Forest Ranger searches & rescues

Recent missions carried out by DEC Forest Rangers between Aug. 13 to Aug. 19 include:

Southern Tier & Finger Lakes Flooding

Broome County

Rescue: Due to excessive rains, flooding occurred in multiple locations in New York’s Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions last week.

In response, DEC deployed two swiftwater teams that included four airboats, kayaks/rafts, and 20 Forest Rangers trained in water rescues.

On Aug. 14, the teams conducted multiple rescues in the town of Conklin while assisting local authorities.

On Aug. 16, the teams surveyed the Susquehanna River looking for hazards and infrastructure damage.

On Aug. 17, an airboat team assisted the New York State Department of Transportation with a bridge inspection in the town of Conklin.

The bridge over Snake Creek was reportedly damaged by flood water.

Seneca County

Flood recovery effort: On Aug. 14, the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) activated the State Incident Management Team to respond to flooding in the Finger Lakes region.

This multi-agency team helps provide additional command and control during large-scale emergency operations.

Four forest rangers were assigned to the team in a variety of roles, including deputy incident commander, planning section chief, situation unit leader, and logistics section chief. The team is helping to manage the recovery operations in Seneca County.

Town of Indian Lake

Hamilton County

Rescue: On Aug. 16 at 10:45 a.m., Ranger Bruce Lomnitzer was on water patrol on the Indian River when he observed a 63-year-old male subject from Bethesda, MD, struggling after he capsized his boat on the Indian River.

The subject unsuccessfully tried to swim ashore in Class 3 rapids. Lomnitzer retrieved subject and brought him to shore before going after the subject’s gear and boat, which the ranger successfully retrieved.

Town of North Elba

Essex County

Rescue: On Aug. 16 at 2:29 p.m., DEC Dispatch received a request for assistance for a 59-year-old male from Brandon, Vt., who sustained a knee injury below Wright Peak on the Algonquin Trail. The knee injury was non-ambulatory.

Forest rangers were assembled for a rescue mission and state police Aviation was contacted for a possible hoist mission to retrieve the subject.

Rangers assembled at the Lake Placid Airport, where the helicopter met them for the hoist operation. One ranger was inserted by helicopter and reached the subject at 3:30 p.m. The subject was hoisted out at 3:40 p.m., and lifted to AMC Saranac Lake for treatment.

Town of Lake George

Warren County

Search: On Aug. 17 at 1:50 p.m., Ray Brook Dispatch was contacted by the Glen Island Caretaker.

The caretaker had received a broken cell call advising that a 5-year-old female from Barton was separated from her family near the summit of Black Mountain. Forest rangers were dispatched to Black Mountain and Black Mountain Point.

One ranger was transported by Lake George Park Commission to Black Mountain Point and searched the mountain from the west side. A second ranger proceeded up the mountain from the east side. Three additional rangers were inserted at the summit by helicopter and worked their way down.

An additional ranger proceeded up the Pike Brook Road Trail. During the search, the subject was located in good health at 3:34 p.m. near the shoreline of Black Mountain Point.

The subject advised the rangers that she became separated from her siblings and continued downhill. She was located in good condition, but wet and cold from recent rains. She was warmed up, fed, and rehydrated prior to her family’s arrival.

Town of Long Lake

Hamilton County

Bear issues: In response to reports of increased black bear activity earlier in the week, Forest Ranger Jim Waters was assigned to patrol DEC’s Golden Beach Campground on Raquette Lake.

During the early morning hours of Aug. 17, Waters observed a large bear at the campground. Waters successfully hazed the bear to discourage it from foraging for food. The bear quickly left the campground. Forest Ranger patrols continue to be assigned to Golden Beach Campground to monitor bear activity.