Forest Ranger Actions for 8/5/19 - 8/11/19
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents statewide. Working with other state agencies, local emergency response organizations, and volunteer search and rescue groups, Forest Rangers locate and extract lost, injured, or distressed people from the backcountry.
In 2018, DEC Forest Rangers conducted 346 search and rescue missions, extinguished 105 wildfires that burned a total of 845 acres, participated in 24 prescribed fires that burned and rejuvenated 610 acres, and worked on cases that resulted in 2,354 tickets or arrests.
"Across New York, DEC Forest Rangers are on the front lines helping people safely enjoy the great outdoors," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "Their knowledge of first aid, land navigation, and technical rescue techniques are critical to the success of their missions, which take them from remote wilderness areas with rugged mountainous peaks, to white-water rivers, and throughout our vast forested areas statewide.
Town of Indian Lake
Wilderness Rescue: On Aug. 5 at 3:30 p.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a subject who had located a hiker down on the middle of the Northville Placid Trail, close to Cedar Lake Lean-to #1. The 64-year-old male hiker from Sunderland, Mass., was disoriented and could not walk. The passerby gave the man water to drink and he began to feel well enough to walk. Other hikers carried the man's gear to the lean-to. Forest Ranger Jenifer Temple was flown in by Helms Aviation via float plane to retrieve the hiker. Forest Ranger Temple located the subject, who was able to walk out to the plane's location. The Ranger and the hiker were flown to Long Lake, where Long Lake Rescue transported the hiker to a local hospital for medical treatment. The incident concluded at 8 p.m.
Town of Santa Clara
Wilderness Rescue: On Aug. 5 at 11:25 p.m., Franklin County 911 transferred a call to DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch reporting an overdue trail runner on the Deer Pond Trails. The 19-year-old runner from Mexico runs on trails daily but was unfamiliar with this particular trail system. The subject entered the trail at 7:30 p.m., wearing running shorts and shoes, navigating with his cell phone, which was going directly to voicemail after 10 p.m., indicating the phone had lost power. Forest Rangers David Russell, Robert Zurek, and James Waters responded. Voice contact was made with the missing runner at 1:40 a.m., and he was located at 2:17 a.m. in good health. All units were out of the woods with the runner by 3:34 a.m.
Town of Harrietstown
Multi-Agency Training: On Aug. 6 and 7, Region 5 Forest Rangers conducted K-9 preparedness training with New York State Police (NYSP) Aviation in Lake Clear. At the request of NYSP Special Operations Response Team (SORT) members, Forest Rangers teamed with SORT K-9 handlers and their dogs through hoist practice for familiarization and continuity of operations. This training will help NYSP and their dogs should they need to be transported by helicopters for search and rescue missions or other applications. DEC Forest Rangers have a long-standing and invaluable working relationship with the NYSP Aviation unit both in the Adirondacks and throughout the state. DEC Forest Rangers are specially trained to act as Crew Chiefs on helicopters and operate the hoists for search, rescue, wildland fire, and other law enforcement missions.
NYSP SORT Members, their K-9s, and DEC Forest Rangers trained in executing hoist missions
Town of Keene
Wilderness Rescue: On Aug. 6 at 9:42pm., Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch reporting a woman on Porter Mountain in need of assistance. The caller explained that she had decided to go for a short hike up Porter and began descending down the opposite side once she reached the summit. The subject traveled down the trail until she came to a sign that reported the trail to the Garden parking lot was closed. At that point, she turned around and began to head back the way she came until it was dark. Through coordinates provided by Essex County 911, Dispatch determined that the woman was close to the summit and relatively close to the trail. Forest Ranger Robert Praczkajlo responded to assist. Forest Ranger Praczkajlo made contact with the hiker at 11:51 p.m., and supplied her with a light. They proceeded back down to the trailhead and reached it by 1:30 a.m.
Town of Seneca Falls
Community Outreach: On Aug. 8, to celebrate Smokey Bear's 75th birthday and to surprise the many children present, Forest Ranger Will Roberts and Smokey Bear visited the Empire Farm Days in Seneca Falls. Roberts and Smokey used the event to help spread the word that every forest fire is preventable by using commonsense approaches for outdoor fires. Visit Smokey Bear's website to learn more about Smokey Bear's birthday.
Forest Ranger Roberts with Smokey Bear and a new friend
Town of Harrietstown
Wilderness Rescue: On Aug. 10 at 3:15 a.m., DEC's Central Dispatch received a call from a subject on Middle Saranac Lake reporting a missing camper. The caller woke up at 2:30 a.m., and could not find his friend, although their canoe was still at the campsite. Forest Rangers Kevin Burns, Robert Zurek, and Lt. Julie Harjung joined DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officer (ECO) Nathan Favreau and responded with vessels to the island campsite. The 37-year-old camper from Saranac Lake was located by Forest Ranger Zurek at 6 a.m. on the outlet. The missing camper had gone to look for firewood when his flashlight died and could not navigate back to the site in the dark. All units were off the water by 7:33 a.m.
A DEC vessel and crew respond to look for a missing camper
Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC's Hiking Safety and Adirondack Backcountry Information webpage for more information.