DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

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DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Recent Forest Ranger Actions

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 across New York State.

In 2019, DEC Forest Rangers conducted 337 search and rescue missions, extinguished 74 wildfires that burned a total of 212 acres, participated in 29 prescribed fires that burned and rejuvenated 645 acres, and worked on cases that resulted in 2,507 tickets or arrests.

"DEC celebrates our 50th anniversary this year, but our Forest Rangers have been on the front lines for even longer, protecting New York's wildlife, natural resources, residents, and visitors for more than a century," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "The State's brave Forest Rangers have a vast knowledge of first aid, land navigation, and technical rescue techniques that are critical to the success of their missions in remote wilderness areas, rugged mountainous peaks, white water rivers, frozen lakes, and forested areas statewide. We are proud of the work our Forest Rangers perform and look forward to another 50 years and beyond of highly trained service."

Town of Jewett
Greene County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Aug. 24 at 3:50 p.m., Forest Rangers received a call from DEC's North South Lake Campground regarding a hiker suffering from possible heat exhaustion on the Escarpment Trail in the Windham-Blackhead Wilderness Area. Forest Rangers Dawson and Fox responded to assist, hiking 2.8 miles to the subject's location. After Rangers provided the 26-year-old man from Forest Hills with food and water, he was able to slowly hike back out to the Schutt Road parking area to his vehicle. The incident concluded at 9 p.m.

Three people hiking down a trail in the woods
Forest Rangers assist man out of Windham-Blackhead Wilderness Area

Town of Colton
St. Lawrence County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Aug. 26 at 1:20 p.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a man reporting that his 73-year-old wife had fallen and injured her hip near the Lows Lake Upper Dam. Forest Rangers Benzel and Evans, Assistant Forest Ranger (AFR) Woughter and Long Lake EMS responded to assist. AFR Woughter arrived on scene at 2:40 p.m., and with a coordinated effort with Long Lake EMS, carried the injured woman from Coram out to an ambulance that transported her to a local hospital for medical treatment.

Town of New Paltz
Ulster County
Wilderness Fire:
DEC Forest Rangers continue assisting with the Cragswood Road Fire on the Mohonk Preserve property. The fire was first reported to the New Paltz Fire Chief at approximately 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 26. It is approximately five acres in size and was caused by a lightning strike. Ulster County Emergency Services, Mohonk Preserve Rangers, DEC Forest Rangers, and State Police Aviation assisted New Paltz Fire Department with initial suppression efforts. On Thursday, Aug. 27, and Friday, Aug. 28, the incident response increased to about 40 personnel from Ulster Hose, Gardiner, Highland, Accord, Esopus, Walker Valley, Rifton, Bloomington, and Marlborough fire departments, as well as the New Paltz Rescue Squad. Water and hand tools helped control the flames. DEC Forest Rangers and Mohonk Preserve Rangers will patrol the fire until it is completely out.

Photo of smouldering fire in the woods
Lightning strike causes Cragswood Road Fire on Mohonk
Preserve property in Ulster County

View looking down a steep hill at a Forest Ranger climbing upwards
DEC Forest Rangers patrol Cragswood Road Fire in Ulster County

Fire trucks and equipment
DEC Forest Rangers work with New Paltz Fire Department
to suppress fire in Ulster County

Town of Webb
Herkimer County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Aug. 26 at 3:20 p.m., Herkimer County 911 transferred a call to DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch reporting a 13-year-old boy hiking with his father with an injured ankle on the summit of Bald Mountain. Forest Ranger Candee responded to the scene along with the Town of Webb Police Department and Old Forge Fire and EMS. Through a coordinated effort, responders carried the young hiker from Frankfort to the trail and turned him over to Old Forge EMS for medical treatment.

Town of Lake Luzerne
Warren County
State Swiftwater Task Force Training:
On Aug. 26 and 27, the Governor's Swiftwater Task Force, which consists of State Police, Office of Fire Prevention and Control, Park Police, and DEC's Divisions of Law Enforcement and New York State Forest Rangers participated in general boat operation training at the confluence of the Sacandaga and Hudson rivers.

Aerial view of a Forest Ranger in a kayak, paddling down river
DEC Forest Rangers take part in Swiftwater Task Force training exercises

Town of Warrensburg
Warren County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Aug. 28 at 1:20 p.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance for a 78-year-old woman from Lake George who was thrown from a horse at Pack Forest Trails. Four Forest Rangers responded, arriving on scene at 1:40 p.m., and locating the woman shortly thereafter. With the assistance of Warrensburg EMS, Forest Rangers packaged up the injured woman and conducted a short carryout to a waiting Chestertown Fire Department ATV. The woman was then transported back to the gate and turned over to Warrensburg EMS for transportation to a local hospital for medical treatment. The incident concluded at 4 p.m.

Town of Long Lake
Hamilton County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Aug. 29 at 9:10 p.m., a call came into DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch from three kayakers on Little Tupper Lake in the William C. Whitney Wilderness Area. The kayakers were asking for assistance for a woman in the group who injured her lower leg while on a hike earlier in the day. The group had made it to a nearby island before calling for help. Forest Rangers Miller and Lewis respond to the Whitney Headquarters and then went to the boat launch where Long Lake Rescue Squad was staged to provide medical attention upon completion of the rescue. At 1:18 a.m., Rangers arrived at the injured woman's location and brought her back to shore. The 38-year-old subject from Buffalo was then transported to a local hospital for further medical treatment.

Town of Keene
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Aug. 30 at 10:24 a.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a series of calls from the International Emergency Response Center (IERC) dispatch, the Adirondack Loj, and hikers on Gothics Mountain reporting a 20-year-old-man with a dislocated shoulder was just below the summit. Forest Ranger van Laer responded on foot from the Adirondack Mountain Reserve with the Johns Brook caretaker and Assistant Forest Ranger Raudonis. Forest Rangers LaPierre and Praczkajlo responded to New York State Police Aviation in Lake Clear to assist. At 12:29 p.m., the aviation mission was aborted due to high winds and cloud cover on the mountain's summit. Caretaker Tyler reached the injured party at 1:24 p.m. The shoulder dislocation was successfully reduced allowing the injured hiker to start walking down the mountain. At 4:15 p.m., the Rangers and the subject were out of the woods. The injured hiker from Ballston Lake sought further medical treatment on his own.

Town of Hunter
Greene County
Kaaterskill Wild Forest-Fawns Leap Rescue:
On Aug. 30, Forest Ranger Dawson was patrolling Fawn's Leap swimming area in Kaaterskill Clove when swimmers approached him for medical help. The group reported that their friend jumped off the 30-foot cliff and injured his shoulder when he landed in the water. Ranger Dawson located the 24-year-old man from Pompton Plains, NJ, below the swimming hole, out of the water. Ranger Dawson determined that the swimmer had a dislocated shoulder, and with his permission, reduced the injury and secured the subject's shoulder in a sling. The man declined additional medical attention and walked out to a friend's vehicle.

Franklin County
U.S. Airforce Training:
The United States Air Force's 20th Air Support Operations Squadron stationed at Ft. Drum recently conducted training on DeBar Mountain Wild Forest Area in Franklin County with the support of DEC's Region 5 Divisions of Lands and Forests and Forest Protection. The three-day training had the squadron working communication links in the field, as well as back to Ft. Drum, while camping out and practicing survival training in the backcountry.

Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC's Hike Smart NY and Adirondack Backcountry Information webpage for more information.

https://www.dec.ny.gov/press/press.html

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Basil Seggos, Commissioner

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