Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Ranger report: Injuries; lost hikers; in the dark without a headlamp

Recent DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Town of Keene
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On July 12 at 10:50 a.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call reporting an injured hiker on Upper Wolfjaw in the Eastern High Peaks. The caller stated he saw a 25-year-old man from Queensbury hiking solo with a knee injury from a fall on wet tree roots. Forest Rangers Kevin Burns, Tom Gliddi, Robbi Mecus, and Scott van Laer and two Assistant Forest Rangers responded. At 3:10 p.m., Ranger Mecus located the injured man just below the summit of Upper Wolfjaw, assessed the injury, and determined a hoist mission was necessary. NYSP Aviation found a break in the cloud cover at 3:50 p.m., and responded to their location for assistance. The hiker was hoisted into the helicopter at 4:10 p.m. by Ranger Burns and transported to a local hospital for further medical treatment.

Town of North Elba
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On July 9 at 9:30 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from the brother of an 18-year-old female hiker from Saranac Lake who was stranded without a headlamp on McKenzie Mountain in the McKenzie Mountain Wilderness Area. Coordinates placed the hiker on an abandoned trail. Forest Ranger Rob Praczkajlo responded and at 12:03 a.m., advised that he was with the hiker. The Ranger provided the hiker with a headlamp and escorted her back to the trailhead. They were met on the trail by Forest Ranger Kevin Burns, who assisted the hiker safely the rest of the way.

Towns of Harrietstown and Keene – High Peaks Wilderness Area
Franklin and Essex Counties
Wilderness Fire Suppression and Rescue:
 On July 10 at 9:50 a.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a hiker reporting a fire on the summit of Mount Emmons in the High Peaks Wilderness Area, town of Harrietstown, Franklin County. Due to the long approach over difficult terrain, New York State Police (NYSP) Aviation assisted by inserting two Forest Rangers via a hoist. Forest Rangers Kevin Burns and Scott van Laer conducted a size-up of the small ground fire, extinguished it, and placed it in patrol status. While preparing for the mission, Dispatch received a call at 10:50 a.m. from ADK’s Johns Brook Lodge reporting a hiker suffering from a heat-related illness in the High Peaks Wilderness Area, town of Keene, Essex County. The 27-year-old male hiker from Phelps was dehydrated and unable to adequately rehydrate. Forest Ranger Benjamin Baldwin responded with NYSP Aviation to pick up the hiker at the Johns Brook outpost landing zone and airlift him to a local hospital. At 12:46 p.m., after the hiker was dropped off for additional medical attention, the helicopter and Ranger/Crew Chief returned to the fire on Mount Emmons to assist with suppression efforts.

Town of Lyonsdale
Lewis County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On July 11 at 9:45 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Lewis County 911 reporting six lost hikers. The hikers left a nearby camp to walk along the Moose River, became disoriented, and were stranded due to darkness. Forest Ranger Luke Evans responded to assist and followed coordinates that placed the group along the river, not far from a nearby road. At 11:28 p.m., Ranger Evans located the individuals and started walking them out. At 12:06 a.m., the hikers and Ranger Evans were back at the road.

Town of Dresden
Washington County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On July 12 at 10:34 a.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Essex County 911 reporting an injured hiker with a foot laceration on the summit of Black Mountain. Forest Rangers Callee Baker, Evan Donegan, Joe Hess, and Brandon Poulton responded to assist. Rangers located the 29-year-old injured hiker from Castleton-on-Hudson just below the summit. Prior to the Rangers’ arrival, a member of the hiking party with backcountry medical training bandaged the injury. Rangers slowly walked the hiker down the mountain before reaching an ATV staged partway up the trail to transport him out of the woods.

Photo: Assistant Forest Ranger, certified Wilderness First Responder, and Emergency Medical Technician Christine Raudonis splinting the hiker’s broken leg at the summit of Upper Wolfjaw in preparation for a hoist mission.

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Information attributed to NYSDEC is taken from press releases and news announcements from New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation.

6 Responses

  1. Boreas says:

    Did DEC report a cause for the small ground fire?

  2. Chris Williams says:

    Continued great work by NYS Forest Rangers. Keep it up please.

  3. Tim says:

    2 of my mantras:
    1. The most important item in your pack? A headlamp (with extra batteries).
    2. Roots kill.

    • Kathy says:

      And enough water helps…

      • Tim says:

        Yes but I’m surprised at the number of dehydrated people. I realize it’s a dry year but there is a lot of water around. If it’s a rescue situation, people shouldn’t be afraid to drink sreams and take antibiotics when they get home rather than call a ranger.

        • Suzanne says:

          I’ve been hiking all my life (I’m 74) and drinking from streams, and have never gotten sick. The water from my family camp comes downhill from our brook. It has been tested many times and is absolutely pure.

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