Lost family says they were denied help Tuesday, January 29, 2008 Last Updated Tuesday January 29, 2008, PST 2:21 AM BY ALLISON PRIES STAFF WRITER Email this story Printer friendly version MAHWAH -- A family of six who got lost in the woods Sunday told police they were turned away by a camp caretaker when they asked for help. Susan and Ian Ratner of Ho-Ho-Kus, their two dogs and four children -- ranging in age from 5 months to 10 years old -- set off on the Orange Trail in Ringwood, near Lake Tamarack, around 1 p.m. The hiking trail is part of the 750-acre Camp Glen Gray recreation area that straddles the border of Bergen and Passaic counties. But about three hours into their hike, they became disoriented. The family had a cellphone, but spotty service resulted in calls to the police being disconnected. By 4:30, with the sun beginning to set, Bergen County, Mahwah, Ringwood and Oakland police were brought in to help with the ground search, and state police pitched in with a helicopter. Around that time, the family stumbled upon the Camp Glen Gray Campgrounds, where they met Drew Baumgardt, a ranger at the campsite. Susan Ratner reported to police that she asked Baumgardt if he could drive her and the children somewhere to get help. According to a report filed by the Mahwah police, Baumgardt refused. Ratner then asked if she could use his telephone. He refused and advised her of a pay phone at the camp, the couple told police. Ian Ratner then asked for directions back to the trail the family was traveling, and Baumgardt complied. But the family became lost again, the report says. The family eventually found their way to rescuers by following the sounds of police sirens. No one was injured. Baumgardt denies turning the family away. He said he told the Ratners, whom he described as ill-prepared and inexperienced, that "their best course of action was to go into the office and make a call." He said he never mentioned a pay phone and that he is not authorized to transport people in his county-owned vehicle. "I suggested they not walk up one side of the lake that's roped off and cordoned off with caution tape and a note" warning that it is icy, he said. "They continued to go on that path." Reached by phone Monday, Ian Ratner declined to comment, saying: "I'd rather not ... for the sake of my family." Asked if he planned to file a lawsuit or had obtained a lawyer, Ratner said, "No comment." No one answered at the camp. The Web site says Glen Gray is not staffed on Mondays. The property is a former Boy Scout camp that the county bought for $5.1 million in 2002. It is managed by the non-profit Friends of Glen Gray. County officials said Baumgardt works for the non-profit. "I see no reason why the family would be less than truthful," Mahwah Police Chief James Batelli said. Batelli said he felt bad for the Ratners. "As darkness was approaching ... especially with young children, there were so many different options available to render assistance. He [Baumgardt] could have given them a ride down mountain, access to a cellphone, or he could have called for help and waited with them until it arrived," the chief said. "To leave them there is an unconscionable act." E-mail: [email protected] How the fuck do you get lost at a campground in NJ How can you even consider yourself lost in the woods if you have payphones around? Sounds like a whole family full of retards to bad the whole family didn't die of hypothermia the gene pool would be a little cleaner.