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For Release: Tuesday, December 13, 2016

DEC Forest Rangers Continue Search in the High Peaks for Two Hikers from Niskayuna, NY

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Forest Rangers continue the search for two hikers from Niskayuna, New York. Blake Alois, 20, and Madison Popolizio, 19, both of Niskayuna, NY, left the Adirondak Loj Trailhead on Sunday morning (12/11/16) to hike to the summit of Algonquin Mountain in the High Peaks Wilderness, Town of Keene, Essex County.

At 5:42 pm on Sunday DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a phone call from concerned family members reporting that they had not received any communication from the hikers since approximately noon. They had provided photos and videos of their hike at that time in which both appeared in good condition and wearing winter clothing.

DEC Forest Rangers located the pair's vehicle and began searching the trails to Algonquin Mountain and to Lake Colden until 3:45 am.

On Monday, more than 20 Forest Rangers, searched the trails and drainage systems in the area around Algonquin Mountain. Snow, clouds and winds prevented the use of any aviation resources and made for difficult search conditions.

Today, two dozen Forest Rangers, accompanied by members of the New York State Police Special Operations Response Team, are continuing the search, along with State Police Aviation Units joining the search this morning.

Searchers face below freezing temperatures, wind chills below zero, and three feet or more of snow.

An Incident Command Post has been set up on the grounds of the Adirondack Mountain Club's Adirondak Loj property where the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services is assisting with communications.

At this time, due to the adverse conditions DEC Forest Rangers are not seeking additional assistance from the friends and family members of the lost hikers as this could only add additional risk to the searchers and divert resources from finding the missing hikers. DEC will continue to provide updates as they become available.

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  • DEC Region 5 Office - David Winchell
    1115 NYS Rte. 86
    P.O. Box 296
    Ray Brook, NY 12977
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