Press-Republican

September 17, 2013

Wilderness search continues for missing hiker

By KIM SMITH DEDAM
Press-Republican

---- — KEENE — State Police and forest rangers continued to search the rugged Dix Wilderness for Scott Haworth on Monday.

The Chicopee, Mass., man, 46, was first reported missing by family members on Aug. 24. 

Chicopee Police contacted authorities here after reviewing bank records that showed Haworth had cashed a check at the Valley Grocery Store in Keene Valley on Sept. 5, according to State Police Troop B Public Information Officer Trooper Jennifer Fleishman.

“His family reported him missing, then Massachusetts State Police contacted us on the 10th (of September),” Fleishman said.

It was not unusual for him to head out hiking solo, she said.

Haworth’s car, a red 2002 four-door Ford Escort, was found in the parking area near the Round Pond Trailhead off Route 73 in Keene Valley.

He had signed into the Round Pond trailhead on Aug. 30, Fleishman said, but did not sign out there, near his vehicle.

Over the weekend, police set up an informational road check on both Route 73 in Keene and on Route 86 in Ray Brook.

“We handed out missing-person fliers. Nobody passing through the road checks had any information for us,” Fleishman said.

“He is hiking alone, as he typically does. He actually is a very avid hiker.”

COMMAND POST

Search teams do not know how much time Haworth had planned to spend in the backcountry.

“We don’t have any idea how much gear he has with him,” Fleishman said. “At this point, he is considered ‘overdue.’”

Officials do not suspect foul play, but the terrain surrounding Dix Mountain is rugged.

The search is reaching deeper into wilderness areas, and a joint search command post was established at the fire station on Market Street in Keene Valley.

“We have deployed our Special Operations Response Team (SORT),” Fleishman said early Monday morning. “They are experienced in climbing and hiking rescue. There are a lot of areas that have ledges in the Dix Mountain Wilderness.”

State Police were also using canine search teams to assist in finding Haworth, working with Department of Environmental Conservation forest rangers.

DEC spokeswoman Lori Severino said authorities were focused on trails that extend from where Haworth’s car was found.

Monday, she said, there were “10 DEC forest rangers working the search along with members of the State Police. Forest rangers continue to search the Dix Mountain Wilderness — that is the trailhead from which Mr. Haworth’s vehicle was located last week, with no other sightings of since Sept. 5th.”

MILES OF TRAILS

The hiking trail system near Round Pond park has entry points about 5 miles south of Keene Valley. There are some 30 different primitive tent sites in Dix Wilderness, including four at Round Pond, three further west at Dial Pond and three at Dix Pond in the rugged area around Dix Mountain, which spans the backcountry between the Gothics range and Giant Mountain. 

In all, there are nearly 50 miles of trails in the wilderness area. 

Haworth, a Caucasian with brown hair and blue eyes, is 6 feet tall and weighs 165 pounds. 

Anyone who might have seen him is asked to contact State Police in Ray Brook at 897-2000.

Email Kim Smith Dedam: kdedam@pressrepublican.com