Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Winter-like conditions on Marcy make for difficult rescue

marcy rescueRecent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Town of North Elba/Keene
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On May 8 at 10:48 a.m., Franklin County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch reporting an injured hiker on the summit of Mt. Marcy. The hiker, a 52-year-old woman from Bailey, CO, had slipped on the ice and suffered a hip injury. Nine Forest Rangers and two volunteers from the Search and Rescue of the Northern Adirondacks (SARNAK) responded to the Adirondak Loj to evacuate the injured hiker. New York State Police Aviation was requested, but unfavorable weather conditions prevented any flights. At 4:39 p.m., Forest Rangers Mecus and LaPierre reached the subject and determined the injury was non-weight bearing. While waiting for additional resources to arrive on scene, Rangers stabilized the injury and constructed a small shelter to prevent further cold exposure.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, May 8, 2021

The Cabins that Time Forgot

rundown cabinThe Adirondack Forest Preserve is celebrated as one of the world’s best-protected wilderness reserves, but of course this is New York State, not the distant, untrodden surface of Venus; with precious few exceptions all of the lands that are now “forever wild” were once privately owned, and many parcels were developed to one degree or another before the state acquired them for the Forest Preserve. If you’ve enjoyed any of the Adirondack Park’s “blockbuster” purchases over the last quarter-century, such as Little Tupper Lake, Round Lake, the Essex Chain of Lakes, Boreas Ponds, or Madawaska Flow, you have explored land that was once populated by dozens of modest hunting camps.

I was an early visitor at all of these properties, exploring their secrets while the ink was still wet on the deeds. In 1998, just weeks after the “William C. Whitney Area” opened to the public, I found a small cabin on the north shore of Little Tupper Lake that even DEC staff didn’t seem to know about. At Madawaska Flow in 2004 and Round Lake in 2006, I ventured into recently abandoned cabins that stood on expired leases, quietly awaiting their demolition. These structures reminded me that what I had come to explore as “wilderness” had been perceived and used as something slightly different a few years earlier.

Because of these experiences, as well as my interest in Adirondack history, I have never been deluded into thinking our wilderness is a people-less place; it may be the natural landscape that attracts me and fills my daydreams, but I am also familiar with (and fascinated by) the human story that haunts the Forest Preserve.

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Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Missing 66-year-old spent cold night in town of Webb

forest ranger reportsRecent DEC NYS Forest Ranger actions:

Town of Webb
Herkimer County
Wilderness Search:
 On April 30 at 10:57 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Herkimer County 911 requesting Forest Ranger assistance in locating a 66-year-old man from Erieville. The man’s vehicle was located by family and New York State Police at his camp earlier in the day, but the subject was nowhere to be found. Forest Rangers, along New York State Police using a drone, State Police K-9, Town of Webb Police Department, and Herkimer County agencies, searched the area during the night with negative results. At 9 a.m. on May 1, a State Police K-9 search team located the missing man near West Pond, a short distance from his camp. The subject had suffered an injury and was extremely cold. Search personnel immediately warmed and fed the man before transporting him out to Old Forge Ambulance where he was taken to a local hospital for medical treatment.

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Thursday, April 29, 2021

I Love My Park Day at Crown Point Historic Area

Crown point state historic site

Celebrate I Love My Park Day on Sunday, May 2 with DEC and State Parks staff at Crown Point Historic Area. Learn how you can better care for and enjoy your parks and public lands. Programming will run from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. To register, email [email protected].

Schedule of Events:

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Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Ankle injury on Buck Mountain

forest ranger reportsRecent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Town of Fort Ann
Washington County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On April 24 at 12:15 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Warren County 911 reporting a 51-year-old woman from Malta with an ankle injury was approximately one mile up the Buck Mountain Trail. Forest Ranger Baker responded along with Pilot Knob Fire and EMS. Once on scene, Ranger Baker assisted with the carryout of the hiker to the trailhead where she was transferred to EMS and transported to a local hospital for medical treatment.


Friday, April 23, 2021

Geezers Make a Raquette at the Falls

A hike to Raquette River Falls

(All photos are property of the author)

Raquette Falls walk

Since it is difficult to determine what the weather and conditions will be like in early April, the car was loaded with all manner of equipment. Snowshoes, crampons (spiky additions to boots), two flavors of hiking boots, hiking poles, and a sled filled the hatchback, along with the usual packs full of necessities.

Raquette Falls was the goal. A view of the cascade on a beautiful September day caused Jim and Randy to wonder what the river would look like during the spring runoff.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Rangers respond to domestic violence call; locate lost and injured hikers

forest ranger reportsRecent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Town of Dannemora
Clinton County
Law Enforcement Action:
On April 16 at 12 p.m., Forest Ranger Booth overheard New York State Police emergency radio traffic advising of a domestic situation involving a loaded firearm. Ranger Booth responded to the location, and once on scene, quickly sized up the situation. From a position of cover, the Ranger encouraged the male subject, who had access to a loaded firearm, to calmly come outside. After complying with Ranger Booth’s request, the unarmed subject was taken into custody and turned over to the State Police.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

HPAG Report: Transportation, Parking and Trailhead Safety

This is the fifth article in a series examining the ideas in the final report of the High Peaks Strategic Planning Group (HPAG) that outlines a plan to build a new and improved management program for the High Peaks Wilderness Complex (HPWC). This article focuses on recommendations and ideas in the “Public Safety, Transportation and Traffic Safety” section of the report.

A high priority in reformed High Peaks Wilderness management is improvements to the ad hoc parking situation that has grown worse over the years and is stressed to breaking during periods of intense use all along the north side of the High Peaks Wilderness. Good public access with a coherent trailhead parking plan is as important as sustainable trails, science and monitoring, and higher levels of professional staffing to significantly improve the management of the High Peaks Wilderness Complex in the years ahead.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Rangers locate lost hiker at OK Slip Falls

forest ranger reportsRecent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Town of Indian Lake
Hamilton County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On April 9 at 2:30 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from New York State Police B Command advising of a lost hiker in the OK Slip Falls area. The hiker stated she became disoriented while hiking out and was standing near a river. Forest Rangers Scott and Miller responded. Ranger Scott tried to call the woman, but due to limited cell service, texted her with instructions. Not knowing if the subject received the instructions, Rangers Scott and Miller searched the trail and found the 56-year-old woman from North Creek heading back in the correct direction. She had received the text message, but could not send a reply. The Rangers and hiker proceeded back to trailhead.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

The buzz around AMR hiker permits

AMR lotLast Monday after this newsletter went out, the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the Ausable Club announced a new pilot reservation system at the Adirondack Mountain Reserve. The reserve, for those who may not know, is a gateway to nearly a dozen High Peaks and some very popular hikes like Indian Head and Rainbow Falls. It is also private property, accessible to the public through a foot traffic easement. The original press release left many questions, including whether or not this reservation system included a fee, or if it was free. The answer–it’s free to make a reservation.

It was also confusing because the state has called it a pilot parking reservation system, but it’s not. It is a full-on reservation system. You cannot be dropped off and walk in without a reservation. You cannot bike to the AMR and walk in without a reservation. The only way you are allowed to be on the AMR property without this permit is if you have a Greyhound or Trailways bus ticket from within 24 hours of your arrival to Keene Valley.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 6, 2021

HPAG Report: High Peaks Trails

This is the fourth article in a series examining the ideas in the final report of the High Peaks Strategic Planning Group (HPAG) that outlines a plan to build a new and improved management program for the High Peaks Wilderness Complex (HPWC). This article focuses on recommendations and ideas in the “High Peaks Wilderness Trails” section of the report. A focus on hiking trails in the High Peaks is vital, as in many ways, it’s the condition of the trails that ties together other management efforts.

As with other sections of the HPAG report, the recommendations on trails require significant new investment by the state on a sustained, annual basis to make progress. Trail work success in the High Peaks, given the challenges of the terrain and the heavy use, is measured in feet, not in miles. There are roughly 200 miles of formal trails in the HPWC and another 100 miles of herd trails for the so-called “trailless peaks.” Perhaps, more than any other area in the HPAG report, the measurement of its traction and impact will be seen through a change in trail work scope and intensity.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, April 3, 2021

Ticks: They’re baaaaaaack

attached tick
It’s spring. And, after months of being locked down, people are getting outside again. Just a reminder, though. The longer, warmer days of April are also the start of tick season; the peak of which lasts through August.

    Ticks commonly overwinter by ‘nesting’ in groups; taking refuge under the soil, ground litter, and snow cover which acts as an insulating blanket, sheltering them from the frigid winter temperatures. When warmer weather arrives, they position themselves on vegetation and wait patiently, front legs outstretched, for any warm-blooded ‘host’ to pass by; a behavior known as ‘questing’. When one does, the tick latches on and soon begins taking its next blood meal.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, April 2, 2021

Mud season advisory: Stay off high-elevation trails

mudNYS DEC has released an early season muddy trails advisory urging hikers to postpone hikes on trails above 2,500 feet until high elevation trails have dried and hardened. As snow and ice continue to melt at high elevations, steep trails can pose a danger due to thick ice and deep, rotten snow. Thin soils are susceptible to erosion and sensitive alpine vegetation can be easily damaged.

Despite recent warm weather, high elevation trails are still covered in slowly melting ice and snow. The remaining compacted ice and snow on trails is rotten, slippery, and will not reliably support weight. These conditions, known as “monorails,” are difficult to hike and the adjacent rotten snow is particularly prone to postholing.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Camp improv: Lemonade Bass

The Monroe familyFor our family, like most firmly rooted within The Blue Line, the equation is simple:

Summer + Camping x Kids = FISHING!

When my son RJ was 4, he was out fishing one morning at Bull Rush Bay with his “Gramps”.

Gramps overheard RJ humming to himself, singing a little tune while they fished.  When they returned to camp, Gramps wrote RJ’s lyrics down.  They went like this:

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Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Rangers conduct two overnight Search & Rescues

Recent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions

Town of Keene
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Mar. 25 at 5:14 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a hiker reporting he was concerned that his 18-year-old friend was lost after the pair were separated on the trail for Mount Marcy in the High Peaks Wilderness Area. After speaking with the caller, Forest Ranger Praczkajlo advised that he and Forest Ranger O’Connor were responding to assist. Once on scene, Ranger Praczkajlo notified Dispatch that he and Ranger O’Connor made contact with the reporting party at Marcy Dam. Ranger Praczkajlo continued up the trail to locate the lost hiker while Ranger O’Connor began to escort the friend out of the woods. Lt. Burns advised that Ranger Lewis would respond to the Garden parking lot and begin to hike up the Mount Marcy trail from Johns Brook Valley.

» Continue Reading.



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