Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Rangers help Mount Marshall hikers descend summit

forest ranger reportVillage of Oriskany
Oneida County
 On April 18 and 19, Forest Rangers Kennedy, Martin, and Virkler attended a two-day Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) training in Oriskany. The training was held in conjunction with the Flood Incident Strike Team “FIST,” a multi-agency team equipped and trained to respond to a variety of swift water and flood events.

UAS pilots refreshed swift water skills and terminology before being embedded with FIST teams for a full-day exercise on the Moose and Black rivers. UAS pilots provided FIST teams with assistance locating subjects, scouting river conditions, and monitoring deployed resources. UAS pilots from New York State Police, New York State Fire, New York State Park Police, and DEC’s Division of Law Enforcement all participated.

Unmanned Aerial Systems training

Unmanned Aerial Systems training. NYS DEC photo.

Unmanned Aerial Systems training.

Unmanned Aerial Systems training. NYS DEC photo.

Essex County
High Peaks Utility Flights:
 On April 18 and 20, Forest Rangers worked with New York State Police (NYSP) Aviation on their annual High Peaks utility flights. NYSP pilots Kotronis, Sgt. Kneer, and Sgt. Haberneck conducted 29 sling loads over a two-day period, delivering building material and supplies to three interior outposts in the High Peaks region. In addition, materials prepared by Lean2Rescue to rebuild four lean-tos in the Lake Colden area were delivered to remote sites. With the materials on site, Lean2Rescue can begin working on the structures.

High Peaks utility flight

High Peaks utility flight. NYS DEC photo.

High Peaks utility flight.

High Peaks utility flight. NYS DEC photo.

High Peaks utility flight.

High Peaks utility flight. NYS DEC photo.

Town of Newcomb
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue
: On April 22 at 6:50 p.m., Ray Brook dispatch received a call from two subjects in their 20s near the summit of Mount Marshall. The hikers were concerned they couldn’t make it back down. Forest Ranger Mecus spoke to the pair on the phone and learned they were planning a day hike using an app for navigation, but couldn’t access the app due to poor service. The hikers continued anyway, but had trouble following the path due to fog and the low cloud ceiling. Ranger Mecus instructed them to start walking down. The hikers had a tough time because they only had one headlamp, but reached the Calamity lean-to, where they spent the night. At 9:19 a.m., Rangers Corey and Sabo met the hikers below the highwater crossing. Rangers provided food and warmth, and helped them back to their vehicle. Resources were clear at 10:37 a.m.

DEC reminds New Yorkers that the annual statewide ban prohibiting residential brush burning began March 16 and runs through May 14. The largest cause of spring brushfires in New York is residential burning. More information is available on the DEC website.

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. Steve B. says:

    The map app didn’t work, no data service, but they were lucky enough to get voice call capability. Pure luck. They got up the mountain but couldn’t get down, REALLY ?. At least they got to spend a probably cold night in a shelter. I wonder of they thought to bring sleeping bags ?. Apparently no food though.


    • Boreas says:

      This is probably the most dangerous time of year to be up high. Unanticipated deep, soggy snowpack, swollen streams – all coupled with cold nighttime temps are a recipe for hypothermia and exhaustion. Even prepared hikers can have a difficult time of it. Unprepared hikers are lucky to survive.

      One must ask the question, even with legal disclaimers, should makers of these apps be held accountable to some degree for failure to warn properly??

      • JohnL says:

        Hey Boreas. These people were totally stupid to go into the woods without a physical map. Should app makers be responsible for stupid people. I say no. No degree of responsibility for that kind of ignorance to anyone but the people themselves.

  2. lisa says:

    The app was loaded ahead of time. When they got to the top, they could not find the trail down the other side (the loop) as it was unmarked. It showed a shorter distance that way than going back down the way they came. They had food, water, emergency blanket, one emergency sleeping bag but only one headlamp along with 2 phone flashlights. Yes, they made mistakes. They should have turned around when calculating what time it got dark and how long they had been hiking. I hope they did learn from this experience.! Thank you to the rangers for looking for them in the morning. It was a LONG night.
    “The Mom”

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