Schenectady hikers rescued from High Peaks
Last updated: 2:19 p.m., Thursday, January 18, 2007
KEENE -- A hiker injured in the Adirondack
High Peaks spent the night with his rescuers on a frigid mountain trail before a helicopter lifted him out to a hospital Wednesday
morning, New York state forest rangers said today.
Temperatures dipped to 23 degrees below zero
during the ordeal, rangers said.
Peter Buccinna, 32, suffered a double fracture
to his thigh when he fell trying to reach a fellow hiker 45-year-old Brian Merriam who had been knocked unconscious when he
slipped and fell down a rock slab Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.
The two Schenectady men were hiking on a
trail between Gothics and Saddleback mountains with Merriam's teenage son and one of the boy's friends when Merriam lost his
footing, rangers said.
With Buccinna injured and unable to walk,
the teens couldn't get cell phone reception to call for help, so they hiked down and found a phone to call 911 at about 6
p.m., Ranger Jim Giglinto said.
In the meantime, three New York City firefighters
on a day hike heard the emergency whistles the boys were using and found Merriam, who had regained consciousness, and Buccinna.
Merriam and one of the firefighters headed down the trail while the other two stayed with Buccinna.
The 911 call set in motion a rescue party
that eventually included six rangers and two Keene Valley volunteer firefighters who brought sleeping bags, camp stoves and
food to care for Buccinna until a state police helicopter could be launched, Giglinto said.
The injured hikers were taken to Adirondack
Medical Center, where Merriam was released after treatment for a concussion and cuts. Buccinna was transferred to Albany Medical
Center, according to hospital spokesman Joe Riccio.
Spitzer Deals With APA
Wednesday, Dec 20,
AT ISSUE: Adirondack
Park oversight among the challenges
The job facing Gov.-elect
Eliot Spitzer became even more challenging last week with the release of a report charging the state's Adirondack Park Agency
with shirking its responsibilities by ignoring potential land-use violations throughout the 6-million-acre wilderness.
Spitzer will need to address the problem soon because it's only getting
worse, the report says, threatening the integrity of New York's largest and most fragile park.
The report, "Swept Under the Rug," was
issued by the Adirondack Council and charges that the APA rapidly dispensed with a backlog by clearing 3,295 enforcement cases
over the last six years because the matters were deemed either too old or lacking in environmental impact, or because they
never were investigated. In short, the preservationist group said, the APA just gave up.
That could be detrimental to a park already
riddled with complexity and struggling to find a balance between development and preservation.
Solving the problem won't be easy. One
reason for the APA backlog is simply that the agency doesn't have the staffing to keep up with the caseload. Neither does
it have the clout necessary to deal with violators once they are found.
That means Spitzer and others will need
to decide just what kind of investment the state should make to provide the agency with the tools and power to do the job
it was designed to do. The APA was created in 1971 to oversee land use in the park, both public and private, to guard against
rampant development. But with just four officers to cover the 3.4 million acres of private land and the inability to force
compliance or collect fines except when a case is turned over to the attorney general's office for court action, the agency
has become a paper tiger.
Complicating the issue are those who
think that the APA should be abolished, deferring development to local control. Towns like Inlet in Hamilton County and Webb
in Herkimer County have developed comprehensive master plans that assume responsibilities as caretakers of the wilderness,
but also address the wants, needs and concerns of the permanent residents whose future depends on developing what's necessary
to attract visitors.
Preservationists, however, remain wary
of giving up the state oversight they feel is critical to protecting the park. But as the latest report indicates, that cannot
happen without drastic change. It'll be up to Spitzer to figure out the best way to make that happen.
This Is Now A Manditory Rule In The Eastern High Peaks Region.
Bear resistant canisters are a highly effective means of protecting food.
Bears can defeat most other food storage techniques. Bears in the High Peaks Wilderness of the Adirondacks have routinely
obtain and access even properly hung food bags.
Canisters are small, durable, and contain odors.
The lids are specially designed so bears cannot open or break them.
Canisters weigh only 3 to 5 lbs., can fit in a backpack or be strapped
to the outside.
A canister can hold up to 6 days of food for one person.
Store food in a sealed plastic bag and place inside the canister.
Also store toiletries and trash in separate sealed plastic bags and place
inside the canister as well.
Store the canister on the ground away from your tent.
Place reflective tape on the canister for easier retrieval in the dark.
Canisters have been proven to resist grizzly bears and are required in
many National Parks.
Bear resistant canisters are available for purchase or rent from many
local, national and web-based outdoor recreation stores.
Never Approach or Surround a Bear - Bears aggressively defend themselves
when they feel threatened. Be especially cautious around cubs as mother bears are very protective.
Avoid Walking Trails at Night - Stay in your campsite to avoid chance
Use Noise to Scare Bears from Campsite - Yell, clap or bang pots
immediately upon sighting a bear near your campsite.
Never Run From a Bear - If you feel threatened, back away slowly.
Do Not Throw Your Backpack or Food Bag at an Approaching Bear - This
practice will only encourage bears to approach and "bully" people to get food.
Know Where Bears are Active - Contact the New York State Department
of Environmental Conservation about the area you plan to visit. In the eastern Adirondacks: 518/897-1200. In the western Adirondacks:
Prevent Bear/Human Conflicts - Plan, handle, prepare and store food
properly. Bears will keep to themselves and you will keep all your food for yourself.
Just like a car needs fuel to drive so does the human body need food and drink to build up the energy
needed to walk. The provisions you take with you will largely depend on your own preferences, the duration of the hike and
if you will be able to replenish your supplies along the way. In general good planning and precautions can prevent serious
nutrition problems. In this section we will look at all aspects of good nutrition during your hikes.
Selecting what food to take with you will depend on your plans. On short hikes
you can pamper yourself by taking all kinds of snacks. The additional weight and volume might not be any serious factor, so
why not. However, if you are going on multi-day hikes with no sure places to replenish your provisions careful choices will
have to be made to make sure you can pack the necessary provisions. Choosing your food then becomes a challenging puzzle where
nutritional value, volume, weight, preservability and preparation method have to be taken into account.
Here are some tips when it comes to selecting your foods:
- Dried or dehydrated foods: retain most of their nutritional value but since most of the water
content has been removed the foods are lighter in weight and smaller in volume. This makes dehydrated foods very popular in
the hiking community. Preparation is mostly very simple but will require water.
- Canned Foods: are even easier to prepare but are both heavier and take up more space. Canned
foods can be added to your selection if you want to build in some luxury treats.
- Select a variation of foods that fulfill different nutritious needs. Variation in your food
intake is very important especially on longer trips.
You need to plan your food and fluid intake to make sure that you have enough
to last you the duration of your hike. Planning your meals will make sure that you do not over indulge on day one leaving
you with nothing to eat on day 3. Guidelines for planning your meals:
- Do not depend on possible other sources of food and bring everything you need to keep yourself
well fed during your hikes. Only if you are 100% sure that you will be able to restock should you take less with you.
- If you are sure about re-supply points in your hiking plans then anticipate on what provisions
they can replenish.
- Separate your meals in daily rations and package them separately. This will make it easier
to determine how much you are allowed to eat to have enough for the full duration of your hike.
- Package and label emergency rations. Labeling them as emergency rations will make you think
twice before you use them as a snack!
Under the normal conditions the human body will be able to go without food for
days. Without water, however, problems come a lot quicker. Here are some guidelines on planning your water needs:
- The absolute minimum is at least 2 liters per day. Take at least 2 liters with you even if
you expect to find places where you can refill your water reserves.
- Take about 1 liter for every two hours of hiking with the abovementioned 2 liter minimum.
- Under normal hiking conditions 3-4 liters per day should suffice.
- Higher temperatures will increase the needed fluid intake.
- Increased exercise will increase the needed fluid intake.
- If you plan to spend nights outdoors while hiking then calculate extra water reserves for
washing yourself and possibly rinsing cooking utensils.
- Hydration Packs and water bladders have drinking tubes that make it easy to drink as you continue
hiking. A possible danger however is that you have no real way of checking your fluid reserves. So make sure to stop and check
your bladder's content at regular intervals.
- Make sure to bring water purification pills or devices even if you are bringing sufficient
fluids for the trip. Water bottles and bladders can burst leaving you with nothing. In these cases water filters and purifiers
can make the difference. If you have nothing to filter the water with but you do have your cooking gear then you can make
most outdoor water potable by boiling it for at least 10 minutes.
Measures Aim To Ensure Public Safety and Protect Natural Resources
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner John P. Cahill
today announced that emergency regulations for use of the High Peaks Wilderness Area will become effective Friday, May 19,
These regulations were proposed in the High
Peaks Wilderness Complex Unit Management Plan (UMP), which was approved by Commissioner Cahill and accepted by Governor George
E. Pataki in March 1999.
"The implementation of these regulations will
help preserve public health and safety while protecting fragile ecosystems, preventing wildfire, and ensuring that the public
can enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the High Peaks Wilderness for years to come," Commissioner Cahill said. "Adopting these
regulations is the best and most expeditious means of ensuring public use of the High Peaks that does not negatively impact
this precious resource."
The regulations will:
prohibit camping above 4,000 feet in elevation;
limit all camping between 3,500 and 4,000 feet in elevation to designated campsites;
require all winter visitors to
possess and use skis or snowshoes when the terrain is snow-covered;
limit the number of persons per campsite to eight
for overnight camping;
limit the size of day use parties to a maximum number of 15 persons per party;
use to safe locations at least 150 feet from any road, trail or water body;
prohibit all campfires in the eastern High
Peaks zone and at all locations above 4,000 feet in elevation in the western High Peaks zone;
prohibit the possession
of glass containers;
require the leashing of pets on DEC marked trails, designated camp and lean-to sites, in congregated
areas, and at elevations above 4,000 feet; and
require mandatory trail head registrations in the heavily-used eastern
High Peaks zone.
"These reasonable regulations will ensure that hikers and campers can enjoy the magnificent beauty of
the High Peaks without degrading the wilderness quality," said Neil Woodworth, counsel to the 35,000 member Adirondack Mountain
Club (ADK). "We are strongly committed to educating the hiking community to follow these rules to preserve the majesty of
the High Peaks for future generations."
The Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan sets
forth general guidelines for wilderness management. However, portions of the High Peaks have become so popular among campers
and hikers that some of these guidelines are not being met.
The High Peaks UMP documents the rapidly escalating
amount of use the High Peaks is experiencing. Trail head registrations indicate that the number of visitors to the High Peaks
Wilderness Area more than doubled from 1985 to 1998. The number of visitors rose from 67,354 in 1985 to 139,663 in 1998 and
DEC expects use to continue escalating.
Peter Duncan, DEC Deputy Commissioner for Natural
Resources, said, "The High Peaks Wilderness is the largest, and best-known wilderness area in the Adirondack Park, characterized
by many of the highest elevations in the State, steep slopes and thin soil. The combination of these physical traits and the
area's popularity have led to the need for these rules. It is critical that we manage this area to protect the physical environment
and the wilderness character of the area."
The increased popularity of the High Peaks has
resulted in trail erosion, damage to vegetation around heavily used campsites and fragile, high-elevation areas, and, at times,
a level of use that is not in keeping with a wilderness setting.
The regulations implement directives contained
in the High Peaks UMP. The Department recognized early in the unit management planning process that public participation was
essential in managing the High Peaks Wilderness Area.
A 15-member High Peaks Advisory Committee was
convened between 1974 and 1977, and more recently, formal public participation in the development of the UMP began in June
of 1990 with the appointment of a 26-member citizens advisory group. This advisory committee represented a wide variety of
interest groups, local governments, scientists, local businesses and user groups.
The committee held 15 group and numerous subcommittee
meetings over a two year period ending in June of 1992. In July of 1992 the committee submitted a detailed report to the DEC,
listing 186 recommendations, the emergency regulations among them.
In addition to the use of the advisory committee,
outreach efforts included scoping sessions and public comment on the draft UMP through public meetings and written comments.
Five public meetings soliciting comments from the public were held throughout New York State. More than 400 citizens attended
and the DEC heard oral statements from 107 speakers. Additionally, written statements were received from 397 individuals and
For more information about the new High Peaks
Wilderness regulations visit the DEC website at: www.dec.state.ny.us or call the Division of Lands and Forests at (518) 457-2475.
copy courtesy of :
State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
Discovering Mt. Marcy
Mount Marcy was dicovered relatively
late in American
history, 40 years after Whiteface, Mount
Washington in New
Hampshire or Katahdin in Maine.
Marcy's discovery was part accident.
a Lake Placid settler who had found
Iron in the High Peaks,
was having trouble marketing it and
transporting it from the
wilderness. He invited some state geologists
to his mine in
hopes that they would help attract investers
or persuade the
state to improve roads or build a railroad
through the region.
The scientists began exploring. In 1836,
one of them,
William Redfield, camping by Lake Colden,
realized that" the
great ascent which we had made from
our first encampment
and the apparent altitude of the mountain
peaks before us,
together with the naked condition of
their summits, rendered
it obvious that the elavation of this
mountain group had been greatly underated".Redfield started up Mt. Marcy but bad weather had forced him
back to camp. He and his colleagues
were forced to wait until the
next year- a wait as unbearable as that
experienced by children
waiting for Christmas morning.
When they finally reached the summit.
they found " one of
the grandest views on the south, east
and west and to a consider-
able distance on the north we have mountains
extending before us...
some are clothed in evergreen, others
are laid bare by slides...
innumerable little lakes and streams are seen
in all directions."
Theorore Roosevelt was on Mount
Marcy when he recieved
news that President McKinley was dying
from an assassin's
bullet. Adirondack guides undertook
the dangerous task of
driving the vice president on poor roads,
at night, to North Creek
where he could assume the duties of
president if needed.
Did You Know.
The Adirondacks are the oldest Geological
in North America.
A Zippy Idea.
Cooking on the trail is not an exact science,
sometimes we need to measure fairly
your meal just won't taste right. Here
is an alternative
to packing a measuring cup on those
hikes; a zip-lock bag. At home measure
out a 1/4 cup
of water then pour it in the bag. Mark it
indelible marker. Then pour and mark
off 1/2 cup,
3/4 cup, and 1 cup in the same fashion.
on the trail, make sure a hole hasn't
been punctured in
the bag from bouncing around in your
pack all day.
The Silver Lining
Duct tape. What a wonderful thing. This
item should be in everyone's backpack.
repair anything from a split in you
pants, a leaky
hole in a tent or holding a crampon
to your boot
if the strap breaks. Another fine use for
is blisters. When you feel a hot spot begin,
cover the area
with tape and make sure you place some tissue
wound to prevent the skin from pulling
removing the tape. Have a splinter?
Place a piece of
tape on the area and peal off. You'll need
professional grade tape. It has higher
than the lower grades. It's so dependable,
convenient , almost waterproof, and could
help you out
of a tight jam in the woods.
THE BEAUFORT SCALE
This is a quick and easy reference to
estimating wind speed.
0-1 Smoke rises straight up,
1-3 Smoke drifts.
4-7 Leaves rustle.
8-12 Leaves and twigs move.
13-18 Small branches move.
19-24 Leaves blow over ground,
small tree's sway.
25-31 Large branches move.
32-38 Twigs break off.
39-46 Large tree's sway, difficult
47-54 Very hard to walk, some
55-63 Tree limbs and branches
64 & Up Tree's uprooted.
YOUR DOG AND YOU
Hiking and Backpacking are great for
you and your dog,
and here are a few tips to make that
trip into the woods
a happy and safe for the both of you.
Always check out
the rules and regs. for dogs
in the area you are planning
on hiking because they do vary from
park to park.
1. Weather can change rapidly in the
wilderness so make
sure you can care for your dog in an
2. If you won't drink from a water source,
don't let your dog.
Always pack plenty of food and clean
water. To check for
dehydration in your dog, pinch her skin
at the nap of the
neck and release it. If it snaps back quickly,
the dog is
well hydrated. If the skin slowly melts back
return at all, the animal is showing
signs of dehydration
Find a cool shade spot and wet the dog
with cool water.
3. Don't allow your dog to chase game.
This can stress
4. In bear country, wear bells and make
some noise while
walking; this may help you avoid accidentally
a bear. Most predators will leave the
area if they know
humans are around.
5. Always use a leash at least 6 ft.
long for the wilderness
traveling. Nylon works best.
6. If your dog has tender tootsies,
consider getting a set of
boots to protect his sensitive pads
on rough terrain.
7. Keep in mind other hikers. No one
likes to be charged
at by a strange dog. And finally, have
SAVING THE FUEL
To save money and reduce the amount
of stove fuel you have
to carry, preheat your cooking water.
Before setting up camp,
fill your cook pot or a water jug with
the water you'll need for
the evening meal. Set it on a rock that'll
be in the sun until
dinnertime; the darker the rock the
better. You can even put
the pot or jug in a black stuff sack.
When it's time to fire up the
stove, the water will already be warm
and require a fraction
of the fuel usually needed to bring
it to a boil. If you can tell
where the sun will hit in the morning,
set out a pot the night
before to warm in the early sunlight.
CONSERVATION ON THE PEAKS
Alpine plants are hardy, they cope with
the most extreme
of environmental conditions. But they don't
under a hikers boot. Their plant communities
fragile. If you step or sit on them
you wear away the
plant mat, exposing the thin soil to
erosion by wind
and water. There are at least 20 rare,
endangered flowering plants on the Adirondack
which covers a combined area of 85 acres.
Here's how you can help protect these
1. Stay on the trails. Follow markers,
2. Walk on solid rock whenever possible.
3. Don't pick or remove any summit plants.
4. Don't use vegetation to assist in
5. Don't camp above 4,000ft., even in
6. Avoid hiking above 4,000 ft. during
thaw when alpine soils are most vulnerable.
7. Learn more about alpine ecology and
these suggestions with others. Only
can make a difference.
When hiking off trail it is common to
come upon the following
situation. You are hiking on top of
a hill and you approach a
deep valley. The most direct route would be
to go down into
the valley, across it, and then up the
steep slope of a far hill,
there to resume your hike at approximately
the same elevation
at which you began. Although this route
is the shortest as the
crow flies, the crow would also fly
it at the same elevation, while
you would be walking down and then up
There is, however, an alternative. This
particular valley is boxed
in at one end by the base of the high peak
which towers above
you. Rather than taking the shortest
route across the valley,
you can hike at a constant elevation
around the valley. This is
Contouring routes are not always readily
apparent and often
require that you weigh a number off
tradeoffs. Will it be easier
to hike across the sloping base of the
high peak which may be
unstable but will allow you to maintain
your elevation? Or is it easier
to drop 500ft. of elevation and then
hike back up the same amount
of elevation on a much more stable,
shorter route? Only experience
can provide a sound basis to make that
decision; just be sure you
consider contouring as one of your options.
DEET GETS SAFER
The concern with DEET is that the potent
chemical will absorb
into your skin. Now, Sawyer Products
has introduced a new DEET-
based repellent the company claims wont
soak in. Controlled release
bug dope has a protein that builds chambers
around DEET molecules
and encapsulates them. When inside these
chambers, DEET is
kept away from the skin. As the skin
metabolizes the protein, the
chambers open and enough DEET is released
to create an insect
THE TICK OF TIME
Ticks are the objects of more than a
fair share of misinformation.
For instance; Once you find one embedded
in your skin, you are
the recipient of its nasty pathogens.
Estimates on how long a tick must be
attached to give you
enough germs to cause sickness vary
with the disease and species
of tick. To transmit Lyme disease, a
tick must stay in place and feed
for 36 to 48 hours. Ticks that carry
Rocky Mountain spotted fever
take 6 to 10 hours to pass along germs.
If you check yourself
immediately after tromping through brush
and properly remove all
the little buggers, chances are you
will avoid illness. Lyme disease
vaccines are now available from your doctor.
FIT TO BE FRIED
To reduce your chances of heat stroke,
stay in top physical
condition. At first, this one sounds
like it has merit, right?
But in reality, those in top condition
are actually more likely to
suffer heat stroke. Sounds odd, I know,
but think about it. Your run
of the mill hiker gets tired, starts
to feel bad, stops and rests. Highly
fit hikers, on the other hand, have
a tendency to push harder and go
past the point where their bodies can
adequately shed the heat being
generated. The result is usually an
exertional heat stroke. Symptoms
include red, hot, skin and irrational
behavior. Unless rapid cooling
is undertaken, as many as 8 out of 10
heat stroke patients will die.
Regardless of your fitness level, prevent
heat-related problems by
staying well hydrated and by maintaining
a comfortable pace with
regular rest breaks.
Properly cared for, your
can last a lifetime.
1. Always clean your stove after each
2. Lubricate the pump cup with a few
of mineral oil before each season.
3. Burn the cleanest fuels possible.
can hasten the clogging of the stove's
line and jet.
4. If storing a stove for more than
empty the tank or remove the pump
assembly from the fuel bottle.
5. Store your stove in a cool, dry place
When camping in winter:
Place water bottles in plastic bags
them inside your sleeping bag along
any clothing you want to dry or put
the morning. The clothing you wear
tomorrow makes a great pillow tonight.
Due to greater air density, high winds
at sea level create up to 40 percent
pressure against a tent wall than identical
wind speeds atop 29,035-foot Mt. Everest.
The moral: Secure your tent, even if
not a mountaineer.
SODA AND JELLY CURES:
These two cheap, easy to find items
for solving some of your backpacking
Use as powder or mix with water for toothpaste. Mix with water to make an anti-itch poultice for
insect bites. Sprinkle
in boots and on feet for odor relief. Mix one half teaspoon baking soda in 4 to 8
ounces of water and drink to cure indigestion.
Fill water bottles with a solution of 4 tablespoons
soda per quart of water and soak overnight
get rid of odors and bad tastes.
Sprinkle in your sleeping bag after a trip. Your
bag will smell better and last longer,
you won't have to wash it as often.
Rub on to prevent or soothe chafed skin, chapped
lips, and windburn. Use
as emergency lube for leather stove-pump
gasket. Dab on external-frame
packs to temporarily
silence squeaky spots. Saturate
cotton balls or 2-inch lengths of cotton
rope to make fire-starters. Smear
on a stuck zipper or tent pole end if your
in the field.
Don't Misjudge The Weather:
Always pack clothing for the widest
possible temperatures, and remember
even moderate temps. can lead to hypothermia
when you're wet. Layer your clothing
so you can
adjust easily to both the weather and
level, and remember that synthetics
are best for
keeping you warm and dry.