(NPR) On a fall day in New York's Adirondack Mountains, a helicopter swept over a bog as state forest rangers scrambled below over rocks and muddy streams. It was a bright afternoon in one of the most beautiful landscapes in America, but this was a search for yet another missing hiker. A 28-year-old New Jersey man named Alex Stevens had vanished into this vast wilderness nearly two weeks earlier.
"He's not very well prepared, I want to be real clear about that," said New York state forest ranger Lt. Brian Dubay, briefing reporters at the search command post. "We believe any warm clothing he thought he had, we consider to be inferior."
Here's the good news. A lot more Americans are getting out to hike and camp. State and national parks are booming. But there's a big downside. More people are showing up in wild lands unprepared, without the right equipment or skills. They're getting lost or hurt and that's putting new pressure on first responders.
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