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For Release: Monday, June 12, 2017

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 6/5 - 6/12/17

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:

Yates County
Town of Italy
Rescue: At 6:35 p.m. on June 6, Ontario County 911 contacted Forest Ranger Patrick Dormer reporting a 32-year-old female stranded but uninjured in Clark's Gully in the High Tor Wildlife Management Area. The subject had climbed up to a popular waterfall and could not descend the steep, slippery shale terrain. Ranger Dormer and a rope rescue team from Ontario County responded to the subject's location, approximately a half-mile from the Sunnyside Road trailhead. Ranger Dormer helped coordinate access and organization, while rescue personnel were able to get a rope and harness to the subject to safely belay her to the bottom of the gully. The subject was uninjured and all personnel were clear of the scene by approximately 8:30 p.m.

Rescue at Clark’s Gully.
Rescue at Clark's Gully.

Oneida County
Town of Sangerfield
Hazardous Waste: At 2:00 p.m. on June 7, Forest Ranger Robert Piersma came upon two black garbage bags that had been dumped in Tassel Hill State Forest State. Upon inspection of the bags, Ranger Piersma observed contents consistent with the production of methamphetamine. Due to the hazardous nature of the contents, the New York State Police were called to handle the investigation and removal of the materials.

Herkimer County
Town of Ohio
Rescue: On June 9 at 2:30 p.m., Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance for an overturned boat on Gull Lake. The female subject stated that her husband, a 28-year-old from Albany, was stranded on a small rock island one mile off shore. Rangers Robert Coscomb and Lt. Scott Murphy and Environmental Conservation Officer Shana Hutton responded and hiked in to Gull Lake with a canoe. They located the female subject at the Gull Lake lean-to. The subject explained that she, her husband, and their beagle were paddling at the east end of Gull Lake and began taking on water from wind and choppy waves. After the canoe began to sink, they swam to a nearby rock outcropping on the lake. The female subject then swam one mile across the lake to call for assistance. The husband was left behind due to health issues. Rangers paddled across the lake and located the husband and dog on the small rock island. The male subject was brought back across the lake and reunited with his wife at 5:10 p.m. The subjects required no medical attention and the incident concluded at 6:38 p.m.

Warren County
Town of Thurman
Rescue: On June 10 at 2:38 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a report of an injury on Crane Mountain from Warren County 911. The injured 54-year-old female sustained an ankle injury while descending a steep section of trail and requested assistance because she was unable to put weight on her ankle. Five Forest Rangers, one Assistant Forest Ranger, and one Back Country Steward responded. With the assistance of Fire Department and EMS personnel, the subject was located approximately one mile from the trailhead in a steep rocky area. Forest Rangers and EMTs assessed the injury and requested New York State Police Aviation. She was hoisted by NYSP Aviation and brought to a nearby landing zone, where she was then transported via ambulance to a local hospital for further medical care.

Greene County
Town of Greenville
Search: On June 9 at approximately 10:30 p.m., Central Dispatch received a call from friends of a 66-year-old woman, who was reported missing Tuesday evening, June 6. Her vehicle was located June 9 at a Tops supermarket in Greenville. Family and friends searched a nearby park on June 10. Forest Ranger Katie Fox met with the family and friends at 8 a.m. to organize searchers, and New York State Police Aviation and bloodhound K-9 units also responded. Throughout the day, seven additional Forest Rangers arrived to help lead crews searching the park. At approximately 4:22 p.m., a search crew located the subject deceased. State Police Investigators were requested to the scene to investigate the cause of death. Forest Rangers utilized a high line rope system to extract the subject. All Forest Rangers were clear of the scene by 9:30 p.m.

Oswego County
Town of Albion
ATV Accident: On June 11 at around 1:15 p.m., while on routine patrol Forest Ranger Scott Jackson overhead a radio call of an ATV accident on Happy Valley Road, adjacent to the Happy Valley Wildlife Management Area. Ranger Jackson was the first person to arrive on the scene. The 16-year-old male operator was in the roadway conscious and alert, but complained of pain to his leg and shoulder. Ranger Jackson performed a patient assessment and monitored his condition until Altmar Fire Department Rescue crew and ambulance arrived. The accident investigation was turned over to Oswego County Deputies. The accident occurred on a town road where ATV use is allowed. Ranger Jackson was clear of the scene by 2:00 p.m.

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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