Ranger searches & rescues

Recent missions carried out by DEC forest rangers for the week of May 22 through 28 include:

Oneida County


Training: The New York state Incident Management Team is a Type 2 all-hazard incident management unit designed to assist command personnel and emergency managers with ensuring a prompt, efficient, and organized response to emergency incidents and disasters. This team is highly-trained at using the national incident command system to assist state and local governments during an emergency or planned event. The IMT is an interagency team coordinated by the New York state Office of Emergency Management and includes personnel from various state, county, and local agencies representing a variety of disciplines. Five DEC forest rangers are members of this team. Beginning May 22, the team held four days of training and exercises at the state Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany. The exercise simulated a large flooding event in Oneida County. Team members exercised communications and emerging technologies and advanced their emergency management skill sets.

Jefferson County


Burning hay bales: On May 23, Jefferson County Fire Coordinators requested DEC forest rangers to assist the LaFargeville Fire Department to extinguish a large pile of burning hay bales on the Perch River Wildlife Management Area. Approximately 300 large square bales weighing 1,000 pounds each and stacked in a single row 100 feet long and 12 feet high had been stored in a hay field prior to being moved off-site.

Firefighting efforts were difficult because of the bales’ remote location and the depth of the pile. A DEC excavator was used to break apart the bales and allow the water and Class A firefighting foam to penetrate the pile and extinguish the fire. By May 25, the fire was extinguished. DEC’s Bureau of Environmental Crimes Investigation is investigating how the fire began.

St. Lawrence County


Meth lab discovery: On May 25, forest rangers discovered evidence and debris associated with homemade methamphetamine production at a campsite in Aldrich Pond Wild Forest. State police were called in to process the scene and dispose of the highly hazardous paraphernalia.

Hamilton County


Runaway: On May 26, three forest rangers assisted Hamilton County sheriffs deputies with finding a runaway 11-year-old from Wells School. The child ran off into the nearby woods, and within 90 minutes he was found walking along a road.

Oswego County


Meth lab paraphernalia: On May 27, a forest ranger on foot patrol in the Salmon River State Forest discovered evidence and debris associated with homemade methamphetamine production. State police were called in to process the scene and dispose of theparaphernalia. This marks the fourth occurrence of discovering similar debris on state lands in northern and central portions of the state within the past three weeks.

Sullivan County


Search: On May 27, three campers at Mongaup Pond Campground planned a short hike to Frick Pond. The mother of one of the campers became concerned when the trio had not returned by 7 p.m., and contacted the campground staff.

Forest rangers David Meade and Alex Virkler began searching the trails with ATVs. Once cell phone connection was made with one of the three hikers, the subjects’ approximate location was determined.

By 9:30 p.m., Virkler had found the three hikers on the edge of a neighboring town. Apparently, the subjects took a wrong trail and hiked seven miles in the wrong direction.

Warren County


Search: On May 27, forest rangers assisted Warren County emergency services with finding a 77-year-old Thurman man who became disoriented while walking his dog on nearby logging trails. The Warren County dispatcher told the man to stay put and searchers would find him. By using his cell phone coordinates, it did not take long to track the subject. Within an hour, the man was found and escorted out of the woods.

Lewis County


Search: On May 27, forest ranger Luke Evans was notified by Lewis County 911 that a 67-year-old woman was lost on the Lewis County Recreation Lands while foraging for moss. She became disoriented and was in need of assistance to return to her car. The 911 dispatcher provided the woman’s cell phone coordinates for Evans and he located her soon thereafter. Within 90 minutes of her call, she was back at her car.

Essex County


Rescue: On May 27 at 11 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch was notified of two hikers lost on the summit of Allen Mountain. One of the hikers, a 70-year-old Utica man, was suffering from exhaustion from the bushwhack hike to the trail-less peak. His hiking companion stayed with the Utica man while the other group members completed the 18-mile round trip to call for assistance.

Forest rangers Jacob Deslauriers and Del Jeffery located the men at 6:30 the next morning, approximately two miles from the trailhead. The two hikers had descended from the summit beginning the night before and were walking out slowly. After some fresh water and food, the two were escorted out of the forest by the rangers and did not require medical treatment.

Hamilton County

Indian Lake

Search: On May 28 at 9 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Hamilton County 911 reporting five hikers who lost the trail on Snowy Mountain while descending.

Coordinates from the 911 center placed the group about one mile from the summit of Snowy Mountain in a seasonal stream that leads to Beaver Brook on the north side of the mountain.

By 11:30 p.m., rangers Gary Miller and Jason Scott located the group and escorted the four New Jersey and one New York City residents back to their car by 12:30 a.m.

Orange County


Fugitive arrest: On May 28, a DEC forest ranger apprehended two minors illegally operating ATVs on Huckleberry Ridge State Forest; a third ATV fled the scene. As the two youths were being turned over to their parents, the third operator returned to the scene without his ATV. After being detained and determining his identity, the 44-year-old man was arrested on an outstanding warrant in Pennsylvania and turned over to state police.

Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hiking Safety web page and Adirondack backcountry information web page for more information.


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