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For Release: Monday, January 25, 2016

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Search and Rescue Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 1/18-1/24/16

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."

Recent missions carried out by DEC Forest Rangers include:

Essex County
Town of North Elba
High Peaks Wilderness
Distressed ice climber:
On January 23, 2016 at 1:30 p.m., the Lake Colden Caretaker notified DEC Ray Brook Dispatch of a distressed ice climber. The 51-year-old man from Bel Air, MD became dizzy and disoriented, and fainted while ascending the Trap Dike. He regained consciousness, but remained disoriented. Climbing partners assisted him to the base of the first pitch. A group of Wilderness First Responders and the Lake Colden Caretaker assessed him at that location. They decided to take him out to Marcy Dam for DEC Forest Rangers to conduct a secondary assessment and then escorted him back to the parking area at Adirondak Loj. The man declined additional medical treatment. The incident concluded at 4:11 p.m.

Town of North Elba
High Peaks Wilderness
Injured ice climber:
On January 23, 2016 at 4:27 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call requesting assistance for an injured ice climber. The 40-year-old man from Stanford, CT fell approximately 100 feet while climbing Pitchoff North Ice Face, on the Screw & Climaxe route. The man suffered serious leg injuries. Members of his climbing party managed to lower him down to the base of the climb and keep him warm until DEC Forest Rangers arrived on scene. Forest Rangers, along with a Lake Placid Ambulance medic hiked into the climber's location. At 5:34 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch learned that additional resources were needed for a technical rescue operation. Three Forest Rangers responded along with a technical rope rescue climber. Rescue personnel stabilized the injured climber and prepared him for extraction. They performed a low angle rescue and brought the man out by rescue sled to Lake Placid EMS, which transported him to Adirondack Health Center Saranac Lake. New York State Police assisted with traffic control on Route 73 during the incident. The incident concluded at 9:30 p.m.

Hamilton County
Town of Indian Lake
Jessup River Wild Forest
Overdue snowmobiler:
On January 23, 2016 at 8:30 p.m., New York State Police contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch reporting an overdue snowmobiler. A pair of snowmobilers were riding on Indian Lake when one sled began to experience mechanical issues. The rider of the functioning snowmobile decided to head back to Speculator where their vehicle was parked, trailer his sled and drive to the Indian Lake Boat Launch to meet up. When he reached the boat launch his companion was not there. New York State Police and a DEC Forest Ranger responded to help with the search. They located the broken down snowmobile, but not the rider. They followed footprints and located the rider a short distance away. He had become disoriented and was not able to find his way to the boat launch. They provided him with a ride back to the launch and towed his snowmobile to that location. The rider did not suffer any injuries. The incident concluded at 11:00 p.m.

Six DEC Forest Rangers also responded to New York City and Long Island this weekend to help ensure public safety from the massive snowstorm. Rangers on snowmobiles and ATV's patrolled the Long Island region and Staten Island, starting Friday evening, and there were no significant incidents to report.
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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