A hunter from Essex County spent a tough few nights in the woods after he became lost in a remote part of the Adirondacks. Thankfully he was in good enough shape to walk back to a search command post, and it sounds like he was prepared enough to make it through some chilly nights in the woods. The rescue is a good reminder that carrying some basic provisions is a good idea when hunting as well as hiking in remote or wooded areas.
It's easier to get lost when tracking a deer or on a drive than it is when walking a marked trail, though most of the hunters I know have a lot more woods sense than the hikers I see on trails. Still, some food, extra clothing, compass, maps, a flashlight and water are always good to throw in a pack when headed anywhere in the woods.
-- Don Lehman
Forest ranger rescue report
Town of Harrietstown
Search: On Oct. 20 at 8:39 a.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a request from New York State Police to locate a 66-year-old man from Keeseville who was three days overdue from hunting in the Western High Peaks Wilderness Area. The hunter was last seen on Oct. 17, in the morning hours at a campsite off Coreys Road in the town of Harrietstown. Forest Rangers responded, interviewed the reporting party, and began an immediate search of the area the hunter was known to frequent during the day. Plans were developed for additional search tactics. Volunteers from Search and Rescue of the Northern Adirondacks (SARNAK) and the NYS Federation of Search and Rescue assisted in the search. NYSP Aviation conducted additional infrared flights after dark. Containment and listening post search tactics were used overnight. On Oct. 21, shortly before 8 a.m., the hunter was located near a trail on the west side of Ampersand Brook by one of the search crews and SARNAK volunteers. He was cold, hungry and had been lost since Oct. 17. He walked back to the Command Post where he was evaluated by the Tupper Lake Rescue Squad and interviewed by Rangers. The incident concluded at 10:30 a.m.
Town of Indian Lake
Search: On Oct. 21 at 12:53 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a request to locate a 20-year-old man from Indian Lake who had become separated from his hunting party. The hunter was last seen at 9 a.m. The group was hunting the outlying areas along the Northville Placid Trail. Forest Rangers arrived in the general area at 1:15 p.m., and initiated a search. At 2:40 p.m., voice contact was made with the subject. He was located shortly after in good condition, escorted to the trailhead, and reunited with members of his hunting party. The incident concluded at 4 p.m.
Town of North Elba
Rescue: On Oct. 21 at 12:32 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a Forest Ranger about an injured man near Scott's Clearing in the High Peaks Wilderness Area. Three Rangers responded with NYSP Aviation. Two Rangers were inserted by helicopter at Scott's Clearing. The Rangers hiked down to the subject, evaluated him, and stabilized his injuries. The subject was then assisted uphill and hoisted into the helicopter. By 3:28 p.m., the hiker was transported to Adirondack Medical Center-Lake Placid via helicopter for further medical care.
Town of Keene
Search: On Oct. 21 at 7:41 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Essex County 911 regarding four women lost near Giant Washbowl along the Roaring Brook Falls trail in the Giant Mountain Wilderness Area. The women stated they had become separated from two of their friends. Essex County provided cell phone coordinates that placed the subjects on the trail. Ray Brook Dispatch contacted the two friends and found that they were safe and out of the woods. A Forest Ranger responded and made voice contact with the lost group at 9:20 p.m. The Ranger led the group back to the trailhead, where they were reunited with the remaining members of the hiking party. The incident concluded at 10:51 p.m.
Town of Greenfield
Search: On Oct. 21 at 11:08 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a Saratoga County Sherriff Investigator requesting Forest Ranger assistance to find a 12-year-old girl in the town of Greenfield. The girl was last seen at approximately 4:45 p.m. Forest Rangers responded and began searching the immediate area. Saratoga Sheriff's Investigators gathered information to help the search effort. NYSP, Lower Adirondack Search and Rescue volunteers, and local volunteer fire departments joined the search effort. By mid-morning on Oct. 22, a NYSP Trooper patrolling the area was notified that the girl was nearby. The Trooper observed the girl enter a swampy wooded area. Search efforts were focused on that area and Forest Ranger John Ploss located the subject at noon. The girl was reunited with her family and received medical attention from a local ambulance service.
Wildland Fires: During the past week, Forest Rangers responded to and extinguished a number of wildland fires caused by unattended campfires and fires resulting from debris burning. Forest Rangers want to remind the public that campfires need to be completely extinguished each night by flooding them with water, stirring completely, checking for heat, and repeating until the area of the campfire is cold. Forest Rangers caution the public that fall fires can sometimes start easily and travel rapidly in dry leaves. Recent warm weather and lack of rain has also dried the ground enough for fire to burn into the ground.