Rangers battle wildfires, save hikers with serious injuries

By the Enterprise staff

Several state Department of Environmental Conservation forest rangers are in the western U.S., still helping to battle ravenous wildfires. Meanwhile, the rangers who are still in New York have been busy saving lost and injured people in the Adirondack backcountry.

Town of St. Armand

On Monday, Sept. 25, a 42-year-old woman suffered a leg injury while hiking Baker Mountain in Saranac Lake.

Three rangers and Saranac Lake Volunteer Rescue Squad stabilized the injury and carried the woman back to the trailhead, where an ambulance transported her to Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake for treatment.

Town of Waverly

On Sept. 25, New York State Police notified Forest Ranger Capt. John Streiff of a missing woman who had last been seen the night before.

A ranger responded and located the woman, who was then taken to a local hospital for evaluation.

Town of Keene

Staff at the Adirondack Mountain Club’s John Brook Lodge radioed the DEC for help in locating a 79-year-old woman who was overdue from her day hike on Sept. 26.

The woman’s son was able to provide rangers with a GPS track of her location from her SPOT transceiver, and rangers located the woman with the aid of the GPS track. She was escorted to the Howard lean-to and reunited with her family.

Town of North Elba

On Sept. 29, Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC dispatch about a woman with severe injuries after a 25-foot fall on Haystack Mountain.

Rangers reached the woman a few hours after the call came in and began treatment at the scene. She was packaged and carried down the mountain, and met by a UTV at the Jackrabbit Trail. From there, she was transported to a waiting ambulance and taken to Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake.

Town of Warrensburg

Four 16-year-old subjects, who were greatly unprepared, called for help after getting lost on Hackensack Mountain. The group had no food, water or headlamps, and their only cellphone was close to dying.

Despite an exhaustive search of the mountain, rangers were unable to locate the group. Rangers then expanded the search to nearby snowmobile trails and located the four hikers shortly after midnight on Sept. 30.

The hikers had become confused after running into some private ATV trails, but were reunited with their families.

Town of North Elba

On Sept. 30, people reported hearing repeated cries for help near the Lake Colden Interior Outpost in the High Peaks.

Less than hour later, the Lake Colden caretaker located a 15-year-old girl with a lower leg injury. The injury was stabilized, and she was carried to the outpost, where a state police helicopter landed and then airlifted the subject out of the backcountry.

Town of Wilmington

Plattsburgh State University officials notified DEC dispatch that two students at the college had become lost while hiking Whiteface Mountain on Sept. 30.

Dispatch obtained GPS coordinates from the pair’s cellphone, and a ranger responded by driving up the Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway. The ranger used sound attractants to draw the pair toward the road and then gave them a ride back to their car.

Town of North Hudson

Shortly after 6 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 1, a woman called for help after her father was unable to hike down Mount Marcy.

One ranger responded, using a UTV, and brought the pair down to the Adirondak Loj.