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For Release: Tuesday, August 8, 2017

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 7/31 - 8/6/17

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.

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 Keene

Essex County

Rescue: On July 31 at 6:03 a.m., a group of hikers contacted Central Dispatch via Essex County 911 advising that members of their party were dehydrated and ill near the Algonquin summit. Precise coordinates were not available, leaving a large area to search for the group. A Forest Ranger, assisted by the Lake Colden Interior Outpost caretaker and the Algonquin summit steward, began to search for the group. At 11:06 a.m., 911 relayed a second set of coordinates from the west slope of Algonquin to Ray Brook Dispatch. The group was located at 11:27 a.m. One member of the group was determined to be dehydrated and ill, unable to return to the campsite on his own. He was transported to Adirondack Medical Center in Lake Placid by New York State Police Aviation with a Forest Ranger on board. The remaining group members walked back to their campsite at Marcy Dam.

Town of Keene

Essex County

Search/Recovery: On July 31 at 6:12 a.m., DEC Central Dispatch received a call reporting an overdue hiker in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness. The male, described as being 50 years old, did not return from a solo hike to Gothics via the AuSable Club on Sunday night. Two Forest Rangers responded immediately and were joined by six additional Rangers, an assistant Forest Ranger, and State Police Aviation. No signs of the subject were found during the day's search operation. On August 1, the search continued with 17 Forest Rangers, one assistant Forest Ranger, and State Police Aviation. Investigative efforts by Rangers utilizing trail registers yielded information from hikers that had seen the subject on Sunday. Search efforts were refocused on the steep drainages of Armstrong and Upper/Lower Wolfjaw to the east branch of the AuSable River in the Adirondack Mountain Reserve (AuSable Club) conservation easement. At 10:20 a.m., Ray Brook Dispatch was notified that the subject was located deceased in a steep ravine by Forest Rangers assigned to the east branch of the AuSable River. Due to the terrain, crews were brought in to extract and prepare to remove the subject via hoist from State Police Aviation, where he was then turned over to the Essex County Coroner at 1:45 p.m.

Town of Middletown

Delaware County

Search and Rescue: On August 1 at approximately 11 a.m., a 60-year-old male left his residence on Dry Brook Road intending to hike in the Big Indian Wilderness Area. At approximately 6:28 p.m., Delaware County 911 reported that the subject had called for assistance after becoming lost. Delaware County 911 contacted DEC Dispatch, and DEC Forest Rangers coordinated search and rescue efforts over the next five days. More than 120 responders spent over 3,400 man hours in the search for the hiker, including 22 Forest Rangers, 19 New York Federation Search volunteers, 41 volunteer firemen from multiple departments, New York State Police, State Police Aviation, DEC Environmental Conservation Officers, Civil Air Patrol, members of the Bellearye Mountain rescue, State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services staff, and multiple K-9 units. On Saturday, at approximately 1 p.m., the caretaker of a private property located the man in a wooded area. The hiker was barefoot but mobile and able to walk with the assistance of the reporting party to the end of Hiram Todd Road. A DEC Forest Ranger assisted with the subject's final evacuation to a waiting ambulance. The man was evaluated by the ambulance crew and transported to the Margaretville Community Hospital for further evaluation and monitoring.

Town of Colton

St. Lawrence County

Rescue: On August 3 at approximately 9:50 a.m., DEC Dispatch received a call from an injured hiker on the Otter Brook Trail. The 19-year-old hiker was fatigued and unable to continue. Forest Rangers Will Benzel, Adam Baldwin, and Jared Booth quickly arrived on the scene and moved the hiker and his companion back to the trailhead on ATVs. The subjects then received a courtesy ride back to Wanakena and their vehicle. The hikers chose to seek medical attention on their own.

Town of Webb

Herkimer County

Rescue: On August 3 at approximately 2:10 p.m. DEC's Dispatch received a call from Herkimer County 911 requesting assistance for an 82-year-old male who was feeling light headed near Nicks Lake campground. Two rangers responded along with Fire and EMS departments. Upon locating the subject he was evaluated, packaged in a litter, and taken to an awaiting ambulance, where he was transported to a local hospital for further medical treatment.

Town of North Elba

Essex County

Rescue: On August 4 at 12:21 p.m., Ray Brook Dispatch received a radio transmission from an Assistant Ranger advising she had encountered a 34-year-old male subject from Queensbury at Avalanche Junction who had been sick for more than 24 hours. The subject appeared extremely dehydrated. After supplying the subject with some water, she walked him to Marcy Dam. Based on symptoms provided by the Assistant Ranger, Ranger James Giglinto was dispatched to take an ATV to Marcy Dam and retrieve the subject. Ranger Giglinto reached the subject at 1:20 p.m., and transported him to ADK Loj. The subject advised the Ranger that he would seek medical attention on his own and declined an ambulance ride. The incident concluded at 2 p.m.

Town of Webb

Herkimer County

Rescue: On August 4, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Herkimer County 911 requesting assistance for a 52-year-old woman who was injured. The subject had fallen while hiking Bald Mountain and sustained a lower leg injury. Rangers responded with Fire and EMS squads and located the subject. She was then evaluated and carried out to an awaiting ambulance, where she was taken to a hospital for further treatment.

Town of North Elba

Essex County

Rescue: On August 4 at 4:10 p.m., DEC Dispatch received a radio transmission from an Assistant Forest Ranger stating she had received multiple reports of a 45-year-old female with a lower leg injury near the trail intersection of Street and Nye Mountain. The hiker was with two others and they were able to assist her. Two Forest Rangers responded and stabilized the injury, carrying her out with the help of her fellow hikers, the Assistant Forest Ranger, and a summit steward. The subject declined further care and stated she would seek further medical attention on her own.

Town of Keene

Essex County

Rescue: On August 6, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a transferred call from Essex County 911 from a caller whose hiking partner, a 72-year-old male, sustained an injury while hiking Hurricane Mountain. Forest Rangers responded to the trailhead and located the subject approximately one mile from the summit of Hurricane. The subject was evaluated by a Ranger who stabilized the injury. The subject was then put in a harness to be hoisted by State Police Aviation, who then transported the subject to the hospital.

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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