The following are forest ranger highlights provided by the state Department of Environmental Conservation on May 19.
Town of Chesterfield
Wilderness Rescue: On May 17 at 10:10 a.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a group of hikers on Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain. The caller said a 16-year-old female in the group fell, hurt her ankle, and could not continue down the mountain. Forest Ranger Lt. Brian Dubay and Forest Rangers Sarah Bode, Marie Arnold, Robbi Mecus, and Jared Booth responded. At 2:20 p.m., Rangers placed the hiker from Chazy in a UTV and started down the mountain. At 2:45 p.m., the group was back to the trailhead and the hiker advised she would seek medical attention on her own for the ankle injury.
Forest Rangers Jared Booth and Lt. Brian Dubay carry out an injured hiker on Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain
Town of Bolton
Wilderness Rescue: On May 17 at 9:09 p.m., Warren County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch from a hiker separated from his hiking partner on the Cat and Thomas Trail. One hiker went further ahead and failed to meet up on Cat Mountain. After a brief FaceTime conversation, one of the hikers realized that the other, a 26-year-old man from Queensbury, was lost with no equipment or headlamp and only 30 percent left on his phone for a light. Forest Rangers Hannah O’Connor and Chuck Kabrehl responded to the trailhead and followed 911 coordinates that placed the missing hiker halfway along the ridge trail between Cat and Thomas mountains. The hiker was told to continue south along the trail to meet up with the Forest Rangers coming to assist him. At one point, the hiker became disoriented along the trail and again reached out for help. Rangers told the subject to remain in place. At 10:55 p.m., Rangers located the hiker and walked him out to the Edgecomb Pond Trailhead.
Town of Bolton
Wilderness Rescue: On May 13 at 5:20 p.m., Warren County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch from two hikers who became disoriented on the trail for Thomas and Cat mountains and needed assistance. The 76-year-old man and 69-year-old woman from Moreau stated that they intended to hike Thomas Mountain and return to their vehicle at the Route 11 trailhead. Recognizing they were lost with limited supplies, the hikers decided to call 911. Warren County 911 provided Rangers with coordinates that placed the pair south of Thomas Mountain, closer to Cat Mountain. Forest Ranger Hannah O’Connor spoke to the couple on the phone and advised them to take the blue marked trail while Forest Ranger Marie Arnold proceeded on foot to intercept them. Ranger Arnold began from Edgecomb Pond and reached one of the hikers who told her the other had continued ahead north on the trail. Dispatch contacted the other hiker and, per Ranger Arnold, advised the subject to turn around and head back the way they came. Once reunited, Ranger Arnold escorted the pair back out to the trailhead where they were met by Ranger O’Connor, who assisted them the rest of the way via an ATV. The couple was out of the woods by 8:57 p.m.
Town of Wilmington
Multiple Agency Training: On May 13, DEC Forest Rangers, Troopers with the New York State Police’s dive team, and the Wilmington Volunteer Fire Department conducted a joint training on the West Branch of the Ausable River at the Flume in Wilmington. The training focused on preparing for rescues at this popular recreation site. The training drew upon the technical rescue, swift-water rescue, and underwater capabilities of each agency. Preplanning allows for a more organized and effective emergency response. The Flume is a popular swimming destination that has seen many preventable accidents in recent years.
DEC Forest Rangers and NYSP Dive Team hold training exercise at Ausable River, Essex County
Town of Keene
Wilderness Rescue: On May 16 at 6:36 p.m., Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch reporting a 20-year-old Syracuse man lost on Giant Mountain. The man was hiking with a group when he chose to head back down while his companions continued to the summit. The man reported that he was having difficulty following the trail and not prepared for the icy conditions. Essex County 911 provided coordinates that placed the hiker near Putnam Brook. Forest Ranger Robbi Mecus responded to the Roaring Brook Falls trailhead to assist the hiker but did not find him when he reached the location. Ranger Mecus requested a second attempt to get the missing man’s coordinates, which placed him on a ridge west of Roaring Brook. Ranger Mecus located the hiker at 8:14 p.m., and escorted him back to the trail and out of the woods. Once back at the trailhead, the hiker was reunited with the rest of his group.
Town of Arietta
Wilderness Rescue: On May 16 at 6:55 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a group of seven hikers requesting assistance after losing the trail while hiking to T Lake Falls and were requesting assistance. Dispatch advised the hikers to call Hamilton County 911 to get their coordinates, which placed them on Mill stream. Forest Ranger Melissa Milano responded to the trailhead for T Lake Falls and requested Dispatch to call the group and advise them to stay where they were. At 8:45 p.m., Ranger Milano made verbal contact, located the group, and escorted the group out of the woods by bushwhacking to the road where their vehicles were parked. The group was out of the woods by 11 p.m.