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 Woodhull
Steuben County
Flood Response:
On Aug. 23, Steuben County requested Forest Ranger assistance to help manage relief crews from various organizations assisting local residents cleaning out homes and removing debris in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Fred. Rangers worked as operations section chiefs throughout the week to organize personnel, make assignment areas, document work progress, and coordinate relief crews.

large break in pavement due to flood damage
Rangers helped coordinate relief crews in Woodhull following Tropical Storm Fred

building with front window blown out due to flood damage
Rangers helped coordinate relief crews in Woodhull following Tropical Storm Fred

Town of Keene
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Aug. 24 at 12:20 p.m., Forest Ranger Black responded to a report of a 70-year-old woman from New York City suffering from exhaustion on the trail to Cascade Mountain. At 1:35 p.m., Ranger Black reached the hiker's location and determined she could walk back to the trailhead. At 2:50 p.m., the Ranger and hiker were out of the woods and the hiker declined further medical care.

Town of Hunter
Greene County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Aug. 28 at 12:15 p.m., Forest Rangers were notified by Greene County 911 about an injured hiker on the Escarpment Trail south of the Catskill Mountain House site. Forest Rangers Dawson and Nelson, along with two Assistant Forest Rangers, responded to the location. The 45-year-old hiker from Mamaroneck had suffered a laceration to his lower leg after a fall on the trail. His hiking companions provided first aid to control the bleeding. The responding Rangers provided additional medical care by bandaging the wound with a pressure bandage and stabilized the injury for extraction. With the help of the Rangers and crutches, the subject was able to hike out to the trailhead, where Ranger Dawson rebandaged the wound. All resources were clear of the scene at 5 p.m.

Ranger kneeling while administering first aid to hiker in woods
Rangers Dawson and Nelson bandage a hiker on the Escarpment Trail

hiker on crutches and Rangers helping him out of the woods
Hiker helped by Rangers on Escarpment Trail

Town of North Elba
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Aug. 29 at 12:04 p.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a call reporting a 27-year-old hiker from New Jersey suffering from exhaustion and dehydration on the Mount Marcy Trail in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness Area. At 3:05 p.m., Forest Ranger Evans reached the hiker's location and gave the subject a ride on an ATV out to the Adirondak Loj. At 4:55 p.m., the hiker was out of the woods and turned over to family members. The subject advised he would seek further medical assistance on his own and all resources were clear of the scene.

Town of Gerry
Chautauqua County
Public Safety:
On Aug. 29, Forest Ranger Sprague assisted with the annual mountain bike race known as the "Harris Hill Hustle." This year, 97 riders ages 11 to 67 participated in the race. Ranger Sprague was posted on site to help with first aid response.

cyclists lined up for a race with tents in the background
Harris Hill Hustle

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. 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.

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Basil Seggos, Commissioner

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