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DEC reports busy winter for rangers

DEC Forest Ranger Lt. Brian Dubay points at a map of the Adirondack Loj region during a search last fall.

DEC Forest Ranger Lt. Brian Dubay points at a map of the Adirondack Loj region during a search last fall. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

The Search for Colin Gillis is the most recent in a string of calls the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation cases this winter.

Since December, Rangers have responded to a total of 10 calls for assistance in Essex and Franklin Counties.

Along with the continuing Gillis search, the incidents include:

• On Monday, Dec. 26, at approximately 11:40 p.m., DEC Central Dispatch received a call reporting an overdue hiker on or near Mt. Colden. Ronnie Cusmano, 55, of Valhalla, was hiking from the Upper Works Trailhead to Mt. Colden. He routinely used his personal locator device to notify his wife upon completion of his hikes. Cusmano’s wife had not heard from him and was concerned. A DEC Forest Ranger responded and began searching on the trails south of Mt. Colden. At approximately 3:30 a.m. the following morning, the Forest Ranger located Cusmano in good health at the Herbert Brook Lean-to along the path up Mount Marshall.

“Always inform someone of your itinerary and stick to it,” David Winchell of the DEC said.

• On Wednesday, Dec. 28, at approximately 8:52 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting an overdue hiker on Hurricane Mountain. Clifford Reiter, 54, had started up Hurricane Mountain looking for his two adult sons who were overdue from hiking the mountain. Not aware that his sons had already exited the trail and signed out on the trail register, Reiter proceeded to search for them. Reiter’s wife became concerned due to the extreme cold temperatures and called for assistance. Meanwhile, the two sons went back up the trail to search for their father. A DEC Forest Ranger responded and located all three men in good conditions at 9:30 p.m.

“Call DEC Forest Rangers at 891-0235 when you believe someone may be lost or injured in the backcountry,” Winchell said.

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