The state’s forest rangers have busy again this year. Following is the department’s news release on the rangers’ activity for the week of September 25 through October 1.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents statewide. Working with other state agencies, local emergency response organizations, and volunteer search and rescue groups, Forest Rangers locate and extract lost, injured, or distressed people from the backcountry.
In 2016, DEC Forest Rangers conducted 356 search and rescue missions, extinguished 185 wildfires that burned a total of 4,191 acres, and worked on cases that resulted in nearly 3,000 tickets or arrests.
“Across New York, DEC Forest Rangers are on the front lines helping people safely enjoy the great outdoors,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Their knowledge of first aid, land navigation, and technical rescue techniques is critical to the success of their missions, which take them from remote wilderness areas, with rugged mountainous peaks, to white-water rivers, and throughout our vast forested areas statewide.”
Recent missions carried out by DEC Forest Rangers include:
Out-of-State Wildland Fire Assistance
This week, three Forest Rangers returned from assignments assisting with wildland fire suppression in western states over the last two weeks. Forest Ranger Robbi Mecus, from Essex County, was a Resource Unit Leader trainee promoted to Plans Section Chief trainee for the North Pelican Fire in the Freemont/Winema National Forest in Oregon. Forest Ranger Michael Thompson from Fulton County served as the Crew Boss, and Forest Ranger Evan Donegan from Warren County was a Squad Boss for a 20-person interagency crew from several northeastern states assigned to the Moose Peak Fire in Montana.
Town of Saranac Lake
Rescue: On Sept. 25, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call transferred from Franklin County 911 regarding a 42-year-old woman who fell and sustained an ankle injury while hiking Baker Mountain in Saranac Lake. Three Rangers responded and worked with Saranac Lake EMS to stabilize the patient. Once stabilized, Rangers and Saranac Lake Fire and EMS carried the woman out to a waiting ambulance. The subject was then taken to Adirondack Medical Center-Saranac Lake for further medical treatment.
Town of Waverly
Search: On Sept. 25, New York State Police contacted Region 5 Forest Ranger Captain John Streiff regarding a missing 47-year-old woman in the town of Waverly. The subject was last seen the day before when she left her home around 6:45 p.m. Rangers responded to the subject’s last known location and began searching the immediate area. The subject was located and taken to a local hospital for further evaluation.
Town of Keene
Search: On Sept. 26, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a radio transmission from Johns Brook Lodge requesting assistance in locating a 79-year-old woman overdue from her day hike. According to the woman’s son, the subject had planned to hike to the Howard lean-to near Johns Brook. The son was able to provide dispatch with track history information from a Spot Locator Beacon. Rangers located the woman in the area provided by the device and assisted her to the Howard lean-to, where she was reunited with her family.
Town of North Elba
Rescue: On Sept. 29 at 4:15 p.m., Ray Brook Dispatch received a transferred call from Essex County 911 for a 42-year-old woman from Brockport who had fallen approximately 25 feet on Haystack Mountain in the McKenzie Wilderness Area near Ray Brook. The subject sustained serious injuries and required medical attention. Rangers on the ground reached the subject just southwest of the summit at 7:15 p.m. She was packaged and carried down the mountain. Rope systems were used to lower the subject on steep parts of the trail. The subject was transferred to an all-terrain vehicle on the Jack Rabbit Trail to Whiteface Inn Road. From there, she was taken by Lake Placid Ambulance to Adirondack Medical Center-Saranac Lake for treatment. The incident concluded at 10 p.m.
Town of Warrensburg
Search: On Sept. 29 at 6:43 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a transferred call from Warren County 911 stating that four 16-year-old subjects were lost on Hackensack Mountain. Subjects did not have lights, water, or food, and their only cell phone was dying. The call dropped off before a dispatcher could get more information. Rangers responded and an extensive search of Hackensack Mountain obtained negative results. Rangers covered the ridge trail, summited the mountain, and searched all trails in the town park with negative results. Rangers expanded the search to nearby snowmobile and lodging trails. The individuals were located at 12:19 a.m. on Sept. 30, in good condition. The teenagers had become confused by a network of private all-terrain vehicle trails and were more than a mile north of the mountain. Rangers escorted the subjects to the road, where they were reunited with their families.
Town of North Elba
Rescue: At noon on Sept. 30, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a report of a consistent cry for help in the Avalanche Pass area in the High Peaks. Lake Colden and Marcy Dam caretakers were dispatched to investigate from their outposts while a Forest Ranger interviewed the reporting party for more information. At 12:55 p.m., the Marcy Dam caretaker reported by radio that he located a 15-year-old female with a lower leg injury. The subject was hiking the Boundary Trail about 3/4 mile from the Lake Colden Outpost. The caretaker splinted the subject’s leg and, with Forest Rangers, carried the subject to Lake Colden outpost. New York State Police Aviation with a Ranger crew on board landed at the Lake Colden Outpost to transport the individual out of the wilderness.
Town of Wilmington
Search: On Sept. 30, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Plattsburgh University Campus security stating two Plattsburgh students were lost on Whiteface Mountain. Ray Brook contacted the subjects and obtained coordinates from the one of their cell phones. A Forest Ranger responded on Whiteface Memorial Highway, contacted the subjects by phone, and advised them which direction to travel. The Ranger used sound to attract the individuals to the road. Once roadside, the subjects were transported back to their vehicle.
Town of North Hudson
Rescue: On Oct. 1 at 6:08 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a woman whose father was in distress and unable to finish the hike down from Mt. Marcy. Essex County 911 obtained the caller’s coordinates and located the individual just below Phelps Mountain. One Ranger responded via an all-terrain vehicle and assisted the subject down to his vehicle at the ADK Loj.
Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hiking Safety (http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28708.html) and Adirondack Backcountry Information (http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7865.html) webpage for more information.