Rangers have a busy work week, rescuing hikers

Forest Rangers join New York Army Air National Guard and Olympic Regional Development Authority members at the base of Whiteface Mountain. Rangers provided support for an exercise to conduct a high and low reconaissance of Whiteface Mountain. The recon was conducted to identify future landing zones at the base of the mountain. (Provided photo)

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents statewide. Among the calls answered in the past week were the following:

Town of Keene

Wilderness Rescue: On June 30 at 7:48 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a hiker reporting that her hiking partner was overdue coming off Lower Wolfjaw Mountain. The hiker had last seen her friend at a junction labeled for Lower Wolfjaw on their descent at approximately 4:45 p.m., when the caller took both of their gear and proceeded ahead to make things easier for her slower companion.

Forest Ranger Rob Praczkajlo headed to the security house at the Ausable Club and proceeded to drive down the lake road to the start of the Wedge Brook trail for Upper and Lower Wolfjaw. At 10:05 p.m., Ranger Praczkajlo advised that he was with the 45-year-old hiker from Gloversville. The woman had hiked down the trail and followed Wedge Brook, off trail, down to the Ausable River.

A group of hikers found her at the river and assisted her back to the trail where they were met by the Ranger Praczkajlo who then escorted her down to the lake road and gave her a courtesy ride to join her friend at the gate house.

Town of Newcomb

Wilderness Rescue: On July 2 at 1:08 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a hiker near the summit of Goodnow Mountain reporting a 16-year-old female hiker from Ogdensburg had suffered a lower leg injury while on a steep section of terrain.

Forest Rangers Andrew Lewis and Chuck Kabrehl responded, located the injured hiker, and splinted her injured ankle. Forest Ranger Jamison Martin and Assistant Forest Ranger Brendan Jackson also responded along with members of the Newcomb Fire Department and volunteers to help carry the hiker back to the trailhead. Back at the trailhead, Newcomb EMS evaluated the woman.

Town of Keene

Wilderness Rescue: On July 2 at 4:03 p.m., Adirondack Mountain Reserve security contacted DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch reporting an injured hiker on Gothics Mountain. A group had driven to the AMR lake road gate and notified staff at the gate that the hikers received a call from friends on the mountain at 3:15 p.m., stating that one of their group had an injured knee.

The 20-year-old woman from Doylestown, Pennsylvania, was still able to walk on the injured knee and was hiking down with her father. The father and daughter planned to hike from Beaver Meadow Falls to the lake road. Forest Ranger James Giglinto responded to the lake road and proceeded down to the access point for the Beaver Meadow Falls Trail. About 1.5 miles in,

Ranger Giglinto made contact with the hikers, who were still mobile. Once located, Ranger Giglinto wrapped the injured hiker’s knee for added support, escorted the pair back out to the lake road, and gave them a courtesy ride back to their vehicle. The hikers advised they would seek further medical treatment on their own.

Town of Webb

Wilderness Rescue: On July 2 at 5:22 p.m., Herkimer County 911 contacted DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch reporting a woman hiking near Woodhull Mountain requesting assistance. The woman called 911 earlier advising that she had lost the trail but called back later stating she had found it again.

The 34-year-old hiker from Oswego reported feeling dizzy and nauseous. Forest Rangers Dylan McCartney and Greg Hoag responded to assist and located the hiker at 6:17 p.m., just past Remsen Falls. Because the hiker was struggling to walk, Rangers drove her out to a nearby administration road and turned her over to Old Forge EMS for further medical attention.

Town of Keene

Wilderness Rescue: On July 3 at 12:13 p.m., Forest Ranger Lt. Chris Kostoss notified DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch that a woman on the summit of Saddleback Mountain had suffered an unstable knee injury and was requesting assistance.

Lieutenant Kostoss determined the best course of action was to insert a Ranger at the summit to assess the extent of the injury. Forest Rangers Kevin Burns and Benjamin Baldwin responded to the New York State Police Aviation Hangar in Lake Clear to prepare for a possible hoist mission. A helicopter lowered Ranger Burns to the 18-year-old hiker from Scotch Plains, New Jersey, and he determined the hiker could bear weight on her leg.

Ranger Burns advised they would slowly hike down to the Johns Brook Outpost and meet up with Forest Rangers Scott vanLaer and Scott Sabo to transport the hiker out of the woods. At 5:54 p.m., the hiker and Rangers were back to the trailhead, and she declined additional medical attention.

Town of North Elba

Wilderness Rescue: On July 3 at 8:45 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a hiking group reporting that they took a wrong turn coming off Mount Colden in the High Peaks Wilderness Area. Coordinates placed them on the trail to Lake Arnold rather than Marcy Dam.

Assistant Forest Ranger Ethan Engel and the Marcy Dam caretaker responded to assist, locating the lost hikers from New York City not far from their last known point. At 11:05 p.m., the group arrived back at Marcy Dam as Forest Ranger Peter Evans started in to escort the hikers out of the woods since they did not have any flashlights with them. At 12:32 a.m. on July 4, the hikers and Forest Ranger Evans were back to the trailhead.

Town of Keene

Wilderness Rescue: On July 5 at 8:02 a.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call requesting assistance with an ill hiker between Basin and Saddleback Mountains. The hikers had set out on a multi-day trip on July 2, which included summitting Lower Wolfjaw and camping at Wolfjaw lean-to, Mount Marcy/camping at Panther Gorge, and Haystack and Basin, camping on the col between Basin and Saddleback.

The 21-year-old hiker from Porter Corners experienced severe abdominal cramping and signs of dehydration. His hiking partner tried to rehydrate him, but they ran out of water. Dispatch established contact with the hikers and Forest Ranger Scott vanLaer, who was assigned to the Johns Brook interior outpost, responded to assist. Ranger vanLaer had to summit Saddleback via the Orebed Brook trail to reach the hikers.

The hiker was given fluids and the group started out on foot to Johns Brook Valley. At 5:27 p.m., Forest Rangers Megan LaPierre and Robbi Mecus transported the hikers via ATV from Johns Brook back to their vehicle. The hikers were issued tickets for camping over 4,000 feet in elevation, having a campfire in Panther Gorge, and not carrying a bear canister.

Hudson River/Indian Lake

On Sunday July 5, two Forest Rangers from Region 5 Zone D, Hamilton County, conducted outreach and education for New York State-licensed rafting guides on the Indian/Hudson River.

On this day, 182 customers hired licensed guides to raft them down the Indian and Hudson River Gorge. Rangers inspected 40 licensed guides, educating and assisting them with any violations observed.

Whiteface Mountain

Reconnaissance Training: On Monday July 6, Forest Rangers provided support to New York Army National Guard aviation officers out of the Albany Division to conduct a high and low reconnaissance of Whiteface Mountain.

The recon was conducted to identify future landing zones at the base of the mountain and to identify locations of rocky outcroppings where the NYARNG would be able to conduct Pinnacle training landings. A Pinnacle landing is when the Blackhawk touches down with only one or two wheels touching the ground while the Blackhawk gets loaded or unloaded.

The NYARNG and the Forest Rangers met with the Olympic Regional Development Authority on the ground for the low reconnaissance of Whiteface Mountain.

A Blackhawk UH-60 was used to conduct this mission with NYARNG member Matt Quackenbush piloting the Blackhawk, NYARNG Lt. Colonel Kevin Ferreira co-piloting, NYARNG Sgt. Joe Roth serving as flight mechanic, and Forest Ranger Lt. Dave Pachan the crew chief.


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