DEC forest rangers rescues
ALBANY — New York state Department of Environmental Conservation 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.
Recent missions carried out by DEC Forest Rangers for the week of Jan. 31 through Feb. 4 include:
Search: On Jan. 31 at 6:03 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook dispatch received a call from Washington County 911 stating there was a 16-year-old male who had not returned from his hike on The Nature Conservancy Trail off Pilot Knob Road.
The subject became separated from the rest of his group during the hike. After an hour of waiting, the group called 911 for help. Three forest rangers responded to the trailhead parking area and began searching the immediate area.
Another ranger was driving to the trailhead when he located the subject walking down Route 9L. The ranger picked up the subject and brought him back to the parking area where his group was waiting for him.
All units were clear by 8:30 p.m.
Assistance: At approximately 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 1, Dutchess County 911 notified Central dispatch two hikers were requesting assistance on Stissing Mountain. The subjects had hiked to the fire tower and were having difficulty coming down the trail due to icy conditions. Two Rangers responded, located the subjects at the fire tower, provided additional equipment and assisted them back to the trailhead. All units were clear at approximately 10:30 p.m.
Assistance: On Feb. 3 at 1:26 p.m., a ranger responded to a report of a 14-year-old male trapped under a log. Upon arrival, the subject had been partially extricated from the woods by members of his family. However, the individual was declared dead at the scene by the town EMS medical director. The boy had been helping his father transport logs out of the woods when the father’s horse-drawn cart tipped over. A log was thrown from the cart and landed on the boy. The Ranger assisted the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Department with its investigation.
Rescue: On Feb. 4 at 3:14 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook dispatch received a call from Gore Mountain Ski Patrol requesting assistance for two skiers who got lost off the Black Mountain Brook run on the back side of the Chatiemack Trail.
The two 16-year-old boys were able to send coordinates from their phones to DEC dispatch. The subjects hunkered down behind a large log with food and proper clothing.
Two rangers responded and began hiking in while two additional rangers staged at the trailhead. The rangers were able to locate the subjects in good condition. The rangers assisted the subjects back to the Gore Mountain Lodge.
All units were clear by 7:18 p.m.
Rescue: On Feb. 4, at 3:11 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook dispatch received a call from the Adirondack Loj caretaker reporting that two women hiking with their dogs on Algonquin Mountain had lost the trail. Subjects encountered white-out conditions and could not find the trail off the summit back to Lake Colden. The hikers continued to walk downhill trying to find the trail. The two women had snowshoes but minimal equipment.
Four rangers with snowmobiles headed up the Indian Pass Trail toward Scott’s Clearing.
Four additional rangers were requested and responded to the Loj.
At 8:53 p.m. Ray Brook received a radio transmission from the rangers stating they established voice contact with the subjects. Ray Brook received another transmission at 8:58 p.m. that they located both subjects in good health.
The rangers brought the subjects to Scott’s Lean-to to rehydrate them. They were then assisted to the trailhead via ranger snowmobiles.
All units were out of the woods at 11:11 p.m.
Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hiking Safety web page and Adirondack Backcountry Information webpage for more information.