Recent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions involve lost hunters, missing hikers and more:
Town of Watson Lewis County Wilderness Search: On Oct. 22 at 7:08 p.m., Lewis County 911 transferred a call reporting a lost hunter to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch. The hunter’s friend contacted 911 reporting that his friend was disoriented and could not be reached by radio. Forest Rangers Evans, Thomes, and Lee responded to assist. Ranger Evans was first on scene and went into the woods, along with a Lewis County Deputy Sheriff, and the reporting party. Ranger Evans advised the responders located the lost hunter at 9:11 p.m. The 59-year-old hunter from Queensbury was escorted out of the woods to his vehicle and the Rangers were cleared from the scene.
Village of Saranac Lake – Harrietstown Franklin County Wilderness Rescue: On Oct. 15 at 1:12 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a report of an overturned canoe in the Second Pond boat area on Lower Saranac Lake. One person was on shore and uncertain if her companion was still in the water or on shore looking for their dog. Forest Ranger Balerno and DEC Operations staff responded and confirmed the two subjects were out of the water looking for the dog. At 2:20 p.m., Forest Rangers Evans and Balerno located the couple from Oreland, Pennsylvania, and their dog, loaded the group onto a DEC boat, and returned them to their vehicle at the launch.
Town of North Elba Essex County Wilderness Rescue: On Oct. 5 at 7:45 p.m., Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch reporting two hikers lost off the Street and Nye Mountains Trail in the High Peaks Wilderness Area. Forest Ranger Lewis responded and located the hikers from Rochester at 9:51 p.m. before starting the trek back to the trailhead. At 11:18 p.m., Ranger Lewis and the couple arrived back to the trailhead at the Adirondak Loj and were cleared from the scene.
Town of North Elba Essex County Wilderness Rescue: On Oct. 1 at 5:42 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a 65-year-old hiker from Long Meadow, Massachusetts, reporting he had injured his ankle near MacIntyre Falls. The hiker said his hiking party braced his injury and he would hobble down the trail with them. Forest Ranger LaPierre responded, hiking up the trail to the man’s location while Forest Rangers Evans, Burns, Gliddi, and Booth came in with a six-wheel ATV. Once on scene, Ranger LaPierre splinted the injury and assisted the hiking party to the Whales Tail Junction where they were met by the secondary group of Rangers and driven out to the trailhead to their vehicle.
Town of St. Armand Essex County Wilderness Rescue: On Sept. 22 at 12:10 p.m., Franklin County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch reporting an injured 64-year-old hiker from Dyer, Indiana, on Baker Mountain. The hiker went off the trail, fell, and injured his right leg. Forest Rangers Evans and Sabo responded to assist. Once on scene, Forest Ranger Evans provided first aid for the subject’s unstable knee and ankle. Due to the extent of the injury, New York State Police (NYSP) Aviation was requested along with backup rescuers including members of Search and Rescue of the Northern Adirondacks in case of a possible carry-out involving a high-angle rope technique on steep terrain. NYSP Aviation, with Forest Ranger Benzel as hoist operator, completed the hoist rescue off the mountain at 4:18 p.m. The hiker was transported to a local hospital for further medical treatment.
Town of Piercefield St. Lawrence County Wilderness Rescue: On Sept. 17 at 10:25 a.m., DEC’s Central Dispatch received a call from a relative of two campers on the Bog River after one of the campers injured their back and had difficulty moving. Forest Rangers Baldwin, Lee, and Hogan responded to assist. At 12:20 p.m., Rangers Baldwin and Hogan located the campers and began the walk out to the road. At 1:07 p.m., Ranger Baldwin transported the campers back to their vehicle. The 66-year-old man from Honeoye Falls who had suffered the back injury stated he would seek further medical attention on his own.
Town of Colton St. Lawrence County Wilderness Rescue: On Aug. 26 at 1:20 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a man reporting that his 73-year-old wife had fallen and injured her hip near the Lows Lake Upper Dam. Forest Rangers Benzel and Evans, Assistant Forest Ranger (AFR) Woughter and Long Lake EMS responded to assist. AFR Woughter arrived on scene at 2:40 p.m., and with a coordinated effort with Long Lake EMS, carried the injured woman from Coram out to an ambulance that transported her to a local hospital for medical treatment.
Town of Long Lake Hamilton County Wilderness Search: On August 20 at 2:30 p.m., Hamilton County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch from a lost hiker on Owls Head Mountain in the Sargent Ponds Wild Forest. Forest Rangers Temple, Scott, and DiCintio responded to the trailhead. With no coordinates from the dropped call, New York State Police Aviation was called in with Forest Ranger Praczkajlo to search the marshy areas where the subject was believed to be. Coordinates obtained through a 911 callback placed the hiker in a marshland just off the south side of the mountain. At 6:25 p.m., Dispatch was notified that the 69-year-old hiker from Baltimore, Maryland, had been located and reunited with her family.
Lost hiker assisted by Forest Ranger after being lost in the Sargent Ponds Wild Forest/DEC photo
Town of Franklin Franklin County Wilderness Rescue: On Aug. 14 at 10:11 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a woman reporting that her two friends were overdue from kayaking on Union Falls Pond. The 21-year-old woman and 22-year-old man from New City went to watch the sunset from their kayaks but their friends grew concerned when it got dark because the pair are not familiar with the area. Forest Ranger Baldwin responded to the camp and after interviewing members of the party, determined that the group had found one of the kayaks along the shore. Ranger Baldwin swept the road in the surrounding area before reaching out for assistance. Once cleared of a separate incident, Forest Ranger Praczkajlo responded to assist with the search and was on scene at 12:26 a.m. Forest Rangers fueled up and used the reporting party’s boat and began searching the area where the kayak was found. Rangers turned off the motor and yelled out for the missing kayakers. At 1:12 a.m., the Rangers heard the pair yelling for help from the shore and proceeded to pick them up. The overdue kayakers stated that when one of their kayaks flipped, they panicked and attempted to grab onto the other one, flipping it, and then swam to shore. Rangers Baldwin and Praczkajlo took the two kayakers back to their camp and the incident concluded at 2:18 a.m.
Town of Harrietstown Franklin County Wilderness Rescue: On Aug. 5 at 3:24 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a man reporting that he was stranded with his wife and two granddaughters (10 and 16 years old) on the shore of Middle Saranac Lake. He stated that the wind was too strong to paddle back the way they came. The caller estimated that the group was about a quarter of a mile north of the outlet of Middle and Lower Saranac lakes. Forest Ranger DiCintio responded to assist with the help of DEC Operations staff. Two boats were deployed to the stranded canoeists’ location, one to transport the group of four and the other to tow their canoe and two kayaks. At 6:13 p.m., Ranger DiCintio advised that the group from Cincinnati, Ohio, had been dropped off at the South Creek boat launch where their vehicle was located.
Town of Malta Saratoga County Wildland Helicopter Bucket Training: On July 27, DEC’s Forest Rangers and the Army National Guard Air Assault Battalion out of the Albany Airport conducted specialized wildland firefighting training on Round Lake using two Army UH60-A Blackhawk Helicopters outfitted with 660-gallon Bambi Buckets. Forest Rangers and Army National Guard Crew Chiefs and Pilots simulated aerial firefighting tactics on the lake. Rangers communicated with the pilots from within the helicopter and from the ground, guiding them during a hover of the lake to fill buckets and drop water on a simulated fire line. View the photos on DEC’s Flickr album.
Photo of fire training over Round Lake taken by the New York National Guard
Town of North Elba Essex County Wilderness Rescue: On July 24 at 12:45 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch was contacted about two 19-year-old hikers from Rye, New York, and Louisville, Kentucky, who were trapped on the Western slope of the Trap Dike. Forest Rangers Burns, DiCintio, Mecus, and Praczkajlo responded with the help of the New York State Police Aviation Unit for a hoist rescue operation. Ranger Burns and Climbing Specialist Crofoot flew from Lake Clear to Lake Placid and picked up Forest Rangers Mecus and Praczjaklo at 2:30 p.m. From there, the officers flew and lowered the rescue team to the Trap Dike to the hikers’ location high up on the slide. At 3:30 p.m., contact was made, and using a series of technical rope systems, the hikers were lowered to safety. At approximately 6:30 p.m., the rescue team was at the base of the Trap Dike along with the hikers who were then able to walk out on their own.
Town of North Elba Essex County Wilderness Rescue: On July 18 at 11:30 a.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance for two hikers stuck on the Trap Dike. The hikers exited the Trap Dike too soon and became stranded on the south side. The pair was advised to stay put and not try to go back due to the steepness of the terrain. Two Forest Rangers responded to assist. The Lake Colden caretaker saw the hikers but could not establish voice contact. Forest Rangers and the New York State Police (NYSP) Aviation unit performed a hoist rescue to bring the hikers safely to the base of the Trap Dike so they could hike out. The Lake Colden caretaker then paddled the stranded hikers and Forest Ranger Robbi Mecus to the end of Avalanche Lake where they started the hike back and were out of the woods by 8:02 p.m.Town of North Elba.
Town of Keene Essex County Wilderness Rescue: On July 12 at 10:50 a.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call reporting an injured hiker on Upper Wolfjaw in the Eastern High Peaks. The caller stated he saw a 25-year-old man from Queensbury hiking solo with a knee injury from a fall on wet tree roots. Forest Rangers Kevin Burns, Tom Gliddi, Robbi Mecus, and Scott van Laer and two Assistant Forest Rangers responded. At 3:10 p.m., Ranger Mecus located the injured man just below the summit of Upper Wolfjaw, assessed the injury, and determined a hoist mission was necessary. NYSP Aviation found a break in the cloud cover at 3:50 p.m., and responded to their location for assistance. The hiker was hoisted into the helicopter at 4:10 p.m. by Ranger Burns and transported to a local hospital for further medical treatment.
Hudson River Indian Lake Hamilton County On Sunday, July 5, two Forest Rangers from Region 5 Zone D, Hamilton County, conducted outreach and education for New York State-licensed rafting guides on the Indian/Hudson River. On this day, 182 customers hired licensed guides to raft them down the Indian and Hudson River Gorge. Rangers inspected 40 licensed guides, educating and assisting them with any violations observed.
Town of Keene Essex County Wilderness Rescue: On June 30 at 7:48 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a hiker reporting that her hiking partner was overdue coming off Lower Wolfjaw Mountain. The hiker had last seen her friend at a junction labeled for Lower Wolfjaw on their descent at approximately 4:45 p.m., when the caller took both of their gear and proceeded ahead to make things easier for her slower companion. Forest Ranger Rob Praczkajlo headed to the security house at the Ausable Club and proceeded to drive down the lake road to the start of the Wedge Brook trail for Upper and Lower Wolfjaw. At 10:05 p.m., Ranger Praczkajlo advised that he was with the 45-year-old hiker from Gloversville. The woman had hiked down the trail and followed Wedge Brook, off trail, down to the Ausable River. A group of hikers found her at the river and assisted her back to the trail where they were met by Ranger Praczkajlo who then escorted her down to the lake road and gave her a courtesy ride to join her friend at the gate house.
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