#IndianLadderTrail #Closed #Recovery #SpotlightNews
NEW SCOTLAND — The anticipated opening of the Indian Ladder Trail — nearly a year since it was closed — quickly turned somber after a hiker found the remains of a human body on Saturday, June 9.
A wallet containing the information of Guilderland resident Bruce Decker was reportedly retrieved from the body. Tests, including an autopsy, will be done to properly identify the victim and determine the cause of death.
Local authorities started an extensive search of the Indian Ladder Trail in February, after Decker’s white sedan was found parked near the Paint Mine hiking trails. The search began on Feb. 22 and by March 2, six state agencies — including 40 members of the Department of Correctional and Community Services Emergency Response Team, Albany County Sheriff’s Department, eight Albany County fire departments and 12 volunteer search and rescue teams — contributed 4,487 hours to the search.
The search operations included 2,442 acres of intensive searching, 502 acres of extensive searching, 56.7 miles of trails, 355 acres of drone searching and 4.5 square miles were searched by a State Police helicopter. K9 units and drones were also used.
The search for the 71-year-old was officially called back on March 1, after a Nor’easter dumped nearly two feet of snow on the park.
The park reopened the trail once the body was cleared on Sunday.
The New York state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation spent several days in recent weeks clearing loose rocks from the cliff side above the more than two miles of hiking trail. The effort involved staff members chipping at the cliffside suspended in the air in rope and harness. More staffers were tasked with clearing the debris from the trail. The maintenance was a direct response to a July accident that left an Albany woman paralyzed after she was struck by falling rock.
The popular footpath has been a tourist attraction for generations. More than 300,000 people visit Thacher Park every year. It was etched into the soft limestone on the cliff side of the Helderberg Escarpment after the last Ice Age, more than 13,000 years ago, when glaciers scraped across upstate New York. It has long been a place of interest for both nature lovers and history buffs, providing picturesque views of both the Hudson and Mohawk valleys. Hikers who have traversed the trail are rewarded by small caves and cascading waterfalls within and above the nooks and crannies of its surface.