Wednesday, May 29, 2024

11-year-old reunited with hiking party after losing trail at Whiteface

forest ranger reports graphicHamlet of Wanakena
St. Lawrence County
Ranger Academy: On May 19, DEC opened the 24th Basic School for Forest Rangers for the newest class of Ranger recruits at the State University of New York (SUNY) College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) Ranger School. Eleven recruits signed in Sunday night and started training; two withdrew from the academy during opening week. There are currently seven men and two women in this recruit class. Throughout the week, recruits received training in physical fitness and wellness, introduction to law including constitutional law, cultural diversity, basic computer skills, and general academy orientation.


24th Basic School begins.

24th Basic School begins. NYS DEC photo.

24th Basic School begins

24th Basic School begins. NYS DEC photo.


Town of Newcomb
Essex County
Training: From May 19 to 24, Assistant Forest Rangers (AFRs) attended training at the SUNY ESF campus in Newcomb. Assistant Forest Rangers received training in wilderness first aid, public interaction, map and compass, Leave No TraceTM principles, and a basic wildfire course. Twelve AFRs are assigned to the Adirondacks, five are assigned to the Catskills, and four AFRs are stationed in DEC Regions 8 and 9.

2024 Assistant Forest Rangers

2024 Assistant Forest Rangers. NYS DEC photo.

Ranger Milano at AFR wildfire training

Ranger Milano at AFR wildfire training. NYS DEC photo.

Ranger Dawson at AFR wilderness first aid training

Ranger Dawson at AFR wilderness first aid training. NYS DEC photo.


Town of Keene
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue: On May 20 at 2:25 p.m., Ray Brook Dispatch requested Forest Ranger assistance for a hiker at Rainbow Falls who had been hit in the head by a falling rock. Rangers helped stop the bleeding and brought the subject to the Adirondack Mountain Reserve trailhead where he drove himself to seek further care.

Village of Saranac Lake
Franklin County
Public Outreach: On May 22, Forest Ranger Lieutenant LaPierre and Ranger Adams spoke to more than 200 students at Petrova Elementary School. The Rangers let the students try out the backpack carriers used during rescues. The students also met Smokey Bear and learned about fire safety.

Petrova Elementary students use backpack carriers

Petrova Elementary students use backpack carriers. NYS DEC photo.

Town of Moreau
Saratoga County
Public Outreach: On May 23, Forest Rangers Clute and Hess attended the Moreau Middle School Conservation Day at Moreau Lake State Park. Rangers discussed fire management and the difference between a wildfire and a prescribed fire.

Moreau fire safety demonstration

Moreau fire safety demonstration. NYS DEC photo.

Town of Keene
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue: On May 25 at 5:25 p.m., DEC Dispatch received a call from an injured hiker approximately one-half mile from Upper Wolf Jaw Mountain. New York State Police (NYSP) Aviation responded with Forest Ranger Praczkajlo and NYSP Pilot Engel. Forest Ranger O’Connor harnessed the subject so that Ranger Praczkajlo and Pilot Engel could hoist the hiker into the helicopter and fly her to the hospital.

Ranger Praczkajlo and Wolf Jaw Mountain hiker

Ranger Praczkajlo and Wolf Jaw Mountain hiker. NYS DEC photo.

Town of Colton
St. Lawrence County
Wilderness Rescue: On May 25 at 6:49 p.m., Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a concerned parent regarding two hikers in their 20s in distress on the Cranberry Lake 50 trail. The hikers were dehydrated and suffering from leg cramps. Forest Ranger Shea met the pair on the Brandy Brook trail and escorted them to the trailhead. Resources were clear at 10 p.m.

Village of Lowville
Lewis County
Wilderness Recovery: On May 25 at 9:02 p.m., Forest Ranger Evans assisted Lowville Police and Fire Department, Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, and New York State Police (NYSP) with the recovery of a suicidal subject, reported to be deceased. At 10:10 p.m., the subject was turned over to the Lewis County Coroner. NYSP is leading the investigation.

Town of Watson
Lewis County
Fall From Horse: On May 26 at 10:59 a.m., Forest Rangers responded to the Otter Creek Horse trails for a report of a subject who had fallen from a horse and suffered head, neck, and back injuries. The 67-year-old was taken by a Lewis County Search and Rescue Ambulance to a landing zone at the 3G Fire Department for air transport by Life Flight.

Town of Greig
Lewis County
ATV Accident: On May 26 at 3 p.m., Forest Ranger Evans responded to the scene of a subject injured in an ATV accident near the intersection of VanArnum and Brantingham roads. Ranger Evans applied a tourniquet to control the bleeding from the subject’s lower leg. New York State Police (NYSP), the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, and the 3G and Brantingham Fire Departments also responded. The patient was transported by Lewis County Search and Rescue ambulance to a nearby landing zone for air transport by LifeNet.

Town of North Elba
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue: On May 26, at 5:09 p.m., Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from an Adirondack Mountain Club employee reporting a hiker with an injured wrist. The 48-year-old subject from Camillus was 2.2 miles from the Heart Lake Information Center. At 5:40 p.m., Forest Ranger Praczkajlo reached the subject and helped her to the trailhead.

Town of Wilmington
Essex County
Wilderness Search: On May 26 at 6:20 p.m., Forest Ranger Lewis was notified about an 11-year-old from Webster separated from a hiking group descending Whiteface. Five Rangers responded and at 7:15 p.m., Ranger Praczkajlo found the subject off the hiking trail and reunited him with the hiking party.

Town of Peru
Clinton County
Stuck Truck: On May 27, Acting Captain Booth and Forest Ranger Odell responded to Ausable Point Campground for a report of a vehicle stuck on the beach. Following a brief investigation, Rangers determined the operator had attempted to launch their boat from the foot access to the beach the previous evening and got stuck. Boats may only be launched from designated boat launch sites. The operator was ticketed for unauthorized motor vehicle use on State land and launching a boat in an area other than a designated boat launch. A local tow company recovered the vehicle.

Truck stuck on the Ausable Point beach

Truck stuck on the Ausable Point beach. NYS DEC photo.

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.

One Response

  1. David Bower says:

    I hope the guy who got hit in the head with a falling rock at Rainbow Falls made it to get further care OK. If I needed help from Rangers due to my head injury, then had to hike back to my car, I’d have been very leery of driving. Hope he’s OK.

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