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For Release: Monday, November 7, 2016

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Search and Rescue Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 10/22 - 11/6

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation 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.

"Across New York, DEC's 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:

Clinton County

Town of Dannemora
State Land
Overdue hunters:
On Nov. 2 at 1:34 a.m., DEC Central Dispatch received a request for assistance from New York State Police to help find a 50-year-old male from Plattsburgh and a 53-year-old male from Dannemora overdue from hunting on state land in Dannemora. The hunters had parked their vehicles at a pull-off on Route 374 and taken all-terrain-vehicles from there. A DEC Forest Ranger responded to assist State Police and the Saranac Fire Department in the search. One hunter was able to bushwhack his way out at 12:15 p.m. The second hunter was located at 1:52 p.m. and escorted out of the woods. The incident concluded at 2 p.m.

Essex County

Town of North Elba
High Peaks Wilderness
Distressed hiker:
On Nov. 5 at 7:34 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance for a 39-year-old male from Bayside who was at Marcy Dam in distress and unable to continue. A DEC Forest Ranger responded by utility-terrain-vehicle. The hiker was stabilized and transported to his vehicle at South Meadow Lane. He declined additional medical treatment. The incident concluded at 9:28 p.m.

Warren County

Town of Bolton
Lake George Wild Forest
Lost hiker:
On Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance from Warren County 911 for a 30-year-old female from Glens Falls lost on the Blue Trail on Cat Mountain with a dying head lamp. The woman provided coordinates, which placed her on Thomas Mountain. A DEC Forest Ranger responded to the coordinates, located the woman at 9:03 p.m. and escorted her out to the trailhead. The incident concluded at 10:10 p.m.

Town of Bolton
Lake George Wild Forest
Unprepared hikers:
On Nov. 6 at 4:02 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch was contacted by a 52-year-old male and 55-year-old female, both from Ponce Inlet, Fl., requesting assistance on the Tongue Mountain trail. The hikers had not anticipated the length of time their hike would take and did not have flashlights for the final section of trail. A DEC Forest Ranger responded, met the hikers on the trail at 5:50 p.m., and escorted them out to their vehicle. The incident concluded at 7:07 p.m.

Cattaraugus County

Town of Ashford
Injured hunter:
On Oct. 22, DEC Forest Ranger Robert Rogers was notified by Cattaraugus 911 of a hunter falling from a tree stand. Rogers was the first responding unit in the area. Upon arrival, Rogers located a local farmer who was reportedly on the phone with the hunter. The farmer was familiar with the hunter's stand location and was able to lead Rogers to the victim. The Forest Ranger assessed the hunter's condition and called for EMTs from Morton's Corners Volunteer Fire Department. According to the hunter, he was bow hunting and began to climb out of his stand when the stand failed. The hunter then fell approximately 25 feet to the ground, injuring his lower back and hitting his head. The hunter stated that he was able to get to his feet, walk several steps to find his cell phone, and make a call to his mother before being overcome by pain and falling back to the ground. Further medical care was provided by West Valley Volunteer Fire Department and Mercy EMS while Ranger Rogers organized extrication. The individual was transported by Morton's Corners Volunteer Fire Department off road rescue unit to an awaiting Mercy Flight Helicopter. The hunter was then flown to Erie County Medical Center for further treatment. The hunter reportedly suffered fractured vertebrae.

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

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