HUNTER — New York State Forest Rangers assisted a group of hikers, including seven children, in Hunter over the weekend after they became stranded because the group had not properly prepared for the trip, Department of Environmental Conservation spokesman Jeff Wernick said.

Department of Environmental Conservation officials did not release the names of the hikers in the group, which also included two adults, Wernicx said.

On Sunday, at about 7:45 p.m., forest rangers Anastasia Allwine and John Gullen responded to the area of the Hunter Mountain Fire Tower, after receiving a call from a distressed hiker.

The group had planned a trip from Notch Lake trailhead to the fire tower, but begin the hike until approximately 3:30 p.m., Wernick said.

When the group reached the fire tower, they realized they were running out of daylight and didn’t have the necessary headlamps, warm clothes or water, Wernick said.

Rangers began hiking and reached the group by 9:45 p.m. The hikers were then assisted back to the trailhead.

No injuries to the hikers or the rangers were reported, Wernick said.

DEC reminds hikers that in the summer months, temperatures can get cold at night in the mountains, putting people at risk for hypothermia. The Department of Environmental Conservation encouraged hikers to know their limits, check weather forecasts and plan ahead.

Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry, Wernick said. Visit the department’s Hike Smart NY, Adirondack Backcountry Information and Catskill Backcountry Information web pages for more information.

If a person needs a Forest Ranger, whether it’s for a search and rescue, to report a wildfire, or to report illegal activity on state lands and easements, they can call 833-NYS-RANGERS. If a person needs urgent assistance, they should call 911.

The Hunter Mountain Fire Tower has the unique distinction of being located at the highest elevation of any fire tower in New York State, on the summit of Hunter Mountain at 4,040 feet. The original tower was constructed from logs and the current 60-foot steel tower was built in 1917 about a third of a mile from the present location. In 1953 the tower was relocated to its current location on the summit of Hunter Mountain, according to the Catskill Center.

“DEC’s Forest Rangers continue to be on the front lines to help visitors get outside responsibly and get home safely, as well as to protect our state’s irreplaceable natural resources,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Rangers’ knowledge of first aid, land navigation, and technical rescue techniques are critical to the success of their missions.”

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