DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

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DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 6/12 - 6/18/17

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 2016, DEC Forest Rangers conducted 356 search and rescue missions, extinguished 185 wildfires that burned a total of 4,191 acres, and worked on cases that resulted in nearly 3,000 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 is 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."

Recent missions carried out by DEC Forest Rangers include:

Town of Bolton
Warren County
On June 12 at 7:53 p.m., Warren Count 911 contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch requesting assistance for a lost hiker. The 40-year-old man became lost while hiking the trail between Cat and Thomas mountains. The male subject was able to provide cell phone and GPS coordinates of his location. Forest Rangers Arthur Perryman and Evan Donegan responded to the trailhead and began hiking in to his location. The subject crossed paths with another hiking group and eventually linked up with the Rangers. The Rangers assisted the group down to the trailhead, and the subject was in good health.

Town of Thurman
Warren County
On June 12, New York State Police contacted Lt. John Solan requesting assistance from the Forest Rangers regarding a 69-year-old male who went missing on June 7. The man was last seen at his campground in the village of Lake George and was volunteering at the annual Americade rally. The subject, Robert "Mike" Vanderhoof, left the campground riding a red Honda Enduro motorcycle with Kentucky plates. On June 13, Rangers coordinated search efforts with the support of New York State Police (NYSP) and DEC Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs). As a result of search efforts the subject was found deceased off a lightly traveled road.

Town of Brookhaven
Suffolk County
Prescribed Fire:
An 8.4-acre prescribed fire was successfully completed on Brookhaven National Lab (BNL) property. The fire was conducted by Forest Ranger Bryan Gallagher, who served as the burn boss. The interagency fire crew was made up of members from BNL Fire Department, BNL personnel, DEC staff, and Forest Rangers Joseph Pries, Brandon Poulton, and John Franceschina. The goal of the prescribed fire was to reduce woodland fuel loads and enhance nesting habitat for the eastern whip-poor-will, a medium-sized bird with a large, rounded head and stout chest.

Town of North Alba
Essex County
On June 15, Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance for a 27-year-old male from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who had reported a possible fractured ankle near the Lake Colden Outpost. The subject reported that he and his companions were camping across the lake from the outpost. A NYSP helicopter was used to transport Forest Rangers Megan McCone and James Giglinto into Lake Colden. Upon arrival, the Rangers crossed Lake Colden by row boat and located the subject. The subject was evaluated, treated, and loaded into the rowboat and returned to the Lake Colden Outpost. He was subsequently loaded into the helicopter and flown to AMC Saranac Lake for medical treatment.

Town of Schroon
Essex County
On June 17 at 1:58 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Essex County 911 regarding a family of five lost on Bear Mountain in Schroon Lake. The father and his four children, all under the age of 14, became lost while descending the trail. Forest Rangers Arthur Perryman and Benjamin Baldwin responded and located the family. The subjects were assisted down to the Pyramid Lake Camp, where they were reunited with the remainder of the family.

Town of Keene
Essex County
On June 17, DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Essex County 911 stating there was a 45-year-old man who was dehydrated and suffering from a knee injury. Forest Rangers Kevin Burns, James Giglinto, Robbi Mecus, and an Assistant Forest Ranger responded to the trailhead and hiked in approximately one mile, where they assessed the man's condition. After rehydrating, the man regained his strength and was able to walk out under his own power. The Rangers assisted him down the trailhead where an ambulance was waiting. The subject was then transported to Elizabethtown Hospital where he received further medical care.

Town of Shandaken
Ulster County
On June 17, Central Dispatch was contacted by a 24-year-old male subject stating that his hiking party was lost on Panther Mountain. The caller stated that no one was hurt but they had limited water supplies and battery life on their cell phones. Forest Rangers Russell Martin and Nathan Shea responded to the trailhead to conduct a search. Ranger Shea hiked up the Fox Hollow Trail to intercept the lost subjects and located the party in exhausted, but otherwise good, condition. The party was rehydrated and provided with headlamps prior to returning to their vehicle at the Giant Ledge trailhead.

Town of Ticonderoga
Essex County
: On June 17, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from NYSP Troop B Communications requesting assistance for a missing 10-year-old boy in the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness area. The boy was on a hike with his family in a group of 10. The subject became separated from his family when the group split up on the trail. Six Forest Rangers responded and began checking the trail systems. NYSP K-9 units searched the trails with negative results and a NYSP helicopter flew over the surrounding area with negative results. Throughout the night the search parties continued to look for the missing boy but were unable to locate him. By morning the search party grew to include 23 Forest Rangers, NYSP SORT members, NYSP helicopter, and Essex County Sheriff's Deputies. After spending the night in the wilderness alone, Forest Rangers James Waters and Jason Scott located the frightened boy in good health at approximately 8:50 a.m. He walked out with Rangers and was returned to his family after being evaluated by Schroon Lake EMS.

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

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Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor * Basil Seggos, Commissioner

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