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For Release: Monday, August 17, 2015

Adirondack Forest Ranger Search and Rescue Highlights: 8/10-8/16/15

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.

"DEC Forest Rangers' knowledge of first aid, land navigation and technical rescue techniques are often critical to the success of their missions," said Acting DEC Commissioner Marc Gerstman. "Search and rescue missions often require Rangers to function in remote wilderness areas from rugged mountainous peaks to white-water rivers, and through vast forest areas from spruce-fir thicket to open hardwoods."

Recent missions carried out by DEC Forest Rangers in the Adirondacks include:

Essex County
Town of Keene
Giant Mountain Wilderness
Injured hiker:
On August 11, 2015 at 5:10 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance for a 20-year-old woman with a head injury at the top of Roaring Brook Falls. The woman's companion reported that she was currently resting in her tent but needed help. DEC Forest Rangers responded to Roaring Brook Falls, located the woman at 6 p.m. and carried her down to a waiting Keene Valley Ambulance. The ambulance transported her to Elizabethtown Hospital for treatment. The incident concluded at 7:15 p.m.

Town of Newcomb
High Peaks Wilderness
Distressed hikers:
On August 11, 2015 at 12:21 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a woman on a satellite phone reporting she and her group of six people were stuck on Hanging Spear Falls, which they had accessed through the Flowed Lands. The group from SUNY Cortland's Camp Huntington consisted of three men and three women ranging in age from 21 to 27. DEC Forest Rangers hiked the two miles into Hanging Spear Falls and found the six individuals trapped at the base of the falls. Rangers used a system of rope riggings and harnesses to bring each person out of the canyon and to the top of the falls where they were given blankets to stay warm. Once rescued, Rangers released the group back to their campsite. The entire rescue operation lasted eight hours. The incident concluded at 8:30 p.m.

Town of North Elba
High Peaks Wilderness
Injured hiker:
On August 15, 2015 at 1:18 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance for an injured 19-year-old man from State College, PA at the Upper Phelps junction. One DEC Forest Ranger, one Assistant Forest Ranger, and a Summit Steward responded to organize a carry out plan. As the carry out was prepared, the weather broke and Forest Rangers decided the best course of action was a hoist evacuation by helicopter. One Forest Ranger was inserted and prepped the man to be hoisted out at 4:00 p.m. He was transported to AMC Saranac Lake for treatment at 5:06 p.m. The incident concluded at 5:30 p.m.

Town of Keene
High Peaks Wilderness
Injured hiker:
On August 15, 2015 at 5:15 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from John's Brook Outpost reporting an injured 60-year-old New York woman located one mile up from the Slant Rock Junction on the Shorty Short Trail in John's Brook Valley. An Assistant Forest Ranger responded from John's Brook outpost. The Ranger hiked all the way to the junction of Basin and Haystack but could not locate the injured hiker. Two additional Forest Rangers were dispatched at 6:15 p.m. to travel by ATV to John's Brook to follow the Assistant Forest Ranger towards Slant Rock Lean-to. Another hiking party later reported that the injured woman was not on the Shorty Short trail but was above the Slant Rock Lean-to on the red trail (Phelps) but before the Little Haystack/Little Marcy Junction. The Assistant Forest Rangers located the woman at 9:35 p.m. Rangers evaluated and stabilized her with a plan to hoist her out by helicopter at first light. On Sunday morning, New York State Police Aviation and Forest Rangers managed to extract the woman and transported her to AMC Saranac Lake without further incident.
Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC's Hiking Safety and Adirondack Trail Information webpage for more information.

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