Rangers find illegal camp in southwest Adirondacks

Forest rangers say two hunters illegally cut trees to make the poles of this tent, found in the West Canada Lake Wilderness, in the town of Ohio near Old Forge. (Provided photo — DEC)

Forest rangers with the state Department of Environmental Conservation found two hunters illegally camping and clearing trees in a protected wilderness area they had flown into by floatplane earlier this month in the southwest Adirondacks.

Rangers discovered an illegal camp at a remote pond in the West Canada Lake Wilderness Area in the Herkimer County town of Ohio. The camp had been set up by two hunters from nearby Forestport who had landed a plane on the water, used a chainsaw to clear a trail and cut trees for tent poles.

On Nov. 13, Rangers Lincoln Hanno and Dylan McCartney discovered the illegal camp, and on the evening of Nov. 19, the rangers apprehended the two hunters.

Rangers said they observed multiple state land violations, including using a chainsaw in a wilderness area, storing personal property on state land, camping violations and landing a plane on a prohibited body of water in a wilderness area. The two hunters had allegedly cut 14 trees to build their camp. Rangers issued multiple appearance tickets for the various offenses.

Hurt hiker airlifted

On Saturday, Nov. 21 at 2:16 p.m., Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook dispatch reporting a 34-year-old male hiker from Niskayuna with a non-weight-bearing lower right leg injury in the Essex County town of Keene.

Per Acting Forest Ranger Lt. Kevin Burns, New York State Police Aviation was on standby. Forest Rangers Peter Evans and Robbi Mecus hiked in to evaluate the hiker’s injury. A ground team comprised of Rangers Andrew Lewis, Scott Sabo Jr. and David Russell followed in behind.

At 4:15 p.m., Mecus located the injured hiker and placed him in a harness. He was then hoisted by NYSP Aviation into the helicopter and flown to a local hospital for medical treatment.

Lost hiker found

On Saturday, Nov. 21 at 9:44 p.m., Washington County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook dispatch reporting a possible overdue hiker in the Warren County town of Horicon. After interviewing the reporting party, forest rangers decided that her destination was most likely Pharaoh Lake.

Forest Ranger Charles Kabrehl responded to check the trailhead and located the woman’s car. Kabrehl went into the woods along with a Warren County sheriff’s deputy and located the 44-year-old hiker from Glens Falls. The responders escorted the missing hiker safely back to the trailhead.


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