DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

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DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 12/17 - 12/24/18

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 2017, DEC Forest Rangers conducted 346 search and rescue missions, extinguished 55 wildfires that burned a total of 191 acres, participated in 29 prescribed fires that burned and rejuvenated 564 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 are 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 Persia
Cattaraugus County
Enforcement: On Dec. 19 at 9:40 a.m., a Forest Ranger on routine patrol of Zoar Valley Multiple Use Area discovered materials indicative of methamphetamine production. The New York State Police and area drug task force were notified and took over the investigation.

Town of North Elba
Essex County
Search/Rescue: At 3 p.m. on Dec. 19, DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a mother whose daughter was texting her requesting assistance with getting back to the trail near the false summit of Mt. Colden. The daughter was uninjured but in deep snow. She could not connect with 911 but texted her mother to call Dispatch with her coordinates to try to get directions back to the trail. Forest Rangers contacted the woman and attempted to direct her back to the trail without success. With limited daylight remaining and the only option being a three-hour hike to locate the woman, Forest Rangers contacted State Police Aviation for assistance. State Police Aviation attempted to land at the summit of Colden and insert a Forest Ranger into the area, but snowy conditions prohibited a landing. A Forest Ranger was successfully hoisted into a nearby area and the subject was reached by 4:23 p.m. The woman was able to walk out with the Forest Ranger guidance. No further assistance was needed.

Town of Lake George
Warren County
Rescue: At 3:15 p.m. on Dec. 20, DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a call through Warren County 911 reporting a man and woman stranded at the parking lot on Prospect Mountain because the trail and road were too slippery to go down, even though they had climbed it moments earlier. Without proper equipment to safely reach their vehicle, the pair requested Forest Ranger assistance to get down the mountain. Forest Rangers responded to the Prospect Mountain Toll Road with ATVs equipped with chains to retrieve the stranded couple. At 4:18 p.m., Forest Rangers reached the stranded hikers and within 20 minutes the pair was back at the trailhead. The hikers were given instructions on carrying proper gear for seasonal conditions.

Town of Gardiner
Ulster County
Recovery: On Dec. 23 at 4:25 p.m., Ulster County agencies requested assistance from DEC Forest Rangers to recover the victim of a rock climbing accident at the privately owned Mohonk Preserve. Forest Rangers responded to set up a high-angle rope recovery operation. An unidentified male rock climber was solo climbing when he fell to his death. Mohonk Preserve Rangers, Gardiner Fire Department volunteers, and New York State Police were also involved. State Police are leading the ongoing investigation.

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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Basil Seggos, Commissioner

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