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 North Elba
Wilderness Rescue: On Oct. 5 at 7:45 p.m., Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch reporting two hikers lost off the Street and Nye Mountains Trail in the High Peaks Wilderness Area. Forest Ranger Lewis responded and located the hikers from Rochester at 9:51 p.m. before starting the trek back to the trailhead. At 11:18 p.m., Ranger Lewis and the couple arrived back to the trailhead at the Adirondak Loj and were cleared from the scene.
Town of Newcomb
Wilderness Rescue: On Oct. 6 at 2:30 a.m., DEC's Central Dispatch received a call reporting a couple that were overdue from a hike in the Santanoni Range. The caller indicated he did not think they had the proper gear for an overnight stay. Forest Ranger Quinn responded and located the hikers from Schenectady at 7:09 a.m. The hikers explained that they ran out of light before darkness fell and built a fire to spend the night. Ranger Quinn and the hikers proceeded back to the trailhead and by 9:30 a.m., the incident concluded.
Town of Black Brook
Wilderness Rescue: On Oct. 6 at 5:24 p.m., Franklin County 911 transferred a call to DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch from lost hikers from Watertown on Catamount Mountain. The hikers were descending from the summit when they lost the trail and found themselves on ledges. Forest Rangers Evans and Russell responded to assist. With conflicting coordinates given by 911 and a hiker's cell phone mapping application, Ranger Russell requested the hikers contact 911 again. Rangers ultimately made voice contact with the hikers at 8:39 p.m. and located them shortly thereafter. The hikers were assisted off the ledges and escorted back to the trailhead.
Town of Ossian
Wildland Fire: On Oct. 7, Acting Lt. Staples was contacted by DEC Operations staff because they could smell and see smoke at Ossian State Forest but couldn't locate a fire. Operations staff later called back and said that they had found the small ground fire. Forest Rangers Dormer and Cordell responded with a six-wheel ATV equipped with a pump and worked on suppressing the one-tenth-of-an-acre fire along with Fire Warden Clark's assistance over a period of five days. Ranger Dormer determined the cause of the fire to be an improperly extinguished campfire. For more information about fire safety when camping, go to DEC's website.
A Forest Ranger monitors a small ground fire at Ossian State Forest
Town of Long Lake
Wilderness Rescue: On Oct. 10 at 10:28 a.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a passerby stating that three kayakers overturned their boats. Two of the kayakers were able to right themselves but the third was still struggling in the water. Forest Ranger Evans and Assistant Forest Ranger (AFR) Woughter responded. AFR Woughter arrived first on scene and was able to get the 35-year-old man from the Bronx out of the water and to shore to begin treatment for moderate hypothermia. Ranger Evans was able to drive to their location and transport the man back to his vehicle where he refused further medical treatment.
Town of Tupper Lake
Wilderness Rescue: On Oct. 11 at 12:54 p.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a group of hikers on Coney Mountain in the Horseshoe Lake Wild Forest, reporting a hiker with a head injury. Forest Ranger Evans responded along with Assistant Forest Rangers Wroughter and Bowler. At 1:56 p.m., they located the 61-year-old woman from Tupper Lake, began treating her injury, and escorted her out of the woods. At 3:38 p.m. Rangers turned the injured hiker over to the Tupper Lake Rescue Squad for transportation to a local hospital for further medical attention.
Town of North Elba
Wilderness Rescue: On Oct. 12 at 1:45 p.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch was notified that Assistant Forest Ranger Leff was with a 17-year-old hiker from Schenectady on the Algonquin Trail in the High Peaks Wilderness who was suffering from slight hypothermia and asthma. Rangers LaPierre and Mecus responded to assist. AFR Leff gave the hiker warm clothes, food, and water and they proceeded to slowly begin hiking back down the trail. At 4:07 p.m., Rangers LaPierre and Mecus met up with them on the trail and did an additional medical assessment of the hiker. At 4:58 p.m., they were off the mountain and back at the Adirondak Loj where Ranger LaPierre contacted the hiker's family.
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.