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For Release: Monday, November 16, 2015

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Search and Rescue Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 11/9 - 11/15/15

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.

"Across New York, DEC's Forest Rangers' are on the front lines helping people safely enjoy the great outdoors," said Acting DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "Their knowledge of first aid, land navigation and technical rescue techniques are critical to the success of their missions which take them from remote wilderness areas, with rugged mountainous peaks to white-water rivers, and throughout our vast forested areas statewide. We are happy to celebrate their successful accomplishments this week."

Recent missions carried out by DEC Forest Rangers include:

Essex County

Town of Keene
High Peaks Wilderness
Injured Hiker:
On November 15, 2015, at 5:45 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a request to assist a 25-year-old woman from Quebec, Canada with a lower leg injury on the Ore Bed Trail, one mile above the Ore bed Lean-to. Members of the woman's hiking group carried her down the trail and to the John's Brook Outpost and put a splint on her leg. Three DEC Forest Rangers, one on foot and two on an ATV, met the group at the outpost at 7:40 p.m. At 8:36 p.m., Forest Rangers transported the woman by ATV to the Garden Trailhead and down Smith Road to a waiting Keene Valley Ambulance. At 10:00 p.m., the ambulance transported the woman to the Elizabethtown Community Hospital for further medical treatment.

Franklin County

Town of Duane
Debar Mountain Wild Forest
Lost Runner:
On November 10, 2015, at 5:30 p.m., the Malone Central School District's bus garage contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch reporting a coach for a school team lost in the Meacham Lake Area. The 45-year-old man from Norwood, NY was practicing with the Franklin Academy cross-country team at the DEC Meacham Lake Campground, but did not return to the bus with the team and another coach as planned. With no cell phone service, the bus left with the students and reported the missing coach to the school bus garage. The second coach remained at the scene. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded to the location at 6:15 p.m. They interviewed the second coach and learned that the missing man was last seen at 4:30 p.m. at the start of an old trail that leads from the campground. The Rangers searched campground roads and trails with no success. One Forest Ranger then proceeded along the Meacham Lake shoreline and up to a ridgeline. Once up on the ridgeline, the Forest Ranger heard the man calling out. The Forest Ranger followed the voice and located the man at 9:15 p.m. in a wetland 1.5 miles from where he was last seen. The man said he followed the trail until it got dark and then stopped and leaned up against a small tree to rest. The tree fell over, startling a nearby black bear the man had not noticed. He backed away from the bear slowly, but lost the trail in the dark. The Forest Ranger provided the man with dry clothes and escorted him back to the campground at 10:15 p.m. St. Regis Falls EMS assessed him and then released him.

Warren County

Lake George
Lost Hunter:
On November 15th, 2015, at 4:30 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call requesting assistance in locating an overdue hunter in the Lake George Wild Forest near Lily Pond in the Town of Horicon, Warren County. The 83-year-old man from Troy, NY failed to meet his hunting party at a designated location and time. Four DEC Forest Rangers responded to Lily Pond and searched the area until midnight with no results. Today November 16, 2015, search efforts continue with seven Forest Rangers and a New York State Police Aviation Unit helicopter. As of 11:00 a.m. the hunter has not been located.

Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC's Hiking Safety webpage and Adirondack Trail Information webpage for more information.

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