Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Mama bear chases jogger; rangers assist lost, missing hikers

Town of Long Lake
Hamilton County
Wilderness Search:
 On August 20 at 2:30 p.m., Hamilton County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch from a lost hiker on Owls Head Mountain in the Sargent Ponds Wild Forest. Forest Rangers Temple, Scott, and DiCintio responded to the trailhead. With no coordinates from the dropped call, New York State Police Aviation was called in with Forest Ranger Praczkajlo to search the marshy areas where the subject was believed to be. Coordinates obtained through a 911 callback placed the hiker in a marshland just off the south side of the mountain. At 6:25 p.m., Dispatch was notified that the 69-year-old hiker from Baltimore, Maryland, had been located and reunited with her family.

Lost hiker assisted by Forest Ranger after being lost in the Sargent Ponds Wild Forest/DEC photo

Town of Webb
Herkimer County
Wilderness Search:
 On August 18 at 7:30 p.m., a 19-year-old woman left her residence in Old Forge for a five-mile run and did not return home when expected. At 10 p.m., the woman’s parents called police and at midnight Forest Rangers were requested to assist searching all the area trails. Twelve Forest Rangers responded along with 24 New York State Police Officers from Patrol, Special Operations, K9, and Aviation, and six State Police Criminal Investigators. Also assisting were six Town of Webb Police Officers, more than 100 volunteers from the Inlet, Eagle Bay, Big Moose, and Old Forge fire departments, and area residents. Search teams found the subject the next day in Old Forge at approximately 10:30 a.m. The woman said she had been running on the Big Otter Trail in the HaDaRonDah Wilderness Area when she encountered two bear cubs. The mother chased the woman through the woods and the subject climbed a tree to escape. After darkness came, the bears seemed to have left, but the woman stayed in the tree until daylight and used the morning sun to navigate back to the trail and walk back to Old Forge where she was found by the search team.

Town of North Elba
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On August 18 at 3:41 p.m., a hiker contacted DEC’s Ray Brook dispatch requesting help for a 20-year-old man from Norwich who was having seizures on the Adirondack Mountain Club property on Mount Jo. Forest Ranger Captain Streiff, Lieutenant Harjung, and Ranger Burns responded to assist. The Rangers located the hiker at 4:29 p.m., approximately 1/4 mile in on the trail. With assistance from Ranger Burns and a member of the hiking party, the Rangers walked with the man to the trailhead where he was assessed by the Lake Placid Volunteer Ambulance Service. The man declined further medical treatment and advised he would seek medical assistance on his own.

Town of Wilmington
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On August 18 at 6:45 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance from a family of lost hikers on Whiteface Mountain. The hikers, from Johnstown, called from a shed in the Whiteface Ski Area near the Lookout Lift, stating they had been caught in a downpour and were too cold to continue after getting lost on the trails without a map. Forest Ranger Burns responded and hiked a half-mile to their location from the road. He gave them jackets, flashlights, and handwarmers before beginning the walk back to his vehicle. Ranger Burns then transported the family back to their car at the Wilmington Reservoir to return to their campsite at the North Pole campground.

Town of Wilmington
Essex County
Wilderness Search:
 On August 20 at 6:10 p.m., Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch from a father reporting his 13-year-old son was overdue from mountain biking on the Wilmington Trails in the Wilmington Wild Forest. Per Forest Ranger Lt. Kostoss, Forest Ranger LaPierre was requested to respond to check adjoining trailheads to see if she could locate the boy from Waterloo. At 6:30 p m., Forest Ranger LaPierre located the boy at the Wilmington Notch Campground and waited with him until his father arrived.

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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.

8 Responses

  1. Boreas says:

    The bear/jogger encounter is quite unusual. Usually once a mother black bear realizes there is no threat, she retreats with the cubs into the forest. Odd she would hang around at the tree with her cubs.

    • Tom says:

      My guess is not that the bears were hanging out, but that the 19 year old was exercising an overabundance of caution.

    • Jeep says:

      Actually a mother bear protecting her Cubs is not at all unusual. I’m sure the jogger somehow got between the mother and Cubs and the mother did what mother bears do, go into an offense mode and attack. Although not as common as a grizzly bear attack, there are many documented cases of black bears attacking humans.

      • Jeep says:

        Oh yes a black bear mother with cubs will attack ANY threats to her cubs! Story reminds me of a posting on an Alaska hiking trail I once saw. Read something like” caution you are now entering bear territory”. Then it had a suggestion to “wear a string of bells and to carry pepper spray”. The sign went on to aid you in identifying the differences between black bear droppings and Grizzly bear droppings. ” Black bear dropping will contain berries, nuts, and perhaps pieces of small rodent hair. Grizzly bear droppings will contain little bells and smells like pepper”

  2. Chris says:

    The newspaper reports a bit differently from the Adk Almanac/ranger report. The newspaper account that I read says that there was no chase, the jogger went up the tree as a first response, and no one knew where the jogger was headed so it wasn’t like 400 people searching one trail.

  3. Charlie S says:

    “The newspaper account that I read says that there was no chase, the jogger went up the tree as a first response.”

    > This is what I read and found it quite odd that she would climb a tree as bears know how to climb trees quite well. I saw a black bear scoot up a tree once in Blue Mountain Lake and was quite impressed how fast it got up it! This girl was lucky more than she was smart, especially had this bear been aggressive. It is actually comical more than all things else when thinking about it.

    I remember them days climbing trees, or scaling rooftops… Any object with an elevation saw a temptation in me to scale it, even water towers. Once I climbed a signal tower alongside a railroad tracks. The railroad police did not like that! Them good old days!

    • Boreas says:

      Charlie – You weren’t one of those flagpole sitters were you? May have been before your time.

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