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For Release: Wednesday, August 15, 2012

DEC Region 5 Forest Ranger's June and July Search & Rescue Report

Essex County

Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness Area

On Thursday, June 7, 2012, at about 9:11 am, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting an injured hiker at Marcy Dam. Melis Bursin, 28, of New York City, NY, had injured her ankle. The DEC Marcy Dam Caretaker assisted the woman stabilizing the injury. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded and transported Ms. Bursin by UTV to the trailhead at 10:20 pm. Ms. Burstin sought medical attention on her own. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and contact the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies.

Town of Keene, Eastern High Peaks Wilderness Area

On Friday, June 8, 2012, at about 1:25 am, DEC Central Dispatch received a call reporting two overdue hikers. Kathleen Gavin, 20, and Ernesto Perez, 26, both of New York City, NY, had planned a day hike of the Wolfjaw-Gothics Loop and were expecting to return that evening. A DEC Forest Ranger responded and found their vehicle still located at the St. Hubert's parking lot where they had signed in the trail registry. Four more DEC Forest Rangers responded to assist in the search. The pair of hikers was located at 6:30 am in good condition, although very tired. They had taken a wrong turn and eventually found their way to the John's Brook Lodge. Forest Rangers escorted them to the Garden Trailhead at 8:43 am. They were given a courtesy ride back to their vehicle. Know your abilities and the area you plan to hike. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them.

Town of Wilmington, High Peaks Wilderness Area

On Friday, June 8, 2012, at about 10:32 am, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from Essex County 911 reporting a person who had injured his legs jumping in The Flume on the West Branch Ausable River. Four DEC Forest Rangers, Wilmington Fire and Rescue and Lake Placid Fire and Rescue all responded to the scene. Timothy McCaffrey, 28, of Port Henry, NY, was packaged and airlifted via Life Flight to Fletcher Allen Hospital. Know your abilities and the area you plan to recreate.

Town of Keene, Dix Mountain Wilderness Area

On Sunday, June 10, 2012, at about 2:44 pm a DEC Forest Ranger on patrol came upon a motorcycle accident on Route 73 in the town of Keene. Gregory Pruer, 37, of Wantaugh, NY and his passenger were seriously injured in the accident. The Forest Ranger secured the scene and called DEC Ray Brook Dispatch for additional emergency response resources. Keene Valley Fire and Rescue and the State Police responded to the scene. Mr. Pruer was packaged and transported to Marcy Field where State Police Aviation flew him to Fletcher Allen Hospital. The passenger on the motorcycle was packaged and transported to Elizabethtown Community Hospital. Forest Rangers have police officer status and are first responders.

Town of Schroon, Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Area

On Friday, June 15, 2012, at about 7:11 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from a DEC Assistant Forest Ranger reporting an injured person. Robert Johnson, 23, of Bloomington, MN, was working as a member of the Student Conservation Association Adirondack Program's Trail Crew when he fell and was unable to bear any weight on his leg. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded and assisted Mr. Johnson out to the trailhead, where he was able to drive himself to Glens Falls Hospital for evaluation. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and contact the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies.

Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness Area

On Saturday, June 16, 2012, at about 9:55 pm, a DEC Forest Ranger on routine patrol near Marcy Dam encountered a distressed hiker. Jacob Kwiatkoski, 20, of Fort Plains, NY, appeared to be severely dehydrated. Two more DEC Forest Forests and an Assistant Forest Ranger responded. Mr. Kwiatkowski was evacuated to South Meadows Road on UTV via the Marcy Truck Trail. They were met by Lake Placid Ambulance who transported the young man to the Adirondack Medical Center for medical evaluation and treatment. Drink plenty of water and rest often when hiking, particular during hot weather.

Town of North Elba, McKenzie Mountain Wilderness

On Monday, June 18, 2012, at about 5:13 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from Ashley Jones, 53, of Willow Peak, PA, stating that she was lost near the base of Baker Mountain. Ms. Jones and her two children, a 12 year old boy and 14 year old girl, had hiked over the east side of the mountain to the shores of North Bay of McKenzie Pond. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded and boated across the pond to North Bay. The family was located and transported back to shore. They were provided a courtesy ride back to their vehicle at the Baker Mountain Trailhead. Know the area you plan to hike. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them.

Town of North Elba, Eastern High Peaks Wilderness Area

On Sunday, June 24, 2012, at about 2:04 pm, a DEC Assistant Forest Ranger (AFR) was notified by a passing hiker of an injured hiker near the Uphill Brook lean-to. At about 2:20 pm the AFR located Margaret McGrath, 57, of Kingston, NY. Ms. McGrath had hiked Marcy, Grey and Skylight Mountains with her hiking party when she rolled her ankle at 12:30pm near the Uphill Brook lean-to. The AFR splinted Ms. McGrath's ankle and assisted her to the Lake Colden Outpost. They then rowed across Avalanche Lake where they were met by another DEC Forest Ranger on a UTV. Ms. McGrath was taken to the Adirondack Loj Trailhead at 7:25pm. She was released to seek further medical assistance on her own. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and contact the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies.

Town of Newcomb, Dix Mountain Wilderness Area

On Sunday, June 24, 2012, at about 9:30 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting two overdue hikers. Thomas Cummings, 66, and Daria Cummings, 36, both of Monroe, CT, left the Schroon Lake Bed and Breakfast at 6:00am to climb Cliff and Redfield Mountains via the Upper Works Trailhead. A DEC Forest Ranger responded and found the overdue hikers' vehicles at the trailhead. The Forest Ranger came across the pair walking out on their own near the trailhead. They reported they had been delayed due to the weather. Both were in good condition. Always inform someone of your itinerary.

Town of Wilmington, McKenzie Mountain Wilderness

On Sunday, July 1, 2012, at about 8:27pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting an injured hiker on the Connery Pond Trail near Whiteface Landing. Bridget Ness, 23, of Lake Worth, FL, was hiking at dusk when she fell, striking her knee on a rock. She was not carrying a light or a map. A DEC Forest Ranger responded and located Ms. Ness at about 9:45 pm. Ms. Ness was able to walk back to the trailhead with assistance from the Forest Ranger. She was returned to her vehicle at 10:25 pm declining further medical assistance. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them. Carry a flashlight or headlamp at all times.

Town of North Elba, Eastern High Peaks Wilderness

On Sunday, July 1, 2012, at about 2:42 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook was notified by the Cascade Summit Steward of a woman on the trail with an injured ankle. Yoseph Middleton, 38, of Montreal, Quebec, was about a quarter mile from the summit when she fell and injured her ankle. She was unable to bear any weight on the ankle. Three DEC Forest Rangers responded along with State Police Aviation from Lake Clear. Ms. Middleton was picked up from the summit and taken to Adirondack Medical Center in Lake Placid at 4:30 pm. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and contact the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies.

Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness Area

On Tuesday, July 3, 2012, at about 9:25 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from Shawn Kilty, 41, and Tanya Hedlund, age unknown, both of New York City, NY. The pair reported they had hiked Phelps Mountain but had lost their way coming down. They had a map and headlamps, but no compass to orient them. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded and were able to make cell phone contact with Mr. Kilty and Ms. Hedlund. The pair described the areas they had hiked and were instructed to return to the bridge they had previously crossed. At 11:20 pm they called the Forest Ranger stating that they were at the "High Water Bridge" on the VanHoevenberg Trail. At 11:30pm, the Marcy Dam Interior Caretaker located the pair at the bridge in good condition. They were escorted to Marcy Dam and pointed them in the right direction back to the Adirondack Loj Trailhead. Know the area you plan to hike. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them.

Town of Jay, Jay Mountain Wilderness Area

On Monday, July 9, 2012, at about 1:00 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from Essex County 911 reporting an injured hiker on Jay Mountain. Linda Siciliano, 53, of Staten Island, NY, was hiking Jay Mountain when she slipped and fell injuring her ankle. Three DEC Forest Rangers responded, stabilized Ms. Siciliano ankle, packaged her and carried her back to the trailhead. They were met by Wilmington Ambulance who transported her to Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital in Plattsburgh for further medical treatment. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and contact the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies.

Town of Keene, Giant Mountain Wilderness Area

On Tuesday, July 10, 2012, at about 4:12 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from Essex County 911 reporting a hiker in need of medical attention on the summit of Giant Mountain. A 16 year old female from Ithaca, NY, was hiking with her aunt when she became distressed. Three DEC Forest Rangers responded to the scene along with State Police Aviation. The teenage girl was hoisted off the mountain to Marcy Field in Keene Valley. She was transported by Keene Valley Rescue to Elizabethtown Hospital for treatment at 5:52pm. Two Forest Rangers escorted the rest of the hiking party off the mountain and back to their vehicles at the trailhead. Drink plenty of water and rest often when hiking, particular during hot weather.

Town of St Armand, McKenzie Mountain Wilderness

On Wednesday, July 11, 2012, at about 3:50 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from Essex County 911 reporting a hiker in need of medical attention on the summit of Baker Mountain. A 12 year old boy from Watertown, NY, was in distress. A DEC Forest Ranger responded with members of the Saranac Lake Fire Department and Rescue Squad. The boy was treated and carried out to the trailhead. The Rescue Squad transported him to Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake from there. Drink plenty of water and rest often when hiking, particular during hot weather.

Town of North Elba, Eastern High Peaks Wilderness Area

On Saturday, July 14, 2012, at about 5:00 pm, a DEC Assistant Forest Ranger (AFR) at the Lake Colden Outpost received a report of a hiker who had been separated from his hiking partner. George Shields, 53, of Lewisburg, PA, was hiking Mt. Marshall via Herbert Brook with his son. They became separated at about 2:00 pm and Mr. Shields had not been seen since. The AFR, assisted by two Student Conservation Association Backcountry Stewards, searched the nearby trails into the night without locating Mr. Shields. Plans were made for five DEC Forest Rangers begin searching from the Upper Works and Adirondack Trailheads at 6:00 am the following morning. At about 1:54 am, Mr. Shields arrived at the Lake Colden Outpost by his own efforts. He was suffering from a number of injuries including cuts and scrapes on his legs. The AFR applied first aid and in the morning assisted Mr. Shields to Avalanche Lake. A Forest Ranger met them there with a UTV and transported him the trailhead. Mr. Shields drove himself to the Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake for further medical treatment. Stay together when hiking in groups and know the location of all group members at all times.

Town of Willsboro, Private Property

On July 24, 2012, at about 11:23 am, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook was notified by State Police of three lost hikers on Rattlesnake Mountain. Karen Curtin, 56, and Catherine Curtin, 20, both of Plattsburgh, NY, and Justin Curtin, 19, of Newport Ritchie, FL, were hiking when two of them were stung by bees. Two DEC Forest Rangers and State Police responded to locate the three hikers. While in route, DEC Dispatch was able to contact by phone and learned they had begun moving on their own. They came upon a dirt road which they followed until they found a seasonal camp. The three were met there and transported back to the place they were staying. Know the area you plan to hike. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them.

Franklin County

Town of Brighton, Private Land

On Saturday, June 16, 2012, at about 4:11 pm, a DEC Forest Ranger was contacted directly and informed of a distressed hiker on Paul Smith College's VIC property. The Forest Ranger responded and located Donna Pepin, 48, of Mooers, NY, on the trail between Black Pond and Long Pond Trail. The Forest Ranger gave Ms. Pepin fluids and food. She was then escorted back to the parking area and reunited with her family. Drink plenty of water, eat food to keep up your energy and rest often - especially during hot weather.

Town of Harrietstown, Saranac Lake Wild Forest

On Sunday, June 24, 2012, at about 8:10 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting an overdue hiker near Shingle Bay Mountain, north of Lower Saranac Lake. Casey Michaels, 24, of Saranac Lake, NY, had been hiking with a group but became separated at about 5:00 pm. Three DEC Forest Rangers responded and searched for Mr. Michaels without success until 1:00 am. At 7am, searching resumed with eight additional DEC Forest Rangers and a team from Search and Rescue of the Northern Adirondacks (SARNAK). Mr. Michaels was located at 9:00 am near Black Pond. He reported that after becoming separated from his group he built a campfire and stayed for the night. At day break Mr. Michaels began to walk out but became cold. He stopped and built another campfire to keep warm. Forest Rangers found him huddled by the campfire and in good condition. They escorted Mr. Michaels out of the woods and he needed no further assistance. All personnel were clear of the search by 10:30am. Have the skills, knowledge and equipment to spend an unexpected night in the woods.

Town of Harrietstown, High Peaks Wilderness Area

On Wednesday, June 27, 2012 at about 3:45pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting a hiker with an ankle injury near the summit of Ampersand Mountain. Julie Shahin, 53, of Rochester, NY, was able to move but was still in need of assistance. Three DEC Forest Rangers responded reaching Ms. Shahin at 5:50 pm. The Forest Rangers applied a splint to her injured ankle and assisted her down the mountain reaching the trailhead at 7:10 pm. Ms. Shahin sought medical attention on her own. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and contact the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies.

Town of Harrietstown, Saranac Lake Wild Forest

On Sunday, July 22, 2012, at about 9:23 am, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting a boater in need of medical assistance. Ruth Kuhfahl, 88, of Keene Valley, NY, had been incapacitated and overturned her canoe on Middle Saranac Lake. Two DEC Forest Rangers and Saranac Lake Fire and Rescue responded. Ms. Kuhfahl was had been brought to a water access only private camp where she was met by the emergency responders. She was evacuated by boat to the South Creek water access site and placed into Saranac Lake Rescue Squad ambulance. Ms. Kuhfahl was transported to the Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake for evaluation and treatment. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and contact the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies.

Hamilton County

Town of Indian Lake, Siamese Pond Wilderness Area

On Thursday, June 7, 2012, at about 11:30 pm, DEC Central Dispatch received a call from a person concerned about a car in the Chimney Mountain Trailhead parking lot after 10:00 pm. A check of its license plates determined that it was owned by John Keck 28, of Jersey City, NJ. An hour later New York State Police confirmed the car was still in the parking lot. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded to the trailhead and reviewed of the trail registry. They learned that Mr. Keck and a second person had signed in indicating they planned to go to Eagle Cave on a day trip. The Forest Rangers checked the cave and the summit, eventually locating Mr. Keck and a 15 year old male from Quarrville, PA in a designated campsite below the summit. After signing in the pair had decided to camp and explore the cave the following day. Having ensured Mr. Keck and the teenage were safe and not in any distress the Forest Rangers returned to their vehicles. Always inform someone of your itinerary. Always sign in and out of trailhead registers.

Town of Indian Lake, Sargent Pond Wild Forest

On Thursday, June 21, 2012, at 9:25 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from Hamilton County 911 advising of a group of 8 adults lost on Castle Rock Mountain north of Blue Mountain Lake. Laura Gates, 33, Joannie Lombardi, 33, Kent Walding, 43, Tony Lopez, 36, Holly Sheriff, 45, Zack Cocayne, 38, and Calma Edwards, 50, had been hiking with Carol VanDersen, 51, of Highland, IL, who had injured her knee and was unable to walk. The group was advised to build a fire and stay put. Three DEC Forest Rangers responded and, spotting the campfire, located the group about 1 mile from the trailhead. Forest Rangers escorted the group back to the trailhead helping Ms. VanDersen to walk out. Upon reaching the trailhead Ms. VanDersen indicated she would seek medical treatment on her own. Know your abilities and the area you plan to hike. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them. Carry a flashlight or headlamp at all times.

Town of Arietta, Ferris Lake Wild Forest

On Friday, June 22, 2012, at about 3:42 am, DEC Central Dispatch received a call reporting an injured camper who was struck on the head by a small tree. John Perkins, 24, of Webster, NY, was conscious, but experiencing a lot of pain. Mr. Perkins was at a remote campsite along the Powley Piseco Road. A DEC Forest Ranger and the Piseco Emergency Medical Services responded evacuating Mr. Perkins from his campsite at 4:50am. He was transported via ambulance to Gloversville and from there by helicopter to Albany Medical Center. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and contact the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies.

Town of Arietta, West Canada Lake Wilderness

On Wednesday, June 27, 2012, at about 2:30 am, DEC Central Dispatch received a call reporting that two family members hiking the Northville-Placid Trail had not reported in as scheduled. Tim Jones, 54, of Binghamton, NY, and his 15 year old son had sent a Spot Locator message on Monday indicating they had arrived at Spruce Lake and were on schedule. No message was received on Tuesday night and the caller was concerned about their safety. At 6:30 am, a DEC Forest Ranger responded and began hiking into the second lean-to on the Cedar Lakes, the hiker's intended destination for the previous night. The Forest Ranger arrived at the lean-to at 11:45 am and found no sign of the father and son. The Forest Ranger continued south on the Northville Placid Trail searching for the pair. Four additional Forest Rangers and a float plane were assigned to assist the search effort. At 12:50pm first Forest Ranger located Mr. Jones and his son in good condition near the third lean-to on the Cedar Lakes in good condition. According to Mr. Jones, they were behind schedule and spent the night at South Lake. He had sent a Spot Locator message the previous night with their location, but it was never recorded on their home computer. The father and son continued their hike of the Northville-Placid Trail. Always inform someone of your itinerary. Use technology to keep safe when hiking, but remember it is not infallible.

Town of Indian Lake, Sargent Pond Wild Forest

On Wednesday, July 4, 2012, at 5:41 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting a lost hiker in an area north of Blue Mountain Lake. Darwin Fishman, 42, of Coran, NY, was descending Castle Rock when he lost the trail. A DEC Forest Ranger responded and located Mr. Fishman in good condition about a half mile from the trailhead at about 6:13 pm. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them.

Town of Indian Lake, Blue Mountain Wild Forest

On Thursday, July 5, 2012, at about 3:26 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from Hamilton County 911 reporting an injured hiker near the summit of Blue Mountain. Christian Hall, 18, of Potterspine, GA, fell and injured an ankle while descending from the summit. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded to the scene to assess the person's injuries while State Police Aviation responded from Lake Clear with another Forest Ranger. Mr. Hall was air lifted from the summit of the mountain to Blue Mountain Lake at 5:20 pm. He was taken by private vehicle to seek further medical attention. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and contact the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies.

Warren County

Town of Bolton, Lake George Wild Forest

On Wednesday, June 20, 2012, at about 2:11 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from Warren County 911 reporting a distressed hiker on the Tongue Mountain Range. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded and located Rebecca Cariati, 28, of Glenmont, NY near French Point Mountain. Due to the extreme temperatures and the complex nature of her symptoms the Forest Rangers determined that she should be airlifted. Personnel from Lower Adirondack Wilderness Medical Rescue Team also responded and began treating Ms. Cariati. A State Police Aviation Unit helicopter picked up Ms. Cariati and transported her to the Warren County airfield. She was met there by an ambulance and taken to a nearby hospital for further treatment. Drink plenty of water, eat food to keep up your energy and rest often - especially during hot weather.

Town of Horicon, Lake George Wild Forest

On Saturday, July 21, 2012, at about 1:07 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from Warren County 911 reporting a lost hiker. Alena Gawronski, 32, of Glendale, NY, stated that she left Pilgrim Camp in the town of Horicon hiking on the red trail. She lost the trail and had been off trail for about two hours. Three DEC Forest Rangers responded and were able to locate her based on her cell phone coordinates and the location description provided. Ms. Gawronski was located and escorted out of the woods by 1:37 pm. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them.

Washington County

Town of Fort Ann, Private Land

On Wednesday, July 4, 2012, at about 3:20 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting a lost hiker. Joshua Heid, 18, of Neehah, WI, was hiking around Crossett Lake in Ft. Ann but had separated from his hiking party. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded and were able to make contact with Mr. Heid via cell phone. The Forest Rangers provided him directions and he was able to exit the woods on his own. Mr. Heid was provided a courtesy ride to return to the rest of the hiking party. Stay together when hiking in groups and know the location of all group members at all times.

Town of Fort Ann, Lake George Wild Forest

On Wednesday, July 4, 2012, at about 4:12 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a report of an injured hiker on the Sleeping Beauty Trail. One DEC Forest Ranger and the West Fort Ann Fire Department responded. Adrian Gough, 63, of Lake George, NY, was located about a half mile from the trailhead. The Forest Ranger and Fire Department personnel stabilized Mr. Gough's injuries. He was evacuated to the trailhead and transported by West Fort Ann Fire Department Ambulance to Glens Falls Hospital for further evaluation and treatment. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and contact the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies.

Town of Fort Ann, Lake George Wild Forest

On Monday, July 16, 2012, at about 12:45 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from Washington County 911 reporting a hiker needing medical attention. Yarden Fischer, 27, of East Brunswick, NJ, was in distress near Buck Mountain on the Pilot Knob Trail. North Queensbury Rescue and Pilot Knob Fire Department responded providing initial treatment and evacuating Mr. Fischer by ATV to the trailhead. Two DEC Forest Rangers also responded providing assistance at the trailhead. Emergency responders arrived at the trailhead with Mr. Fischer at 3:00 pm. He was arrived placed in North Queensbury Rescue ambulance and transported a nearby hospital for further evaluation and treatment. Drink plenty of water, eat food to keep up your energy and rest often - especially during hot weather.

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