Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Hunter dies after suffering cardiac issues walking to Buck Mt. trailhead

forest ranger reportTown of Webb
Herkimer County
Illegal Tree Cutting:
 On Nov. 26 at 1:06 p.m., Ranger McCartney heard someone approaching him on the trail while he was checking the register at Moss Lake. Ranger McCartney observed a subject dragging a freshly cut spruce tree and carrying a saw toward a pickup truck in the parking lot.

Once the subject loaded the tree into his truck, Ranger McCartney interviewed the 58-year-old from Old Forge and educated him about regulations prohibiting the cutting of trees by the public on State land, regardless of its potential use in holiday celebrations. The subject was issued an appearance ticket.

Illegal tree cutting in Webb. DEC photo.


Town of Keene
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On Nov. 26 at 4:30 p.m., Ranger Lewis responded to a call for a hiker at Rainbow Falls who was having difficulty walking due to a neurological condition. Ranger Lewis coordinated with Adirondack Mountain Reserve staff to borrow an ATV to drive on the seasonal road to locate the 56-year-old from West Babylon. The road was impassable with a truck because of winter and mud conditions. Ranger Lewis helped the hiker and her hiking partner back to their vehicle where she advised she would seek medical treatment on her own. Resources were clear at 6 p.m.


Town of North Elba
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On Nov. 27 at 8 p.m., Ray Brook Dispatch received a call about a lost 19-year-old hiker in the High Peaks Wilderness Area. The caller did not have a specific location but noted they were with a hiking partner. Forest Rangers Lewis, O’Connor, and Praczkajlo responded. With help from New York State Police, Rangers checked trail registers and parking lots to determine the potential location of the individuals. At 9:30 p.m., the hiking partner called from the Adirondak Loj trailhead to report that the pair had become separated and last communicated at 5 p.m. when the other hiker descended Iroquois Peak. At 12:45 a.m., the 19-year-old from Schenectady called his father. Rangers directed him to call 911 so responders could get a better location. The young man was near the summit of Algonquin Peak in waist-deep snow, becoming lethargic, and dozing off. Ranger Praczkajlo kept him awake on the phone, helping prevent further injury. At 4:22 a.m., Rangers reached the subject. He was hypothermic and lost feeling in his lower legs and feet. Rangers warmed him, provided food and drink, and assisted the hiker to the trailhead where they met a Lake Placid Ambulance at 6:35 a.m. The hiker was taken to Adirondack Medical Center. Resources were clear at 7 a.m.

Rangers rescue hiker on Algonquin Peak. DEC photo.

Town of Fort Ann
Washington County
Wilderness Recovery:
 On Nov. 27 at 9:30 a.m., Forest Rangers were notified about a hunter having cardiac issues walking down the Pilot Knob trail to the Buck Mountain trailhead. When Rangers and Pilot Knob Fire arrived, the hunter was unconscious. Other hunters, hikers, and fire department personnel were performing CPR on the hunter. Rangers and EMS personnel continued these efforts. At 10:18 a.m., the hunter was declared deceased by the lead Fort Ann EMS Paramedic. DEC Investigator Goodrich also responded.

Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hike Smart NYAdirondack Backcountry Information, and Catskill Backcountry Information webpages for more information.

If a person needs a Forest Ranger, whether it’s for a search and rescue, to report a wildfire, or to report illegal activity on state lands and easements, they should call 833-NYS-RANGERS. If a person needs urgent assistance, they can call 911. To contact a Forest Ranger for information about a specific location, the DEC website has phone numbers for every Ranger listed by region.

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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.

4 Responses

  1. louis curth says:

    The apprehension of a Christmas tree cutter by Ranger McCartney was a more common occurrence during earlier times when folks were short on cash during the Christmas season.

    For anyone interested, a great forest ranger/Christmas short story, written by William Chapman White, is included in “The Forest Rangers” on page 105, at this free on-line book site:

  2. Ken M. says:

    Did he keep the tree?

  3. Jim S. says:

    That tree thief is quite “knotty”.

  4. MAC says:

    That tree looks like it was being pruned and cared for. Regardless the Ranger always knows…they are aware of alot more than you think. I would not underestimate the power of observance and was this fellow apprehended by chance or by a clever Ranger . Reading the trail register, happened to be in the area , had a report , oh by the way busted.

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