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 North Elba
Wilderness Rescue: On January 13th, at 8:19 am, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from the Lake Placid Police Department regarding two hikers who did not return to their hotel in Lake Placid after hiking Whiteface Mountain. Ranger Kevin Burns responded to the area and located the hikers’ vehicle at Connery Pond. An additional eight Rangers responded with UTVs and began sweeping the trail past Connery Pond to the Whiteface Summit. The 38-year-old male and 33-year-old female hiker from Ithaca had intended to summit Whiteface via the Connery Pond trail but never made it to the summit. After losing the trail and hiking through waist deep snow, they kept moving throughout the night and found the trail at 8 am. At 10:55 am, Ranger Robbi Mecus located the hikers just past the wilderness gate at Connery Pond, approximately one mile from the trailhead, and proceeded to walk out with them. The hikers reached the trailhead at 11:30 a.m., and were assessed for possible cold injuries. Both hikers declined further medical assistance and were cleared of the trailhead at 11:45 am.
Town of North Hudson
Wilderness Rescue: On January 14th, at 3:21 am, Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Central Dispatch reporting an injury in the Dix Wilderness. The caller stated that his hiking partner, a 67-year-old male from Towaco, New Jersey, had broken his shoulder after a short distance fall on the Macomb Slide in the Dix range. The caller had to leave the injured hiker alone on the slide to walk out for help. Four Forest Rangers entered the woods at 5:40 am, with a six-wheeler and cold weather gear. The slide is approximately four miles from the trailhead and Rangers encountered icy conditions on difficult, remote terrain. The rescue crew reached the injured hiker at 8:34 am. Rangers warmed the hiker and waited for a second rescue crew to establish an evacuation method. Once the second crew was on scene, it was determined that the hiker would be carried/walked out due to weather conditions. The hiker was belayed in a harness by Ranger Benjamin Baldwin and carried 450 feet up on the steep angle terrain covered in loose rock and solid ice. Once off the slide, Forest Rangers walked with the hiker to staged ATVs for evacuation to the trailhead. Essex County EMS providers transported the hiker to a local hospital.
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.