DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights
Many people think the Catskills are full of simple easy hikes to its highest peaks. These excerpts from the latest rescues in the Catskills by Rangers and local SARS, emergency squads and fire departments show otherwise. Learn!
Town of Hunter/ Kaaterskill Wild Forest, Greene County
Wilderness Rescue: On Aug. 5 at 3:23 p.m., DEC’s Central Dispatch notified Region 4 Forest Rangers of a hiker feeling sick at Kaaterskill Falls. Dispatch advised that Assistant Forest Ranger (AFR) France and local EMS were on scene and attempting to locate the hiker. Additional Forest Rangers responded to assist and began hiking into the area to locate the 22-year-old female hiker from Flushing. The subject was located on the yellow trail and evaluated by AFR France and EMS staff. The woman stated that she hiked into the middle pool of the falls via the staircase trail and became nauseated and dizzy. The subject’s companion called 911 and began walking back up the staircase trail when the pair were met by AFR France and EMS. The hiker was assisted out to the trailhead on Laurel House Road, where she declined additional medical care.
Town of Thompson, Sullivan County
Wilderness Rescue: On Aug. 6 at 8:20 p.m., the Rock Hill Fire Department requested DEC assistance to search for two hikers in the Neversink Unique Area. Forest Ranger Franke responded, arriving on scene at 9 p.m. A group of approximately 100 individuals staying at Camp Morris in Woodridge hiked into the area and at approximately 4:45 p.m., two of the individuals went swimming at Denton Falls. One of the members of the group watched as the current swept the swimmers down river and he returned to the camp without reporting the incident. At 8:05 p.m., the two hikers were reported missing. Rock Hill Fire Department searched along the trails and located two sets of clothing along the riverbank near the falls. New York State Police Aviation flew over the river with negative results. State Police also searched the ground and the Town of Fallsburg Police K-9 tracked the clothing to the water. Forest Ranger Franke dispatched four search crews to search the riverbanks and the blue trail that runs parallel to the river. At the same time, New York State Police monitored the Neversink River from the Oakland Valley Bridge and the Forestburgh Fire Department monitored the river from Eden Road. At approximately 12:15 a.m., Forest Ranger Stratton located the two hikers on an island in the middle of the river, south of Denton Falls. Rock Hill Fire Department swiftwater gear (personal floatation devices, throw bags, rope, and shoes) was dispatched to the Rangers to use in the rescue. Forest Rangers Stratton, Cowart, and Rusher and two Rock Hill Fire Department members performed a wedge formation, a swiftwater technique, to cross the Neversink River and rescue the stranded hikers. The hikers had no injuries and hiked out to a waiting UTV. The subjects were evaluated by Hatzalah EMS and transported to the trailhead at 3:45 a.m.
Town of Hunter, Greene County
Wilderness Rescue: On Aug. 8, a 44-year-old man was laying on the ground next to the yellow trail on his way back from Kaaterskill Falls. The man, recovering from COVID-19, lost consciousness after not getting enough oxygen. Family members waved down Assistant Forest Ranger Lassalle who called Forest Ranger Bink and Lt. Pachan. The Rangers arrived on scene and medically evaluated the ill hiker. After some rest, the hiker was able to slowly walk back to the Laurel House trailhead with assistance from the Forest Rangers. Once at the trailhead, Hunter Ambulance evaluated the man and he declined further medical care.
Town of Hunter, Greene County
Wilderness Rescue: On Aug. 9 at 1:30 p.m., a 15-year-old girl from Queens was rescued from the Kaaterskill Clove. The subject had jumped off a six-foot-high rock into the swimming hole and a family member who jumped in right after her landed on her. The girl swam to the edge of swimming hole and told family she was experiencing back pain and did not want to move. Her family called Greene County 911 requesting medical assistance and units in the area responded. Forest Ranger Dawson and a New York State Trooper hiked in and located the girl. Ranger Dawson provided medical care and determined the girl had to be immobilized in a SKED and vacuum mattress. The girl was carried out with the assistance of low-angle technical rope rescue systems. The Greene County medics determined the girl should be airlifted to the hospital. She was transported by Hunter Ambulance to the staged helicopter and Lifenet transported her to a local hospital for further medical treatment. The incident concluded at 3:30 p.m.
Backwoods wanderer with a passion for backpacking, hiking, kayaking, and exploring the wilds of the Catskills and Adirondacks in New York. A Catskill 3500 Club Member and Adirondack Forty-Sixer. Climbed Mount Rainier. Professionally an Exercise Physiologist.