepared or negligent, they should be forced to take a course in basic outdoor skills. If they refuse or fail to show up, THEN charge them for the rescue. Or at least hit them with a significant fine.

  3. Michael Douglass says:

    This guy should be paying for that rescue , the Rangers putting their lives on the line not to mention having to hike in at that time of night to get somebody that was that unprepared !

  4. Harold Sperazza says:

    I’ve had an InReach for the last 5 years, take with me on every trip I’ve taken to the ADKs and beyond and fortunately I’ve never felt the need to call SOS. If used as an integral part of your outdoor preparedness practices it’s a valuable tool. If used as one’s only source of preparedness, we’ll that’s just foolhardy!

    • Boreas says:


      Just curious – is there an annual subscription for the service, or is it unlimited use with the purchase price? It may be cheaper than the “I’ve fallen and can’t get up!” services.

  5. Peggy VerDow says:

    From a Christmas guest who happens to be a Neurosurgeon. Of course, there has to be a brain to operate on !

Wait! Before you go:

Catch up on all your Adirondack
news, delivered weekly to your inbox