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For Release: Monday, March 28, 2016

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Search and Rescue Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 3/21-3/27/16

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 Keene
Giant Mountain Wilderness
Unprepared for Icy Conditions:
On March 27, 2016, at 8:35 a.m., Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch from four hikers stuck on Giant Mountain. The hikers - two 23-year old men and a 22-year old man from Hudson Falls, NY and a 20-year old woman from Ft. Edward, NY - had parked along Rt. 73 at 3 a.m. to climb Giant Mountain to watch the sunrise. The group bushwhacked from the road, passing the lower and upper Washbowls, before eventually hitting the Ridge Trail to the summit of Giant Mountain. After leaving the summit and beginning their descent, the group called for assistance as they were unable to continue on the icy trail without crampons or microspikes. 911 coordinates confirmed the group was near the summit. Four DEC Forest Rangers responded, first locating their vehicle on Rt. 73 between the Roaring Brook Falls and Ridge Trailheads. Rangers located the group at 2:00 p.m. on the Ridge Trail. They escorted the group back to the trailhead and their vehicle. One male hiker fell and hit his head between the 911 call and the Forest Rangers locating them, but he refused suggestions to seek immediate medical care. The group was released to return home at 4:30 p.m.

Town of Newcomb
Private Lands
Lost Hiker:
On March 27, at 3:45 p.m., Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC Ray Brook Dispatch reporting a lost hiker on Goodnow Mountain. Essex County 911 could not obtain location coordinates for the lost hikers' phone due to limited cell service so a DEC dispatcher instructed the 61-year-old woman from Saranac Lake, NY on how to use the compass application on her cell phone to obtain coordinates for the responding Forest Ranger. The Ranger located the hiker in good condition off trail on Goodnow Mountain at 6:00 p.m. and escorted her back to her vehicle at 6:30 p.m.

Town of North Elba
Saranac Lake Wild Forest
Lost Hikers:
On March 27, 2016, at 5:00 p.m. Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC Ray Brook Dispatch reporting two lost hikers on Scarface Mountain. An 18-year-old man from East Longmeadow, MA, and a 19-year-old woman from Mt. Laurel, NJ, called for assistance after being lost on the mountain for two hours. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded and arrived at the Scarface Mountain Trailhead at 5:25 p.m. They located the hikers at the coordinates provided by 911 at 7:10 p.m. in good health. Rangers escorted them back to the trailhead at 8:20 p.m.

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

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