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For Release: Monday, August 14, 2017

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 8/7 - 8/13/17

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) 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.

In 2016, DEC Forest Rangers conducted 356 search and rescue missions, extinguished 185 wildfires that burned a total of 4,191 acres, and worked on cases that resulted in nearly 3,000 tickets or arrests.

"Across New York, DEC 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 is 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:

Town of Long Lake

Hamilton County

Rescue: On August 7 at 5:45 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from the director of a young adult outdoor group. She stated that one of the participants was having issues due to a preexisting heart condition and needed to be evacuated from the north end of Long Lake to receive medical attention. The camp was located deep in the wilderness beyond Deep Hole and the subject was being towed via kayak to meet assistance at the outlet of Long Lake. Forest Ranger James Waters and Long Lake Rescue Squad EMT Chuck Taylor responded. EMT Taylor monitored the subject during the boat ride back to the Long Lake Boat Launch. At 7:15 p.m., the subject was transferred to an ambulance and transported to the Adirondack Medical Center-Saranac Lake.

Town of Keene

Essex County

Rescue: On August 9 at 10:56 a.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a direct call from a woman hiking with her family on Cascade Mountain. During the descent from the summit, the woman's father fell and injured his knee. Dispatch directed the caller to contact 911 for coordinates. Five Forest Rangers and an assistant Forest Ranger responded to the trailhead and began to hiking in to the subject. Rangers located the man and assessed his injury. After re-splinting the injury, the subject was mobile but moving slowly. The Rangers assisted him to the trailhead, where he was taken by his family to a local hospital for further medical attention.

Town of Keene

Essex County

Rescue: On August 9 at 4:09 p.m., Essex County 911 called DEC Ray Brook Dispatch reporting a 31-year-old female with a possible broken ankle after a fall on a steep section of trail. Coordinates obtained from 911 placed the subject 1.5 miles from the trailhead on Cascade Mountain. Forest Rangers responded to the scene and stabilized the injured ankle. The subject attempted to walk out to the trailhead. However, after a short distance the hiker could not continue. New York State Police Aviation was requested to airlift the injured individual and she was transferred to the Adirondack Medical Center-Saranac Lake for further care.

Town of North Elba

Essex County

Rescue: On August 9 at 4:18 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Essex County 911 regarding a severely ill 53-year-old woman. The subject was at the Moose Pond Lean-to on the Northville-Placid Trail in the High Peaks Wilderness. The woman's daughter had hiked to Wanika Falls to make the emergency call. The woman was airlifted to the Adirondack Medical Center-Lake Placid for further medical care.

Town of Duane

Franklin County

Search: Just before midnight on August 9, an 80-year-old male was reported overdue from hiking Debar Mountain. The man was reported to be in good health and an experienced hiker. His vehicle was found at the parking area of Debar Mountain. The subject had a ledger from a past hike of the same mountain, advising that he rode a bike part way up the trail. Two Rangers hiked the trail and found a bike on the side of the trail. The Rangers continued to hike reached the summit without finding the subject. On August 10 at 4:35 a.m., Rangers requested additional resources and a command post was established at Meacham Lake Campground. As Rangers and other search personal conducted search efforts around Debar Mountain, the subject was located at 1:13 p.m. by a New York State Police Captain. The hiker had found his way to the road and was walking on Route 30 in the Cold Brook Road area. The man was dehydrated and had lacerations to both shins. The subject was treated by EMS and transported to Alicia Hyde Hospital.

Town of Westport

Essex County

Search: August 10 at 1:10 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Essex County 911 requesting assistance for a woman and a 9-year-old child lost on Coon Mountain. Essex County provided cell phone coordinates. One Forest Ranger responded and located the subjects in good health. The subjects were assisted to the trailhead where their vehicle was parked. The incident concluded at 3:28 p.m.

Town of Hunter

Greene County

Search: On August 11 at 2:58 p.m., a 36-year-old male hiker from New York City called Greene County 911 requesting assistance to get out of the woods. The subject stated he and two other hikers began their hike at Prediger Road the previous day. The group planned to hike the entire Devil's Path in two days, but didn't get as far as expected. They camped at Mink Hollow Thursday night. On Friday, two of the hikers continued on while one subject experienced knee pain and decided to hike out a shortcut to Mink Hollow to meet his party at Devil's Tombstone Campground. He had no map and was unfamiliar with the area. When he could no longer find trail markers, he used his cell phone to call for help. A Forest Ranger contacted the subject by phone and determined he was near the Mink Hollow spring. The Ranger responded to the hiker's location, guided him to the road, and gave him a courtesy ride to his car at Prediger Road.

Town of Fine

St. Lawrence County

Rescue/Recovery: On August 11 at 6:10 p.m., Ray Brook Dispatch received notification from an assistant Forest Ranger that a 51-year-old male camping at a primitive site on Cranberry Lake collapsed while chopping wood and hit his head during the resulting fall. Fellow campers traveled more than a mile to obtain cell phone service to call for help. Cranberry Lake Rescue responded and tried to revive the subject. Family members were administering CPR when rescuers arrived. Rescue efforts continued for about an hour but the subject remained unresponsive. By 7:10 p.m., first responders ceased resuscitation efforts and Rangers secured the scene until the arrival of the St. Lawrence County Coroner and New York State Police investigators. The subject was officially pronounced deceased and transported by Cranberry Lake Fire and Rescue to the dock at 9 p.m.

Town of Shandaken

Ulster County

Enforcement: On August 12 at approximately 1:50 a.m., the caretaker of Woodland Valley Campground notified Central Dispatch of a group of what appeared to be intoxicated, unruly campers and requested Forest Ranger assistance. A Forest Ranger was dispatched to the campground and spoke with the group. The next morning, the unruly group was evicted from the campground and left the area by 10 a.m.

Town of Keene

Essex County

Rescue: On August 12 at 1:52 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a report of a subject involved in a swimming accident at a swimming hole on the Bouquet River near the High Bridge off Route 73 near Chapel Pond. The subject was conscious but sustained lacerations and suffered neck pain. Forest Rangers were dispatched to the Bouquet River and joined by first responders from Keene and Keene Valley fire departments. The subject received first aid and was transported by ambulance to Elizabethtown Hospital for treatment.

Town of Hardenburgh

Ulster County

Search: On August 13 at 9:38 p.m., DEC Central Dispatch received information from a caller stating that his neighbor had not returned from a hike. The neighbor, a 78-year-old male, planned to hike near Balsam Mountain, his exact route and destination unknown. Rangers were dispatched to check parking areas and trail registers at Balsam Mountain for evidence of the man's whereabouts. The subject's car was located by Rangers at the Rider Hollow Trail Head (Big Indian-Beaverkill Range Wilderness Area) at approximately 11 p.m. A subsequent search of the area located the man who was unable to move due to a leg injury he sustained while hiking. Rangers and local fire and EMS responders assessed the injury and packaged the hiker for a carry-out. He was transferred by ambulance to a local hospital for further medical treatment.

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

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