New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents in the Adirondacks. 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.
What follows is a report, prepared by DEC, of recent missions carried out by Forest Rangers.
Town of Berne, Cole Hill State Forest
Wildland Fire: On June 20 at 3:15 pm, the Albany County Sheriff’s Office requested Forest Ranger assistance with a brush fire at Cole Hill State Forest. Three Forest Rangers arrived on scene along with the Berne and East Berne volunteer fire departments. Together, the responders suppressed the remaining hot spots. The fire was determined to be 0.8 acres in size and declared out by 7:15 pm.
Town of Persia
Wilderness Search: On June 21 at 4 am, Cattaraugus County 911 contacted DEC’s Central Dispatch reporting a lost hiker in Zoar Valley. Forest Ranger Bob Rogers responded and arrived on scene at 4:30 am. After conducting a brief interview with the hiker’s companion and mother, Ranger Rogers searched the South Branch of the Cattaraugus Creek from the Valentine Flats parking area to the confluence, and upstream to the Forty Road area. In addition, the Rangers requested a Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Deputy to use his lights and siren as a passive means to attract the hiker’s attention. Ranger Rogers located the 36-year-old hiker from Buffalo at 7:30 am, as volunteer firefighters from various departments began to arrive at the incident command post.
Cortland and Onondaga County
Towns of Truxton and Fabius
Missing Person: On June 16, at 2 pm, the Sherburne sub-office in Chenango County received a call reporting missing family members from Warners. The caller said his wife, three children ages 11, 10, and 3, and the family dog went hiking at Labrador Hollow Unique Area near Tinker Falls and did not return when expected. Forest Rangers contacted the woman and determined the hiking party veered from the marked trail onto a former skidder/logging trail. She reported the children were tired and scared, but uninjured and had water. Forest Rangers Chet Lunt and Mike Chappell arrived at the Tinker Falls parking lot at approximately 2:30 pm, with the woman’s husband. The three men began to hike in and at 2:45 pm. The wife contacted them and provided GPS coordinates from her cellphone. At 3:15 pm, Forest Rangers located the family in the town of Fabius, Onondaga County, just across the county line. The Rangers escorted the hikers out of the woods safely and everyone was on their way home by 4 pm.
Town of Keene
Wilderness Rescue: On June 20 at 8:25 am, staff from the ADK/Johns Brook Lodge contacted Ray Brook Dispatch via radio reporting a 43-year-old male hiker from Rochester had an unstable ankle injury on the Phelps trail, descending from Little Marcy. Forest Ranger Lt. Julie Harjung directed Forest Rangers to report to NYSP Aviation in Lake Clear while additional Forest Rangers and an Assistant Forest Ranger responded by hiking to the injured man’s location. One Forest Ranger was inserted on the summit of Mt. Marcy by helicopter to look for the hiker. Forest Rangers hiking down the Phelps Trail located the hiker, assessed his injury, and splinted his lower leg. Forest Rangers radioed for a hoist extraction of the hiker and the helicopter flew him to Marcy Field to be transported by EMS to a local hospital.
Town of Hunter
Wilderness Rescue: On June 17 at 1:35 pm, Central Office Dispatch received a call reporting a 56-year-old man from Washington, D.C., falling ill after hiking to Inspiration Point along the Escarpment trail. Forest Ranger Rob Dawson contacted the man to learn his location and condition and Assistant Forest Ranger Aaron France, to start proceeding to the hiker’s location. Ranger Dawson drove up the trail, evaluated the man, and transported him to the South Lake Spillway to a waiting ambulance. Hunter Ambulance transported the man to a local hospital for medical treatment.
Town of Webb
Wilderness Rescue: On June 19 at 4:58 pm, Forest Ranger Dylan McCartney overheard radio traffic on the Herkimer County Sheriff’s frequency of an injured 19-year-old hiker from Winslow, New Jersey, near the summit of Bald Mountain. Forest Rangers McCartney and Lincoln Hanna responded to the area, arriving at 5:25 pm. The Rangers located the hiker and determined she had a non-weight bearing ankle injury. With assistance from the Old Forge Fire Department, Rangers McCartney and Hanna carried the hiker out from the Bald Mountain Fire Tower and down the mountain using carry out and low-angle rope techniques. Forest Rangers and fire department personnel reached the trailhead at 6:45 pm, where the hiker was turned over to the Old Forge Ambulance and transported to a local hospital for treatment.
St. Lawrence County
Town of Norfolk
Wildland Fire: On June 15, Region 6 Forest Rangers responded to a wildland fire in the town of Norfolk. The homeowner was burning brush the previous day and thought the fire was out. Aided by light winds, near drought conditions, and fuel, the fire quickly burned roughly one-half acre before several local fire departments and Forest Rangers got the fire under control. Rangers put out hotspots and secured a fire line around it. The fire was completely out by the next day.
Town of Brasher
Wildland Fire: On June 20 at 9:40 pm, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from St. Lawrence County 911 requesting Forest Ranger assistance with a fire in the town of Brasher. Forest Rangers, along with the Brasher-Winthrop and Helena fire departments, worked on the fire believed to have been caused by a bonfire on private land that spread into the Brasher State Forest. Rangers declared the 1.3-acre fire out on June 22, 2020.
Town of Thurman
Wildland Fire: On June 17 at 2 pm, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Warren County 911 requesting Forest Ranger assistance with a wildfire in the town of Thurman. Forest Rangers Chuck Kabrehl and Art Perryman responded and assisted Thurman and Warrensburg fire departments with the fire that was threatening a structure on Dippikill Road. An investigation determined that the fire was likely caused by an electric line that ran from a home to a barn on the property. Rangers assisted in putting the fire out quickly.
Be Prepared: Properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hiking Safety webpage.