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For Release: Monday, August 22, 2016

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Search and Rescue Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 8/15 - 8/21/16

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 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
Adirondack Mountain Reserve
Injured hiker:
On August 16, 2016 at 1:09 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance from the Adirondack Mountain Reserve (AMR) for a 66-year-old man from Valley Field, QC, CA with a lower-leg injury at Beaver Meadow Falls. One DEC Forest Ranger responded, stabilized the injury and assisted the man out to his vehicle. He said he would seek medical attention on his own. The incident concluded at 3:53 p.m.

Town of Keene
High Peaks Wilderness
Injured hiker:
On August 20, 2016 at 4:00 a.m., DEC Central Dispatch received a request for assistance from a fellow hiker for a 37-year-old man from Brooklyn, NY with a leg injury on the Ore Bed Trail in John's Brook Valley. The injury occurred the previous evening at around 8:00 p.m. and the man needed assistance. A team of DEC Forest Rangers, Assistant Forest Rangers, and a Summit Steward responded and hiked up the trail. A second team of Forest Rangers organized a helicopter evacuation with New York State Police Aviation. Upon locating the injured man from the air, a Forest Ranger was inserted to prepare the man for evacuation. They flew him to Marcy Field to be transferred to a waiting Keene Valley Ambulance. The ambulance transported him to an area hospital for additional medical treatment. The incident concluded at 11:30 a.m. A DEC Environmental Conservation Officer assisted in the rescue.

Town of North Elba
High Peaks Wilderness
Distressed hiker:
On August 20, 2016 at 1:18 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance from the hiking companion of a 67-year-old man from Bennington, VT in medical distress. The man was at Indian Falls heading toward the summit of Mount Marcy. The Marcy Dam caretaker and the Mount Marcy summit steward assisted the man to Marcy Dam where he was met by DEC Forest Rangers and taken by Utility Terrain Vehicle to Adirondak Loj. He said he would seek medical care on his own.

Town of North Elba
High Peaks Wilderness
Distressed hiker:
On August 20, 2016 at 2:25 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance from an Assistant Forest Ranger (AFR) via radio transmission for a 50-year-old woman in medical distress near Marcy Dam. The AFR stabilized the woman and assisted her to Marcy Dam where she was met by DEC Forest Rangers and taken by Utility Terrain Vehicle to Adirondak Loj.

Town of Keene
High Peaks Wilderness
Injured hiker:
On August 20, 2016 at 2:38 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance from Essex county 911 for a 29-year-old man from Plattsburgh, NY with a lower-leg injury on Cascade Mountain. A DEC Forest Ranger and an Assistant Forest Ranger responded, stabilized the injury and assisted him down the trail to the trailhead. He said he would seek medical attention on his own.

Town of North Elba
High Peaks Wilderness
Injured hiker:
On August 20, 2016 at 5:50 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a radio transmission from an Assistant Forest Ranger (AFR) stating she was on her way to assist a 52-year-old woman from Buffalo, NY with a lower-leg injury approximately 1/2 mile from Marcy Dam. The AFR assisted the woman to Marcy Dam where she was met by a Forest Ranger and taken by Utility Terrain Vehicle to Adirondak Loj. The incident concluded at 7:16 p.m.

Town of Keene
Adirondack Mountain Reserve
Overdue hikers:
On August 20, 2016 at 11:56 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance from a friend of a missing hiking party. The party; a 71-year-old man and a 71-year-old woman, both from Camillus, NY, a 72-year-old man, 73-year-old man, and a 53-year-old woman, all from Syracuse, NY were overdue from hiking the West River trail. DEC Forest Rangers responded to the Adirondack Mountain Reserve (AMR), located the group and assisted them to the trailhead. Forest Rangers provided a courtesy ride via Ranger truck to AMR. The incident concluded on August 21 at 4:47 a.m.

Hamilton County

Town of Indian Lake
Hudson Gorge Wilderness
Injured hiker:
On August 20, 2016 at 11:26 a.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance for a 58-year-old woman from Ballston Lake, NY with a non-weight bearing lower-leg injury two miles in on the OK Slip Falls trail. DEC Forest Rangers responded, stabilized the injury and assisted the woman to the trailhead. She said she would seek medical attention on her own. The incident concluded at 3:26 p.m.

Herkimer County

Town of Ohio
Black River Wild Forest
Injured camper:
On August 20, 2016 at 8:54 p.m., DEC Central Dispatch received a request for assistance from Herkimer County 911 for a 25-year-old man from Rome, NY with a leg injury at Chub Pond. DEC Forest Rangers responded with assistance from the Woodgate and Otter Lake Fire Departments, New York State Police, and the Trackside Blazer Snowmobile Club. NYSP located the man and transported him via All-Terrain-Vehicle to a waiting Prospect ambulance. He was taken to an area hospital for additional medical treatment. The incident concluded on August 21 at 1:48 a.m.

Warren County

Town of Lake George
Lake George Wild Forest
Lost hikers:
On August 20, 2016 at 4:41 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance call from DEC Lake George (Million Dollar) Beach employees for a 56-year-old man, an 18-year-old male, and a 13-year-old boy, all from Douglaston, NY lost on Prospect Mountain. A DEC Forest Ranger responded and located the family. The Forest Ranger assisted the family down to a trailhead and provided a courtesy ride via Ranger truck to their vehicle located on Smith Road.

Rensselaer County

Town of Petersburg
Lost hiker:
On August 21, 2016, at 5:30 p.m. Central Dispatch received word of an overdue 69-year-old man from California who left for a hike on the Taconic Crest Trail at 10:30 a.m. and had not returned. Two Rangers happened to be in the area patrolling for illegal ATV use and were able to drive their ATVs and locate the man about 11 miles from the trailhead parking lot on Route 2 in Petersburg. Rangers drove the subject out of the woods and arrived at the parking lot at about 8:00 p.m. The man was uninjured. Rangers were assisted by the NY State Police and the NYS Environmental Conservation Police.

Ulster County

Town of Denning
Sundown Wild Forest, Catskill Forest Preserve
Injury on State Land:
At approximately 1:00 PM on Saturday, August 20, DEC rangers were notified that a 21-year old man from the Bronx had injured and possibly dislocated his shoulder while visiting the Blue Hole in the Peekamoose Valley. Two rangers evaluated the man at the entrance to the Blue Hole and confirmed that it was a dislocated shoulder. They were able to adjust the shoulder and bandage it. The man refused additional medical treatment. The incident concluded at 1:35 p.m.

Greene County

Town of Hunter
Catskill Park
Hiker death:
On August 19, 2016 at approximately 5:40 p.m. the boyfriend of a 60-year-old woman from Westfield, New Jersey, called 911 reporting the woman fell at Kaaterskill Falls. The actual location of the fall victim was corrected to route 23a closer to the Town line east of Kaaterskill Falls. DEC Forest Rangers responded and discovered a NYS Trooper and a Paramedic were already with the victim who was deceased. The woman's boyfriend said the couple and another man were hiking down to Kaaterskill Creek off of Route 23a when she lost footing and fell approximately 70 feet to the bottom of the gorge. Rangers worked on a high angle technical rope system to bring the victim back up to the top of the gorge. Once the victim was successfully brought to the top, a State Police investigator took photos. The coroner arrived at approximately 8:30 p.m. and determined the time of death to be 5:42 p.m. The Haines Falls FD, Tannersville FD and the Palenville FD assisted with the recovery.

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

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