Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

For Release: Monday, May 22, 2017

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 5/15 - 5/21/17

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:

Warren County
Town of Warrensburg:
Swiftwater Rescue Training: From May 14 to 19, Forest Rangers participated in two swiftwater training events, one on the Schroon River and one on the Hudson River. Course instruction was led by Aaron Peeler from the American Canoe Association, the nation's leading accreditation organization for swiftwater rescue and boat use. Mr. Peeler is among the top swiftwater rescue instructors in the country. Successful completion of these courses resulted in six Forest Rangers receiving certification as Level 4 instructors on oar frame raft operation. Ten Forest Rangers attained Level 4 swiftwater rescue instructor certification. In partnership with the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control, Forest Rangers are trained and equipped to respond to swiftwater rescues and flood rescue events and serve as the State's experts in swiftwater rescue. New York is home to thousands of miles of runnable kayak and raft water.

Rescue group at swiftwater training.
DEC Forest Rangers conduct swiftwater rescue training with the American Canoe Association.
DEC Forest Rangers conduct swiftwater rescue training with the
American Canoe Association.

Chautauqua County
Town of Chautauqua
State Land Arrests: On May 19 at approximately 11 p.m., Forest Rangers patrolling Chautauqua Gorge State Forest spotted approximately 30 parked cars. The Rangers hiked into the woods and observed approximately 30 to 40 people, a large bonfire, alcohol, and garbage scattered around the area. Rangers contacted Chautauqua County Sheriff's Deputies for assistance and determined that most of the partygoers were under 21 years of age. The alcohol at the scene was collected and disposed of. Approximately one pound of marijuana was also seized. A number for summonses were issued and the marijuana was turned over to the Sheriff's Department, which arrested one individual.

Washington County
Town of Dresden
Rescue: On May 20 at 6:42 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a woman stating her 18-year-old daughter and friend went hiking on Black Mountain in Dresden. While on the hike, the daughter sustained an ankle injury near the summit. Three Forest Rangers and the Dresden Fire Department and Skenesborough EMS teams responded to the trailhead. The fire department used their UTV to locate the injured party and transport her to the trailhead. The subject refused further medical care. All units were clear by 7:45 p.m.

Saratoga County
Town of Moreau
Wildfire: On May 19 at 1:17 p.m., a Forest Ranger responded to a brush fire on Old Saratoga Road in the town of Moreau. A power line came down due to heavy winds and a land owner reported it to National Grid. The local fire department responded and started suppression until National Grid arrived at the scene. At 2:30 p.m., Ray Brook Dispatch was informed the fire was out.

Essex County
Town of North Elba
Search: On May 17 at 9:09 p.m., a call came in from Essex County 911 to Ray Brook Dispatch reporting two lost hikers on the Scarface Trail. Two hikers, ages 24 and 12, were off the trail and unsure of their location, and unable to locate the trail using Google Maps on their cell phone. Coordinates from 911 placed the two southeast of the trail. With continued efforts, they were unable to locate the trail and were asked to remain at their location for further assistance. A Forest Ranger was dispatched to the trailhead and was quickly in contact with the two young hikers, walking them out and releasing them to their parents at the trailhead with no injuries.

Hamilton County
Town of Indian Lake
Search: On May 17 at 12:04 p.m., Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Hamilton County 911 about a hiker lost on the Rock River Trail in Indian Lake in the Blue Mountain Wild Forest. The hiker stated he was off the trail and near a pond, which was later verified to be Rock Lake. Forest Rangers were dispatched to the trailhead, where the subject's car was located. At 2:52 p.m., Forest Rangers made voice contact with the hiker and within 15 minutes assisted him back to the trailhead. The subject was found in good health with no injuries. At 4:48 p.m., the subject was back at his vehicle.

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.

  • Contact for this Page
  • Press Office - Benning DeLaMater
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-1016
    518-402-8000
    email us
  • This Page Covers
  • Page applies to all NYS regions