Last week’s rescue of two severly hypothermic hikers on New York’s Algonquin Peak was the 353rd rescue this year for New York Department of Environmental Conservation forest rangers.
According to an article on DailyGazette.com, the number of search and rescue operations performed by New York forest rangers has surged in recent years, becoming a massive strain on the 106 forest rangers statewide who are also expected to patrol thousands of miles of trails and dozens of state campgrounds on a mission to protect the state’s natural resources and train and educate citizens about wilderness safety.
The number of search and rescue operations in the High Peaks region alone jumped 165 percent between 2007 and 2015. That is consistent with a large increase in the number of hikers on Adirondack trails during that time. And whie the size of the Adirondack Park, state forests, trail systems and conservation easements have all grown during that time, the total number of forest rangers hasn’t chance since at least 2007.