Posted on August 30th, 2011 16 comments Add a comment >>
In the current issue of the Adirondack Explorer, we ran a debate on whether the state should fix the dam at Duck Hole in the High Peaks Wilderness. Now that the dam has been breached, the debate is whether the state should rebuild it.
This afternoon, we obtained several aerial photos taken after the rains of Hurricane Irene broke the dam. They were shot Monday by Kris Alberga, a forester with the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
The top photo shows Duck Hole as one looks southeast toward Preston Ponds. Much of the water has drained, exposing numerous mudflats.
The photo to the right shows water running over the broken dam. This is the start of the Cold River, a tributary of the Raquette. The structure on the right is a lean-to.
The photo below shows Duck Hole as one looks north toward the Sawtooth Mountains. The narrow bay is the Roaring Brook inlet.
Tom Martin, DEC’s regional forester, told me earlier today that he expects Duck Hole will dwindle into “a couple of small ponds with wetlands around them.”
Martin said he didn’t know whether DEC will rebuild the dam.
Neil Woodworth, executive director of the Adirondack Mountain Club, said most hikers would like to see the dam rebuilt. Others question the wisdom of maintaining such a structure in an area classified as Wilderness.
When I have time I will post the debates that ran in the September-October issue of the Explorer. Tom Wemett of ADK’s Northville-Placid Trail chapter wrote in favor of repairing the dam. Bill Ingersoll, the guidebook writer, took the opposite side.
Posted on August 30th, 2011 16 comments Add a comment >>
Since Hurricane Irene drenched the High Peaks region, more than thirty guests have been stranded at Adirondak Loj, unable to leave due to a washout on the only road to the rustic inn.
The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK), which owns the Loj, hopes that the road will open in a day or two, but with so much devastation around the region, nothing is certain.
Neil Woodworth, executive director of the ADK, said a few guests opted to walk out, but most are waiting for the road to be repaired enough to allow them to take their cars. As of today, there were thirty-one guests (and about fifteen cars) at the Loj.
“They’re as hopeful as we are that [the roadwork] will be done tomorrow or the next day,” he said.
The Loj and ADK’s High Peaks Information Center are located at the end of Adirondak Loj Road, which starts on Route 73 outside Lake Placid village. The ADK property is the most popular starting point for trips in the High Peaks Wilderness Area.
The rains of Hurricane Irene swelled the West Branch of the Ausable River and washed out a section of the five-mile-long road.
Woodworth said Essex County expects to reopen one lane of the road this week. At some time in the future, the one lane would be replaced by a temporary bridge, and eventually the temporary bridge would be replaced by a permanent bridge.
He did not know when the bridges will be installed. The county built a new bridge this year at another stream crossing. A temporary bridge had been in place for a few years at that location.
Hikers also cannot drive to the Garden in Keene Valley, the trailhead used to access Johns Brook Lodge, ADK’s interior inn. The road to the Garden parking lot is washed out.
At this point, though, the lack of vehicular access to the Garden and the Loj is largely immaterial as the state has closed the eastern High Peaks Wilderness (as well as the Dix Mountain Wilderness and Giant Mountain Wilderness). It’s uncertain when the Wilderness Areas will reopen, but they will remain closed through Labor Day weekend.
Moreover, Route 73, the main route to Keene Valley and Lake Placid from the south, will be closed for weeks, if not months.
The road is officially closed from the junction of Route 9 north to Route 9N in Keene, according to Carol Breen, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation. However, we are told that people are driving between Keene and Keene Valley, despite a roadblock. The worst damage on the highway occurred south of Keene Valley, in the St. Huberts area.
Breen said DOT will repair the road before winter. She said DOT expects to repair a washout on Route 9N, which connects Keene and Jay, in a few days.
Vinny McClelland, the owner of the Mountaineer in Keene Valley, said the closure of the Wilderness Areas and the road washouts have dealt a double whammy to local businesses.
“This is usually the biggest week of the year. This will have a major impact on the town,” he said.
McClelland said the Mountaineer, which sells outdoor gear and clothing, sustained only minor damage from the storm, but its outlet store up the road was severely flooded and lost most of its merchandise.
Note: earlier reports said there were twenty-five guests at the Loj.
Posted on August 30th, 2011 11 comments Add a comment >>
The state Department of Environmental Conservation is starting to get assessments of storm damage in the backcountry in the High Peaks region, and the news is not good.
“Every place we’ve looked bridges are gone, trails are eroded, and there’s lots of blowdown,” said Tom Martin, the department’s regional forester.
And eroded may be an understatement. When DEC workers headed up the Van Hoevenberg Trail above Marcy Dam, Martin said, they found “a three-foot gorge where the trail used to be—it’s just gone.” The Van Hoevenberg is the most popular route up Mount Marcy, the state’s highest summit.
Likewise, the trail up “Misery Mile” to Avalanche Pass has become a gully. “It’s gone,” Martin said.
DEC has just begun its inspection of the backcountry, but Martin suspects that any trail near a brook or on a steep slope has sustained similar damage. He noted that the first bridge on the Klondike Trail, which goes from South Meadow to Johns Brook Valley, was washed a half-mile downstream. “My guess is that we’ve lost the vast majority of our bridges in the interior,” he said.
He also said the rains from Hurricane Irene created “more than a dozen–and probably a lot more” new slides in the High Peaks. “It’s going to take weeks to figure out what went on in the backcountry,” he added.
The cleanup and rehabilitation work will take months. Martin expects that some trails are too damaged to be repaired and will have to be relocated. He said he didn’t know if all the bridges will be replaced.
Martin also said he didn’t know if DEC will repair the bridge over Marcy Dam or the dam at Duck Hole. “I don’t have any idea,” he said. “These are questions we haven’t thought about yet.”
Located on the Van Hoevenberg Trail, Marcy Dam is perhaps the most popular crossroads in the High Peaks Wilderness. Hikers who start at Adirondack Loj had used the bridge to cross Marcy Brook on their way to Mount Marcy and other backcountry destinations.
Martin said the rains from Irene washed out not only the bridge, but also the dam’s “flush boards,” which maintained the impoundment’s water level. As a consequence, the Marcy Dam pond has lost much of its water, exposing mudflats.
Duck Hole, the source of the Cold River, also has been largely drained. “We anticipate it’ll turn into a couple of small ponds with wetlands around them,” Martin said.
Neil Woodworth, executive director of the Adirondack Mountain Club, said he hopes DEC will repair the Marcy Dam bridge. Meanwhile, he added, ADK is exploring the possibility of reopening another trail (closed for years) that connects Adirondak Loj to the Marcy Dam Truck Trail. The truck trail and the Van Hoevenberg Trail follow the opposite sides of Marcy Brook to the dam. (I hiked the truck trail yesterday as far as the dam and found it in fairly good shape, despite some erosion and a few washouts.)
Woodworth also said most hikers would like to see DEC rebuild the Duck Hole dam. He thinks ADK would support a reconstruction, but other projects may take a higher priority.
Following are links to our earlier coverage (with more photos) of the damage from Hurricane Irene:
Posted on August 30th, 2011 28 comments Add a comment >>
With the most popular Wilderness Areas in the Adirondacks closed, many people are wondering where they can hike this Labor Day weekend.
Forest rangers have yet to reconnoiter all of the backcountry, but it’s believed that the central and western Adirondacks largely escaped the wrath of Irene.
Yesterday the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced that the eastern High Peaks Wilderness, the Dix Mountain Wilderness, and the Giant Mountain Wilderness would all be closed during the holiday weekend. The three areas probably encompass more than 175,000 acres. The western High Peaks—which constitutes more than half of the High Peaks Wilderness—remains open.
DEC said Irene’s heavy rains severely eroded trails, washed out bridges, and felled trees throughout the Wilderness Areas, creating hazardous conditions.
As the Explorer reported yesterday, the bridge over Marcy Dam—on the most popular trail to Mount Marcy—was washed out. The dam remains intact, but the water in the impoundment has dropped, revealing mud in the middle of the pond.
DEC forester Kris Alberga flew over the High Peaks region and discovered that the dam at scenic Duck Hole was breached, draining that pond. Duck Hole is the source of the Cold River. It is (or had been) one of the favorite campsites of hikers on the Northville-Placid Trail.
Alberga also reported new slides on numerous High Peaks, including on Wright, Colden, Basin, Haystack, the Wolf Jaws, Giant, and the Dixes. I was able to take a photo of the new slide on Wright Peak yesterday before DEC closed the region. As viewed from Marcy Dam, the slide is to the right of the existing Angel Slides, a popular destination for backcountry skiers. The new slide appears to be longer than the existing slides.
Rob Davies, DEC’s director of Lands and Forests, said the eastern part of the Adirondacks received the brunt of the storm. “The western part of the Park fared very well in the storm,” he said. “That may be an excellent place to look for people who want to get out and recreate this weekend.”
For example, DEC spokesman David Winchell said the Moose River Plains seems to have weathered the storm well. He expects that the adjacent West Canada Lake Wilderness did also.
Presumably, tracts farther west also remain accessible. On Sunday night, my son and I drove through much of the western Adirondacks, from Woodgate to Saranac Lake—via Route 28, Route 30, and Route 3—and saw very little storm damage other than a few downed trees. Power was out only in Blue Mountain Lake and Long Lake.
However, DEC officials caution that they have not yet been able to reconnoiter the backcountry and so hikers should understand that they may encounter storm damage. “We are still in the assessment mode,” Davies said.
The eastern High Peaks region encompasses many popular mountains, including Mount Marcy (the state’s highest summit), Algonquin Peak, and the peaks of the Great Range. Undoubtedly, shutting down the eastern High Peaks on Labor Day weekend will deal an economic blow to Lake Placid and Keene.
Lake Placid and Keene probably will feel the economic effects of Irene far beyond this weekend. Route 73, the main route into the hamlets from the south, was washed out in several places and is impassable. It’s anybody’s guess when it will be reopened. I’m told that Route 86, the eastern approach to Lake Placid, has been reopened.
Moreover, a bridge washed out on the Adirondak Loj Road, stranding twenty-five guests at the Loj, which is run by the Adirondack Mountain Club. Located outside Lake Placid, the Loj is the most popular trailhead for the High Peaks Wildneress. The road to the Garden in Keene Valley, another popular trailhead, also is washed out.
With those trailheads closed, the Upper Works trailhead in Newcomb likely will see more use. Newcomb Supervisor George Canon said the road to Upper Works remains open. Hikers could use the trailhead this weekend to access the western High Peaks.
DEC divides the High Peaks Wilderness into two management zones. The eastern High Peaks, which sees far more traffic, has more restrictions on hikers and backpackers. The western High Peaks is more remote. Its natural assets include seven of the forty-six High Peaks, Duck Hole, and the Cold River. A long stretch of the Northville-Placid Trail passes through the western High Peaks.
The High Peaks Unit Management Plan defines the boundary between the two zones as “the height of land immediately west of the Indian Pass Trail.” This means more than half of the 193,000-acre Wilderness Area is in the western zone. The Dix Mountain Wilderness encompasses 45,000 acres and the Giant Mountain Wilderness 23,000 acres.
Posted on August 29th, 2011 30 comments Add a comment >>
With Labor Day weekend approaching, the long-range forecast calls for sunny skies, but that will be of little consolation to people who hoped to hike in the High Peaks.
Because of damage caused by Irene to trails and backcountry infrastructure, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has closed the eastern High Peaks Wilderness, Dix Mountain Wilderness, and Giant Mountain Wilderness through the weekend.
The eastern High Peaks Wilderness and the other two Wilderness Areas contain some of the Adirondack Parks’ most spectacular scenery and the majority of the forty-six High Peaks.
In addition, the roads to the most popular High Peaks trailheads—the Adirondak Loj outside Lake Placid and the Garden in Keene Valley—are both closed because of washouts.
Neil Woodworth, executive director of the Adirondack Mountain Club, said about twenty-five guests are stranded at the Loj. He hopes to meet with Essex County officials on Tuesday to see what can be done to get the guests out.
“We’ve got plenty of provisions and staff to take care of them until we get an evacuation plan,” Woodworth said.
A portion of Adirondak Loj Road collapsed when the West Branch of the Ausable River, swollen by heavy rains, undercut the pavement. Until the bridge is replaced, the fifteen vehicles parked at the Loj have no way out.
In another blow to the Loj, the rains also washed out the bridge at Marcy Dam. The dam is a favorite destination of guests at the Loj and a scenic stopping point on the Van Hoevenberg Trail, the most popular route to Mount Marcy, the state’s highest summit. It’s estimated that forty thousand people a year visit Marcy Dam.
Forest rangers are still assessing the damage to trails, but DEC spokesman David Winchell said many routes were severely eroded by the rain. He noted that that the first bridge on the Klondike Trail has been washed away and that the trails along Lake Colden are under water.
DEC is working to reopen all its Adirondack campgrounds before the weekend.
Posted on August 29th, 2011 18 comments Add a comment >>
The rains from Irene washed away the bridge over Marcy Dam, one of the most well-traveled crossings in the High Peaks Wilderness, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
DEC spokesman David Winchell said the crossing is now impassable. He does not know when the bridge will be replaced.
The bridge is used by hikers who access the High Peaks, including Mount Marcy, from Adirondak Loj via the highly popular Van Hoevenberg Trail. It crosses Marcy Brook as it spills out of Marcy Dam Pond.
The Van Hoevenberg Trail reaches Marcy Dam after 2.3 miles. Hikers can still get to the other side of Marcy Brook by taking the Marcy Dam Truck Trail to Marcy Dam, but this approach is considerably longer.
Winchell said DEC is encouraging people to stay out of the backcountry as the department evaluates the damage to trails and other facilities.
“We are just beginning assessments,” he said. ”It is too earlier to say anything about when work will get done. I can tell you that we are receiving reports that there are number of bridges washed away and trails severely eroded in the eastern High Peaks and Dix and Giant Wilderness Areas.”
He expects to have more information later today.
Posted on August 26th, 2011 2 comments Add a comment >>
Sightseers gathered in Crown Point today to watch the installation of the arch for the new bridge connecting New York State and Vermont.
The arch was still being slowly hoisted this afternoon. Crown Point photographer Seth Lang took these photos of the massive structure–which is about eight stories high–being moved into place by barges.
The original bridge was closed in 2009 because of structural damage, causing economic hardship to towns on the both side of Lake Champlain. The new one is scheduled to open this fall, according to the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.
Updates on the bridge construction, including photos, are available online from the state Department of Transportation.
Posted on August 22nd, 2011 1 comment - Add a comment >>
The state Department of Environmental Conservation has released its midsummer Ranger Report. It includes the deaths of two hikers in the High Peaks. The victims were middle-aged men who suffered a heart attack on the trail. Also notable is the ordeal of two young men who set out on a canoe trip from Henderson Lake to Tupper Lake. When their canoe capsized in the Cold River, they lost all their gear and their food. Apparently, they had to walk to Long Lake without shoes.
Following is the report verbatim.
Town of Newcomb, High Peaks Wilderness
On Monday, June 20, 2011 at approximately 8:06 PM, a DEC Forest Ranger was contacted by the Newcomb fire department chief regarding Michael Yandon, 50, of Newcomb, NY who was reported missing. Six DEC Forest Rangers responded and along with fire department personnel, began searching areas of state land that Mr. Yandon was known to frequent. Search efforts continued the following day, June 21, with 40 volunteers, K-9 units and four State Police Troopers also assisting in the search. At 1:25 PM, Mr. Yandon was located at Fish Rock lean-to on Newcomb Lake in fair condition. He was taken to the Santanoni Gatehouse where he was evaluated by Newcomb rescue personnel and interviewed by State Police before being released to his family. Always let friends and family know where you plan to hike and camp and how long you plan to be in the woods.
Town of Keene, Dix Mountain Wilderness Area
On Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at approximately 3:30 PM, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from Adirondack Mountain Reserve staff reporting an injured hiker on the Indian Head trail. Sam Pence, 23, of Naples, FL, was at the top of Indian Head jumping between the rocks when he landed wrong injuring his leg and was no longer able to bear weight on it. A member of Mr. Pence’s hiking group used a fireman’s carry and brought him within .25 mile of the road. A Forest Ranger, an Assistant Forest Ranger and Adirondack Mountain Reserve staff reached Mr. Pence at that location. He was packaged into a litter and carried out to the road. There he was placed in the back of the Forest Rangers truck and transported to his own vehicle. Mr. Pence sought medical treatment on his own. Accidents can happen. Don’t hike alone. Always carry a first aid kit and know how to obtain assistance in emergency situations. The DEC Forest Ranger emergency phone number is 518-891-0235.
Town of Keene, Dix Mountain Wilderness Area
On Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at approximately 1:25 PM, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting an injured climber. A 13-year-old male from Camp Dudley in Westport, NY was being belayed to bottom of the Beer Walls, a popular climbing cliff near Chapel Pond. The belay failed and the young man fell about five feet to the ground. Although he landed on his feet, he fell back onto a rocky area and was injured. A camp counselor walked out to Route 73 and used a satellite phone to call the DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook. The EMTs provided basic medical care and packaged the young man into litter. He was carried to Route 73 by the forest ranger and EMTs where he was placed in an ambulance and transported to Elizabethtown Community Hospital for further evaluation and treatment. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and know how to obtain assistance in emergency situations. The DEC Forest Ranger emergency phone number is 518-891-0235.
Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness
On Monday, August 8th, at approximately 9 PM, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from staff at the Adirondack Loj reporting a distressed hiker on the Mary Dam Trail. Paul Gervais, 49, of Endicott, NY was returning from a hike up Mt. Colden with family when he complained of exhaustion and dehydration. Two members of his group had continued on to the Adirondack Loj to summon assistance. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded and met Mr. Gervais approximately 150 yards from the trailhead slowly making his way back accompanied by other members of his party. Upon assessing Mr. Gervais, one of the forest rangers returned to his vehicle to get oxygen and other medical gear and to request an ambulance. The other forest ranger assisted Mr. Gervais as he continued to walk to the trailhead. He walked only a short distance when he stated he could not proceed, he sat down and then collapsed. The forest ranger immediately began providing cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, and the returning forest ranger applied the oxygen he had retrieved. Minutes later, at 10:05 PM, advance life support emergency medical technicians from Lake Placid Ambulance arrived on scene and continued the attempt to revive Mr. Gervais. The attempts were unsuccessful and ceased at 10:30 PM. State Police and DEC Environment Conservation Police were informed of the incident and conducted an investigation. Mr. Gervais’s body was turned over to the Essex County Coroner and transported to the Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake. Know your physical abilities and the difficulties of the hike you plan to take. Don’t push yourself too hard, rest often and turn back if you are having physical difficulties.
Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness
On Friday, August 12, at approximately 2:49 PM DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook was informed by the Algonquin Summit Steward that he and a hiker were providing cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to a man that had collapsed near the summit of Algonquin Mountain in the High Peaks Wilderness. Alexander Kazimirov, 59, of Dryden, NY, had collapsed while hiking the mountain. The summit steward was assisted by a hiker who happened to be an off-duty paramedic. An Assistant Forest Ranger on patrol in the McIntyre Brook area responded to assist in the CPR. Three DEC Forest Rangers responded to the Lake Placid airport, to meet a State Police Aviation Unit helicopter with a medic on board and were transported to the summit of Algonquin. The attempt to revive Mr. Kazimirov was unsuccessful and the medic called an end to CPR at 3:43 PM. Mr. Kazimirov’s body was taken to the Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake. State Police and DEC Environment Conservation Police were informed of a death on state land incident and conducted an investigation. Mr. Kazimirov was a staff scientist at Cornell University in the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source program. Mr. Kazimirov had been accompanied by his dog. Forest Rangers walked the dog out and made arrangements for the Lake Placid Animal Shelter to take it. Know your physical abilities and the difficulties of the hike you plan to take. Don’t push yourself too hard, rest often and turn back if you are having physical difficulties.
Town of Keene, Dix Mountain Wilderness Area
On Saturday, August 13, at approximately 6:14 PM DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting an injured hiker on the Dix Mountain Trail from the Ausable Club property in the Town of Keene in the Dix Mountain Wilderness. Michael Lawliss, 43, of Plattsburgh, NY was returning from a hike with family when he injured his leg. Two DEC Forest Rangers and an Assistant Forest Ranger responded assisted by nine members from the Keene Volunteer Fire Department and Keene Valley Volunteer Fire Department. The responders carried Mr. Lawliss 2.5 miles back to the trailhead. He declined transport by ambulance and indicated that a family member would take him to seek medical care. Accidents can happen. Don’t hike alone. Always carry a first aid kit and know how to obtain assistance in emergency situations. The DEC Forest Ranger emergency phone number is 518-891-0235.
Town of Harriestown, Saranac Lake Wild Forest
On Wednesday, June 29, 2011 at approximately 6:20 PM, DEC Dispatch received a call from staff of the Fish Creek Campground that two 14-year-old girls from Quebec had not been seen since 1:30 PM. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded to the scene and began searching at 7:16 PM. The girls were located in good condition at 7:47 PM. They had taken a walk on a herd path behind the restrooms and became lost on state land. Know the area you plan to camp and hike, and pay attention to your surroundings.
Town of Tupper Lake, Horseshoe Lake Wild Forest
On Sunday, July 3, 2011 at approximately 7:32 AM, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting Mark Smith, 47, of Canajoharie, NY, had not been seen since 4 PM of the previous day. The last place he was seen was the Round Lake outlet. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded and began searching the area. At 10:16 AM, Mr. Smith was found in fair condition east of Round Lake. Know the area you plan to hike and camp. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them.
Town of Harrietstown, High Peaks Wilderness
On Saturday, August 13, at approximately 12:54 PM DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook was advised by Franklin County 911 that an adult member of a Boy Scout group was in distress on Ampersand Mountain. Doug Collins, 53, of Amherst, NY was on medication for a medical condition. Six DEC Forest Rangers and a Physician’s Assistant responded. An assessment determined that Mr. Collins was dehydrated. He was rehydrated and given oxygen. He was able to walk out on his own to the trailhead escorted by the Physician’s Assistant and Forest Rangers. Mr. Collins declined further medical care or transport at the trailhead. Carry and drink plenty of water while hiking and take rest breaks often to prevent exhaustion.
Town of Long Lake, High Peaks Wilderness
On Tuesday, June 28, 2011 at approximately 10:47 AM, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting two lost individuals. Bennett Sherry, 25, of Ogdensburgh, NY and Jacob Tagg, 20, of Hammond, NY were dropped off 3 days prior at Henderson Lake to do a paddle and camping trip to Tupper Lake through the Cold River area. During the trip their canoe capsized and all of their gear, including their shoes, was lost. They attempted to walk out and at one point were able to briefly contact Mr. Sherry’s mother by cell phone. They reported that they had not eaten in three days. Six DEC Forest Rangers responded and began hasty searches of all the surrounding trails. Meanwhile, DEC Disptach contacted Verizon and, using the cell phone coordinates, were able to establish their general location. At 3:09 PM, Mr. Sherry and Mr. Tagg came out of the woods on their own in Long Lake and called their families. Forest Rangers interviewed the two men and learned they had spent the first 24 hours after the canoe capsized searching for the Northville Placid Trail. Once they found the trail they walked south on it until the encountered a lean-to where they spent the night. The next day they proceeded on the Northville-Placid Trail toward Long Lake and made the cell phone call to Mr. Sherry’s mother stating they were three hours from Long Lake. After placing the phone call the two men continued down the trail until they were able to obtain a boat ride to Long Lake. Due to unclear cell phone messages, Mr. Sherry’s parents were unsure of the conditions of the subjects or their exact location, only that they had been lost in the High Peaks Wilderness Area for two days. Mr. Sherry and Mr. Tagg, despite their misfortunes, were not trying to seek assistance, only to report in to their family. Don’t depend on electronic devices in the Adirondack backcountry. Have an escape plan if things go bad.
Town of Indian Lake, Blue Mountain Wild Forest
On Wednesday, July 6, 2011 at approximately 1:21 PM, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting an injured hiker on Blue Mountain. Edward Barry, 63, of Bronx, NY, was near the summit of Blue Mountain when he slipped and fell on a wet rock while wearing sneakers, injuring his right knee. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded to the scene and responders from the Indian Lake and Blue Mountain Lake Fire Departments assisted them with the one-mile carryout. Mr. Barry declined EMS transport at the trailhead at 4:30 PM and was being transported to the hospital in a private vehicle. Wear proper footwear in the backcountry – boots or hiking shoes with proper soles and ankle support.
Town of Lake Pleasant, private land
On Saturday, July 9, 2011 at approximately 4:20 PM, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a request from Hamilton County 911 to assist in locating a missing kayaker on Lake Pleasant. Anthony Perez, 19 of Bronx, NY, was kayaking when he was witnessed going underwater. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded with an airboat to assist the Sheriff’s office. The State Police dive team, St. Johnsville dive team and two DEC Conservation Officers also assisted. Search operations continued for 3 days with a total of nine DEC Forest Rangers working the search. Arial detection and sonar detection were used with negative results. On July 11, 2011 a second Forest Ranger airboat was added to the search efforts. On July 12, 2011 at approximately 12:00 PM, Mr. Perez’s body was found and recovered by the State Police dive team using sonar detection equipment. Forest Rangers assisted with the removal of the body. Always wear a properly fitted and secured personal flotation device when kayaking, canoeing or boating.
Town of Benson, Shaker Mountain
On Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at approximately 4:57 PM, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a request for assistance in the search for three missing individuals on Cathead Mountain. Paige Feenstra, 22, a 12-year-old female and an 11-month-old male, all of Franklin, TN, had been hiking with other family members when they decided to return to their vehicle. When the rest of the hiking party returned to the vehicle and didn’t find the three, they called 911 for assistance. Two DEC Forest Rangers, a DEC Environmental Conservation Officer and NY State Troopers responded and began searching surrounding trails and outlets. At approximately 7:59 PM, Ms. Feenstra and the two children were located in good health in a residential backyard on Chartier Road. The Cathead Mountain trailhead had been closed to the public for awhile so the trail was not well maintained. Ms. Feenstra and the children lost the trail and wandered into a drainage that led them towards the road. A resident heard the 11 month old child crying and located the three lost hikers behind her house. Know the area you plan to hike and keep groups together.
Town of Thurman, Wilcox Lake Wild Forest
On Monday, June 27, 2011 at approximately 8:28 PM, DEC Dispatch in Ray Book received a report of a group of lost hikers on Crane Mountain. Jessica Arney, 25, Vera Tolova, 25 and Mikki Puija, 23, all of Washington DC, were hiking on Crane Mountain when they lost the trail. Three DEC Forest Rangers responded. The three women were located in good health in a drainage area on the southwest side of the mountain. Forest Rangers escorted them back to the trailhead at 11:28 PM. Know the area you plan to hike and camp. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them. Always carry a flashlight or headlamp.
Town of Bolton, DEC Lake George Island Campground
On Monday, July 4, 2011 at approximately 2:55 PM, two DEC Forest Rangers were on a state land boat patrol on Lake George when they overheard radio traffic regarding a distressed boater in Log Bay. The Forest Rangers were nearby and responded to the situation. They found a boat with four people on aboard and the boat’s stern sinking. The Forest Rangers helped the four boaters aboard their patrol boat and gave them PFDs. They were taken to nearby Lake George Campground and interviewed Lake George Park Commission Officers. The boat eventually sank with the bow still above water. The four people were returned to Fischer’s Marina where their vehicle was located. Always wear a properly fitted and secured personal flotation device when kayaking, canoeing or boating.
Town of Thurman, Wilcox Lake Wild Forest
On Monday, July 4, 2011 at approximately 5:18 PM, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from Tiffany Tryniszewski, 25, of Rexford, NY, reporting that she and her hiking partner, Claudia Andrejuk, 27 of Schenectady, NY, were at the summit of Crane Mountain and could not find the trail back down. Ms. Tryniszewski also stated that they did not have any water and were dehydrated. Three DEC Forest Rangers responded and located the two women at 7:37 PM. They were rehydrated and walked out the woods and back to their vehicle at 8:45 PM. Know the area you plan to hike and camp. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them. Carry and drink plenty of water while hiking.
Town of Johnsburg, Siamese Ponds Wilderness
On Saturday, July 9, 2011 at approximately 3:50 PM, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting an injured hiker near Thirteenth Lake. Louis Coli, 52, of Westford, VT, fell and injured his leg while returning to his camp on the Thirteenth Lake/Puffer Pond trail. Three DEC Forest Rangers and an Assistant Forest Ranger responded and were assisted by a Johnsburgh EMS personnel, and members of the Horicon and North River Fire Departments. Mr. Coli was packaged in a litter and carried to the Old Farm Clearing Trail. There he was placed on a Horicon Fire Department ATV and transported to the trailhead. At 9:13 PM he was transferred to an ambulance and was transported to Glens Falls Hospital. Accidents can happen. Don’t hike alone. Always carry a first aid kit and know how to obtain assistance in emergency situations. The DEC Forest Ranger emergency phone number is 518-891-0235.
Town of Hague, Lake George Wild Forest
On Thursday, July 14, 2011 at approximately 10:35 PM, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a report of two teenagers who left in kayaks from Rogers Rock Campground on Lake George at 8:15 PM and had not returned. A 14-year-old female from New York, NY and a 16-year-old male from Tannersville, NY, had headed in the direction of the Waltonian Islands. A DEC Forest Ranger and a DEC Environmental Conservation Officer responded and began searching the waters of Lake George for the two teenagers. At 11:22 PM, the Forest Ranger made voice contact with the pair and escorted them back to shore at 11:38 PM. Know what time the sunsets and plan accordingly. Always carry a flashlight or headlamp.
Town of Bolton, Lake George Wild Forest
On Monday, July 25, 2011 at approximately 2:49 PM, during Log Bay Day activities, participants in Log Bay Day activities observed a man face down in the water who was not breathing. They pulled Jamie Birkenstak, 35, hometown unknown, into their boat, began administering cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and brought to the boat to shore. DEC Forest Rangers, DEC Environmental Conservations Officers and Lake George Park Commission Officers on patrol in the area were flagged down to assist. Three Forest Rangers jumped from shore and continued CPR. An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) from a Lake George Park Commission patrol boat was also administered on Mr. Birkenstak. He was transferred to the Lake George Park Commission boat and transported to Green Island. Mr. Birkentak was alert and conscious upon arrival at Green Island where he was placed in an ambulance and transported to Glens Falls Hospital.
Town of Fort Ann, Lake George Wild Forest
On Thursday, June 30, 2011 at approximately 12:10 PM, a DEC Forest Ranger responded to an injured man on at Shelving Rock Falls. Timothy Doyle, 42, of Selden, NY, was walking at the top of the falls when he slipped and fell 50 feet. An off duty medical doctor at the site provided the initial first aid. Fort Ann and Bay Ridge Rescue and Fort Ann Volunteer Fire Department also responded. Mr. Doyle was packaged into a litter and brought to the top of the falls using a low-angle rope carry. From there he was carried to the road, placed into an ambulance and brought to an open area. There he was transferred to helicopter and flown to Albany Medical Center. Watch for and avoid wet, slippery areas, especially at the top of waterfalls and cliffs.
Town of Fort Ann, Lake George Wild Forest
At approximately noon on Thursday, July 7, 2011 DEC dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from Washington County Department of Public Safety’s 911 Communications Center reporting that a young man had fallen at the Shelving Rock Falls. A 14-year-old male from Moretown, VT had fallen 30 feet from the top of the falls and sustained a number of injuries. DEC Forest Rangers responded along with members of the Fort Ann and West Fort Ann Volunteer Fire Departments. The responders evaluated and stabilized the youth’s injuries and packaged him in a litter. He was then transported to the top of the falls using a low-angle rope carry. Forest rangers and other responders carried him from there to Shelving Rock Road and placed him in a waiting to ambulance. The ambulance transported him to a nearby landing zone where he was loaded into a helicopter. The youth was flown to Glens Falls Hospital for further evaluation and treatment. Watch for and avoid wet, slippery areas, especially at the top of waterfalls and cliffs.
Town of Fort Ann, Lake George Wild Forest
On Saturday, July 23, 2011 at approximately 2:55 PM, a DEC Forest Ranger responded to a report of a hiker that had been separated from her group. Emma Bloomfield, 22, of Bolton Landing, NY, was hiking without a map or compass and became lost when she was separated from her hiking group. One DEC Forest Ranger responded, but Ms. Bloomfield safely found her way out of the woods on her own. Keep groups together. Be sure you can always see, or at least hear, other members in your group.
Town of Fort Ann, Lake George Wild Forest
On Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at approximately 6:30 PM, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from Washington County 911 reporting a group of lost hikers on Buck Mountain. Brittany Cooper, 18, Christopher Proctor, 18, Conner Weatherford, 18 and a 17-year-old female, all of Clifton Park, NY, were hiking on Buck Mountain when they lost their way. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded. A Forest Ranger received cell phone coordinates from Washington Co. 911 and was also able to make contact with one of the subjects on his cell phone. The Forest Ranger encouraged the group to head west towards the sun. Meanwhile the Forest Ranger walked into the woods and met up with the group at 8:30 PM. They required no medical attention. Know the area you plan to hike and camp. Always carry a map and compass and know how to use them.
Posted on August 19th, 2011 7 comments Add a comment >>
The wild cougar that journeyed some 1,800 miles from South Dakota to Connecticut passed through the Adirondacks in 2010, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
Cindy Eggleston spotted a cougar in her backyard in the town of Lake George on December 16. The next day, her husband, David Eggleston, who is a retired DEC colonel, and Environmental Conservation Officer Louis Gerrain followed the animal’s tracks and collected hair samples from what appeared to be a bedding site.
DNA analysis of the hairs indicated that they came from the same cougar that was killed by a car on a highway in Milford, Connecticut, on June 11. Previously, DNA tests of the Connecticut cougar showed that it was the same cougar that had been tracked in Minnesota and Wisconsin and that it came from a breeding population in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
The cougar was first detected in Minnesota in December 2009 and then tracked as it wandered through Wisconsin. In May 2010, a cougar was caught on trail cameras near the border of Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Scientists believe it was the same cougar. Presumably, it traveled through the Upper Peninsula into Ontario and then headed south, eventually passing through the Adirondacks.
The cat was a healthy male, weighing about 140 pounds that apparently had been in search of a mate.
DEC biologist Kevin Hynes said young males out west usually travel only one or two hundred miles in search of a mate, though one cougar outfitted with a radio collar trekked 660 miles from South Dakota to Oklahoma. The cougar killed in Connecticut traveled about three times as far.
“Sometimes wildlife do unexpected things,” Hynes said. “This was a remarkable journey. If you had asked me before it happened, I wouldn’t have thought that it was possible.”
DEC says cougars were extirpated from the Adirondacks in the 1800s, though some people contend that a remnant population continues to dwell in the region. Hynes argues that the fact that the animal was observed and tracked–not only in New York but in other states–is evidence against the existence of a remnant population.
“If we had a number of mountain lions living in the Adirondacks or the Catskills, they certainly would be detected over time,” he said.
Hynes added that Eggleston’s may be the first sighting of a wild cougar in New York State since the late 1800s. A cougar kitten was shot and killed in Saratoga County in 1993, but tests indicated that it had been a captive animal of South American origin.