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 2020, DEC Forest Rangers conducted 492 search and rescue missions, extinguished 192 wildfires that burned a total of more than 1,122 acres, participated in eight prescribed fires that served to rejuvenate more than 203 acres, and worked on cases that resulted in 3,131 tickets or arrests.

"During New York's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are enjoying the outdoors than ever before and our Forest Rangers are on the front lines to help people get outside responsibly and get home safely," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "Rangers' knowledge of first aid, land navigation, and technical rescue techniques are critical to the success of their missions, which for more than a century have taken them from remote wilderness areas with rugged mountain peaks, to white water rivers, and throughout our vast forests statewide."

Town of Wilmington
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Aug. 18 at 7:26 p.m., Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch from a woman reporting her 58-year-old husband had fallen, striking his head on the Flume Trail in the Wilmington Wild Forest. Forest Ranger O'Connor responded with Wilmington EMS. The hiker from Ohio was carried out to an ATV with the assistance of EMS and New York State Police and driven to the trailhead. At 8:42, the hiker was transferred to a waiting ambulance for further medical treatment.

Towns of Addison, Tuscarora, Woodhull
Steuben County
Flood Response and Search:
On the evening of Aug. 18, Forest Rangers were requested to assist with evacuations in the town of Addison resulting from Tropical Storm Fred. During the night, Rangers responded to the area to assist with welfare checks and evacuations as needed. Rangers also partnered with DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officers and local law enforcement to assess flood damage in the town of Woodhull and assist with the search for a missing vehicle and driver swept into the flooded Tuscarora Creek.

Forest Rangers inspecting flood damage in road near bridge
Ranger Roberts and ECOs survey flood damage in town of Woodhull

Lewis County
Flooding Rescue:
On Aug. 19, Lewis County Emergency Management requested assistance to evacuate residents stranded along the Black River from the rising flood water. Four Forest Rangers responded with an airboat. After multiple trips, seven individuals and their pets were ferried to safety. Two additional individuals were transported to safety using a high axle truck from the local fire department.

Town of Fort Ann
Washington County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Aug. 20 at 4:45 p.m., Washington County 911 transferred a call to DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch reporting a 50-year-old man from Brooklyn with an arm injury on Shelving Rock. At 5:45 p.m., Forest Ranger Hess and Fort Ann EMS located the injured hiker and provided first aid. The responders walked the hiker back to the trailhead, and at 8:00 p.m., he was transported by ambulance to a local hospital.

Town of Fort Ann
Washington County
Wilderness Search:
On Aug. 20 at 6:25 p.m., Washington County 911 transferred a call to DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch reporting two lost hikers on Buck Mountain. Forest Ranger Kabrehl responded to the hikers' location using coordinates provided by 911. At 8:00 p.m., The Ranger located the couple from Rochester and walked them back to the trailhead. The group arrived at the trailhead at 8:45 p.m., and all resources were clear of the scene.

Town of North Elba
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Aug. 20 at 6:30 p.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance with a 24-year-old hiker from New Paltz experiencing signs of dehydration on Haystack Mountain in the McKenzie Wilderness Area. Prior to responding, Forest Ranger Praczkajlo conducted a phone interview and directed the hiker to self-hydrate and continue walking toward the trailhead. The Ranger met up with the hiker on the trail and assisted him back to the trailhead where he declined further medical attention. Ranger Praczkajlo was clear of the scene at 7:30 p.m.

Town of Wheeler/ Pigtail Hollow State Forest
Steuben County
Race Support and Rescue:
On Aug. 21, Forest Rangers were staged to assist as necessary with the Twisted Branch Trail Run, a 100 km foot race spanning parts of Ontario, Yates, and Steuben counties. That evening, Forest Ranger Carpenter responded to Pigtail Hollow State Forest to assist with an injured participant. Race organizers located the runner and helped her out of the woods to Ranger Carpenter's vehicle. The Ranger transported the subject to the Hammondsport Fire Department where she was evaluated by Bath Ambulance. The runner was released and stated she would seek further medical attention on her own. The incident concluded at 9:45 p.m.

Three runners on a woodsy trail passing an ECO next to an ATV
Forest Ranger Carpenter stationed along Twisted Branch Trail Run

Town of North Elba
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Aug. 21 at 11:30 a.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance with a 30-year-old hiker from Holbrook with an unstable knee injury on the Cascade Mountain Trail. At 12:15 p.m., Forest Rangers Evans and Lewis reached the hiker's location and determined the injury was stable and proceeded to assist the hiker back to the trailhead. Once back at the trailhead, the subject declined further medical care. Rangers were clear of the scene at 1:20 p.m.

Town of Newcomb
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Aug. 21 at 4:50 p.m., Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch reporting a hiker on Allen Mountain in the High Peaks Wilderness had pulled a muscle in his right leg and was exhibiting signs and symptoms of exhaustion. Forest Rangers Arnold and Scott responded to the trailhead with a six-wheel ATV. At 8:45 p.m., the Rangers located the 47-year-old man from Wynantskill and his hiking party. The Rangers wrapped the hiker's upper right thigh and provided him with electrolytes and water. After a brief rest, the hiker was able to walk 1.5 miles to a waiting ATV and was transported out by Ranger Scott. The remaining members of the hiking party were escorted out of the woods by Ranger Arnold. The injured hiker was transported back to his vehicle and declined further medical attention. All Rangers were clear of the scene at 11:30 p.m.

Town of Fort Ann
Washington County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Aug. 21 at 6:35 p.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a group reporting their friends overdue from going out on Lake George on pool floats. The callers advised that two, 21-year-old men from Poestenkill and Averill Park had left their site at Shelving Rock at 3:30 p.m., heading toward a site known as the Calves Pen. At 7:40 p.m., Forest Ranger Donegan located the two missing men in the area of the Calves Pen and brought them to shore to a nearby parking lot. At 8:30 p.m., the two men were picked up by friends and the Ranger was clear of the incident.

Town of Santa Clara
Franklin County
Wilderness rescue:
On Aug. 22 at 2:23 p.m., Franklin County 911 transferred a call to DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch reporting a 71-year-old woman from Rochester had sustained an unstable hip injury after a fall. Five Forest Rangers, two Assistant Forest Rangers, and Tupper Lake EMS responded. Rescuers located the woman in a remote location on the North Shore of Little Square Pond in the Saranac Lake Wild Forest. The hiker was stabilized and packaged for transport back to the Fish Creek campground boat launch via a Forest Ranger boat. At 6:20 p.m., the woman was transferred to Tupper Lake Rescue and transported to a local hospital. Rescuers were clear of the scene at 7:00 p.m.

Forest Ranger and EMS help woman in stretcher on the edge of the lake
AFRs Bowler and Farry and EMS personnel on shore of Little Square Pond

Town of Lake George
Warren County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Aug. 22 at 2:53 p.m., Warren County 911 transferred a call to DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch reporting a lost hiker on Prospect Mountain. Forest Ranger Donegan responded to the coordinates provided by 911. At 5:20 p.m., Ranger Donegan located the 62-year-old hiker from Queensbury and escorted her out of the woods. At 6:20 p.m., the Ranger and hiker were back at the trailhead and clear of the scene.

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

If a person needs a Forest Ranger, whether it's for a search and rescue, to report a wildfire, or to report illegal activity on state lands and easements, they should call 833-NYS-RANGERS (833-697-7264). If a person needs urgent assistance, they can call 911. To contact a Forest Ranger for information about a specific location, the DEC website has phone numbers for every Ranger listed by region.

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

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Basil Seggos, Commissioner

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