Thursday, December 7, 2023

Two teens run out of daylight on McKenzie Mountain Trail

forest ranger reportEssex County 

New eBikes: Forest Rangers are using two new electric bicycles in DEC’s Region 5 to minimize the use of motor vehicles in some campgrounds and reduce DEC’s carbon footprint. The e-bikes have an 80-mile range when fully charged and will be used for routine patrol, law enforcement, and search and rescue missions. To learn more, visit the DEC Facebook page.

Two rangers with e bikes

Rangers Ordway and Adams with new e-bikes. NYS DEC photo.

Town of North Elba

Essex County

Wilderness Rescue: On Dec. 2 at 6 p.m., Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from the mother of two teenagers who needed help getting out of the woods. The 13- and 16-year-olds planned to run the flatter stretch of the McKenzie Mountain Trail. The teens lost track of time and the only lights they had were their phones, but the batteries were low. Forest Ranger Curcio hiked in and met the hikers two miles from the trailhead, provided headlamps, and helped the pair back to their mother’s vehicle. Resources were clear at 8:32 p.m.


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:

Related Stories

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

10 Responses

  1. adkack says:

    Thanks for making sure we are prepared and safe mom, i love you..

  2. John says:

    Excellent idea DEC using e-bikes for work activities.

  3. louis curth says:

    History is repeating itself in the photo of the two rangers on their new eBikes.

    Back in 1923, with increasing popularity of camping and outdoor recreation, the Conservation Commission issued the first two motorcycles to forest rangers to patrol and warn campers to keep their campsites clean and be careful with their fires. *

    * pg 54, ” DEC history of the NYS Forest Ranger Force” (Free on-line at NYSL)

  4. Jeff Price says:

    I like the story about rangers using e-bikes in Essex county, they make perfect sense. Quiet, no pollution, and capable of serious mileage. I am retired, and recently got an e-bike to be able to enjoy low mph biking again (20mph max) but with help for my old knees, especially on hills. I have enjoyed riding on the Erie Canal trail, but wish laws allowed for e-bikes to go anywhere a conventional bicycle can go, which isn’t the case in NY. I believe e-bikes are prohibited in the entire Adirondacks, my favorite place! How sad, a railroad multi-use trail would be perfect for my fat tire e-bike!

    • Boreas says:

      According the the DEC website. Class 1 eBikes will be allowed on the TL-LP multi-use trail. So if considering a new bike, choose carefully. But I suspect class 2 eBikes may eventually be allowed on some sections. From the website:

      “Forms of public recreation allowed are as follows:

      Motorized vehicles, aside from snowmobiles, are prohibited on the entire corridor in all seasons. This will be enforced with gates, bollards, and law enforcement patrol and checkpoints.
      Winter recreation including snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, fat tire biking, and snowshoeing is permitted.
      Pedestrian and bicycling including class one E-bikes are permitted.
      Users should always practice Leave No Trace™ while recreating on the Corridor by carrying out what they carry in, being prepared for the risks and challenges of the unimproved Corridor and varied rail bed surface, respecting wildlife, and being considerate of other users and adjacent private property.
      Please respect posted signage and barricades. Remember that all trail users must fully stop at all intersections. Road traffic has right of way and will not stop.”

      • Steve B. says:

        Allowing class 1 e-bikes is not in compliance with the NY State law, which last I checked generally does not allow any form of motorized bike on a paved path or dirt trail on state land, only on roads where the speed limit is below 30 mph I’m curious how they decided it was OK ?. Sounds like the DEC is once again choosing to ignore the law and just do what they want.

        • Boreas says:

          Dunno. Perhaps it is a mistake in copy.

          I was surprised to see it as well. I suspect it is because Class 1 bikes are limited to 20 mph and are only under “motor assist” when being pedaled. Frankly, I agree with the decision on the Rail Trail – especially if they want to encourage all ages and abilities of cyclists. We’ll see how long it lasts.

          • Steve B. says:

            I agree that they should change the state law to allow class 1 bikes, which do not have throttles and are pedal assist only, onto trails and paths. The legislature needs to change the law and has not done so AFAIK. Moot point as nobody is enforcing.

            • Boreas says:

              Agree with the enforcement aspect. What is a major problem is that people with mobility issues are better off spending their money on a Class 3 bike. But because of their increased weight, power and torque, they can rip up a dirt trail and trails with hills and tight turns. So I DO believe the bike needs to be matched to the trail type/design – which makes enforcement even more problematic.

              But a Class 3 bike can be set up to run essentially as a Class 1 bike with the push of a few buttons. It would be unfortunate to expect mobility-impaired riders to have a separate EXPENSIVE bike for different uses – especially just to use the flat, straight, well surfaced Rail Trail. What COULD be a solution is a memory in the processor of the controller that could be invoked to see what mode the bike has been in recently. If a Ranger should stop someone riding a Class 3 bike, they could check to see what mode is currently switched on, AND if has been in that position for the entire day or something, and make a citation decision from that information. A record of top speed/time could also be helpful. I don’t believe mobility-impaired people would have much of a problem with this scrutiny if it ultimately allows them to get out and enjoy this beautiful corridor – even if it is only in certain sections.

              But at this stage, I believe we are still far from a nuanced solution such as this. Albany being Albany, it will likely take a long time to hammer out a reasonable policy for this specific trail corridor. It really boils down to how many people you want to use the trail.

        • Reader says:

          The rail trail is considered a travel corridor so it has different rules that allow for type 1 e-bikes. That decision was made nearly a decade ago. Different land use classifications allow for different uses.

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Wait! Before you go:

Catch up on all your Adirondack
news, delivered weekly to your inbox