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Hedgehog Hill campsite

A hiker found this illegal campsite near Hedgehog Hill in Schroon in 2016. A man who was illegally camping in the area was escorted out last week after a relative expressed concerns for his welfare.

State forest rangers dealt with a particularly unusual case last week when they were contacted by a man who told them his son had been camping in Hoffman Notch Wilderness near Schroon Lake "long-term" and he was concerned about his welfare.

It's illegal to camp on wilderness lands for more than 3 days without a permit, so rangers set out to try to find him, and initially had no luck. But they eventually found him near Hedgehog Hill, escorted him out of the woods and an "enforcement action" was forthcoming.

The man is believed to have been camping at different spots around the wilderness area for years. A hiker who came across the man's campsite near Hedgehog Hill in the fall of 2016 and talked to him sent us pictures yesterday. It looks like there will be quite a bit of cleanup needed back there if the site remained as it was in the pictures.

Details of the case, and other state forest ranger rescues from last week, are below in the weekly ranger report. It was a busy week win the High Peaks and our local trails, and plenty of lessons to be learned. Foremost, carry enough water, or a filtration device, in light of the summer heat, bring flashlights or headlamps and don't take on hikes that are too much for young children or others in your party.

-- Don Lehman

Town of Schroon

Essex County

Wilderness Rescue:  On July 11 at 7:40 p.m., a call came in to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch from the father of a man who was camping long-term illegally on state land in the Hoffman Notch Wilderness Area. The 36-year-old male from Crown Point was communicating with his father over the course of several weeks but the father stated that he had not heard from the son in some time and that he had missed the last two supply drops. Worried about his son’s well-being, he requested Forest Rangers to do a welfare check based on his last known location. On July 12, Forest Ranger Lt. Brian Dubay headed into the wilderness area with Forest Ranger Marie Arnold to locate the man with Forest Ranger Jamison Martin remaining in Schroon Lake for communication assistance. The welfare check turned into a search for the missing man since the last known location provided no results. After several hours of searching the location described by the father, the father was brought in to lead the Rangers to the correct location. At 3:20 p.m., the missing man was located near Hedgehog Hill in good condition. He was led out by Forest Rangers and turned over to his father. Enforcement actions are pending.

Town of Long Lake

Hamilton County

Wilderness Rescue:  On July 8 at 4:55 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Hamilton County Emergency Service reporting an injured 71-year-old male hiker on Owls Head Mountain. The Baldwinsville man had apparently taken a fall just below the summit, dislocating his shoulder and hitting his head.  The hiker continued to walk out until the pain forced him to stop. Forest Ranger James Waters responded with a member of the Long Lake Rescue Squad to intercept the hiker and provide first aid before walking him out to a waiting ambulance. At 6:18 p.m., the hiker and all personnel were back at the trailhead, and EMS staff tended to the hiker.

Town of Indian Lake

Hamilton County

Wilderness Rescue: On July 9 at 7:07 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a transferred call from a male caller from Binghamton who was on the summit of Blue Mountain in the Blue Mountain Wild Forest with his wife and two children, ages 10 and 6. The hiker’s concern was that the kids were too tired to continue back down the mountain. The subject requested permission to drive his vehicle to the summit to retrieve his family, but Dispatch informed him that this was not an option and transferred his call to Forest Ranger Jason Scott. Forest Ranger Scott decided the best course of action would be to drive to the summit where the Ranger would give the 44-year-old mother and 6-year-old daughter a ride back down the mountain while the father and 10-year-old hiked down. Forest Ranger Scott arrived at the summit at 7:45 p.m., where he picked up the two hikers. He then proceeded to drive the pair to the trailhead where they met the rest of their party. At 8:50 p.m., the father and son emerged from the mountain and Forest Ranger Scott was clear of the scene.

Town of Dresden

Washington County

Wilderness Rescue: On July 10 at 3:23 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a hiker on Black Mountain requesting assistance. The caller reported he was close to Lake George, had lost his water, and was unable to make it back on the trail to his vehicle. Dispatch directed the caller to dial 911 to obtain his coordinates. Lt. John Solan, on boat patrol on Lake George, was closest and arrived at Black Mountain Point. The 30-year-old hiker from Hudson Falls was escorted down the trail to the boat and the hiker was transported to Hulett's Landing, where he was turned over to a family member for a ride back to his vehicle by 4:51 p.m.

Town of Denning

Ulster County

Wilderness Rescue: On July 10 at 6:20 p.m., radio communications came in to Central Dispatch from Forest Ranger Howard Kreft who reported an injured hiker from Frost Valley YMCA Camp. The 13-year-old male hiker was part of a camp group and had suffered a lower leg injury one mile from the YMCA site near the High Falls Brook. At 8:49 p.m., Forest Ranger Kreft notified Dispatch the hiker from Dobbs Ferry was being treated by Grahamsville EMS for his injury and was being helped out of the woods.

Village of Fishkill

Dutchess County

Wilderness Rescue:  On July 11 at 9:45 p.m., a call came in to Central Dispatch from Dutchess County 911 reporting a lost female hiker on Mt. Beacon. The 25-year-old hiker from Poughkeepsie went for a hike without any gear and got lost as it turned dark. The hiker stated that she had asthma and did not have her medications and was distressed because she was lost in the dark. The hiker was instructed to stay put. Forest Rangers Lincoln Hanno and Patrick Lee responded using cellphone coordinates from the 911 call, which placed the hiker on the Fishkill Ridge Trail. The hiker was located and escorted back to her vehicle by 11:56 p.m.

Town of Hunter

Greene County

Wilderness Rescue: On July 13 at 10:30 a.m., Greene County 911 transferred a call to Central Dispatch from a hiker at the Kaaterskill Wild Forest who suffered an unstable left ankle injury while walking on the rocks in the middle pool of Kaaterskill Falls. Two Assistant Forest Rangers provided patient care and splint the injured ankle. Forest Rangers Robert Dawson, Jeff Breigle, Jason Seeley, and Katherine Fox responded with the Twin Clove Rescue Team and Hunter Police Department. The 28-year-old hiker from Addison Place, New Jersey, was placed in a litter equipped with a rescue wheel and carried out to the Rt. 23A trailhead to an awaiting ambulance.  The hiker was transported to a local hospital for additional care. All resources were clear of the scene by 12:15 p.m. 

Town of Greig

Lewis County

Wilderness Rescue:  On July 13 at 1:28 p.m., Forest Ranger Matthew Savarie responded to a call of a 56-year-old female from Chestertown thrown from a horse and complaining of substantial head and knee pain. The woman indicated the pain was too bad to move. Forest Ranger Savarie administered basic first aid and gave the ambulance a more detailed location of their whereabouts. Forest Ranger Savarie helped Lewis County Search and Rescue load the woman into the ambulance and then guided the group the several miles of horse trails back to the main road. The incident concluded at 2:24 p.m.

Town of Keene

Essex County

Wilderness Rescue:  On July 13 at 11:45 p.m., a call came in to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch reporting a group of overdue hikers on Mount Colden. It was reported that the party of seven had decided to climb the Trap Dike on Mount Colden in the High Peaks Wilderness Area. On the descent toward Lake Arnold their phones started to lose power. The callers were placed in contact with Forest Ranger Lt. Christopher Kostoss who requested that they stay together at Lake Arnold and wait for first light to finish their hike out in the morning. At 7:30 a.m. on July 14, radio communications came in from Assistant Forest Ranger Evan Treadgold that the seven men from New Jersey were at the Marcy Dam Outpost and requesting assistance out to Adirondak Loj. They were complaining of being tired, cold, wet, hungry, and dehydrated from their two-day ordeal. Forest Ranger James Giglinto responded to Marcy Dam and transported three of the hikers who were in advance stages of dehydration. The remaining four hiked out back to Adiondak Loj. The incident concluded at 8:30 a.m.

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reporter - crimes & courts, public safety and Warren County government

Don Lehman covers crime and Warren County government for The Post-Star. His work can be found on Twitter @PS_CrimeCourts and on poststar.com/app/blogs.

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