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For Release: Tuesday, May 22, 2018

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 5/14 - 5/20/18

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 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 Ticonderoga
Essex County
Wilderness Search:
At 11:37 a.m. on May 14, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Essex County 911 reporting a dropped call from a lost female hiker on Treadway Mountain in the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Area. No additional cell phone communications were possible due to poor cell coverage in the area. Forest Rangers were dispatched to the area of the cell phone call coordinates and made voice contact with the hiker at 2:12 p.m. The Rangers helped rehydrate the hiker and walked her out to the trailhead by 3:25 p.m. The hiker had become lost on an outcropping near the summit and could not find her way back to the trail.

City of New Paltz
Ulster County
Wildland Rescue:
On May 15 at 10:45 a.m., the New Paltz Police Department requested Forest Rangers to help locate Robert Quinn, who was reported missing to New Paltz PD on May 11. The missing subject was last seen at the Mohonk Mountain Gate House that day at 1 p.m. Forest Rangers responded and organized wildland search efforts. Mohonk Preserve Rangers were sent into the field to search the trail system around the Mohonk Mountain House, and the Sheriff's Department began searching with a drone. At approximately 2:30 p.m. on May 15, a 911 call reported a potential sighting of the subject attempting to cross a stream. Emergency responders found Quinn at the location. He was taken by ambulance to a Kingston hospital for evaluation and treatment.

Town of Johnsburg
Warren County
Wilderness Rescue:
On May 16 at 3:58 p.m., DEC Central Dispatch received a call reporting a male hiker lost near Crane Mountain. The hiker reported that he was exploring the new Open Space Institute property on Huckleberry Mountain, got disoriented on one of the old forest roads, and found himself in unfamiliar territory atop steep slopes. He was not prepared to navigate or stay overnight and was concerned about being able to make it out before dark. The call was transferred to Ray Brook Dispatch and the hiker's coordinates were used to determine his location north of Crane Mountain on a small knob just south of Huckleberry Mountain. Forest Rangers made phone contact with the hiker and requested that he remain in the location. Rangers responded and found the subject in good shape about a mile from the road. He was escorted back to his vehicle with no further incident.

Town of North Elba
Essex County
Wilderness Search:
On May 17 at 10:51 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a hiker separated from his hiking partner on Cascade and Porter mountains. The two male teens split up on Porter to join back up on Cascade for sunset. When one hiker had not heard from the other, he proceeded back up Porter and then to the trailhead in hopes of meeting up with his friend. Upon reaching the trailhead, the hiking partner was not there and realized that all the headlamps were at the trailhead with him. Forest Ranger James Giglinto contacted the hiker by phone and concluded that the other hiker may have descended the wrong trail off Porter. Three Forest Rangers started hiking in at three different locations-Marcy Field, The Garden, and Route 73 trailheads. By 2:15 a.m., a Ranger located the missing hiker just above Little Porter Mountain. By 4:10 a.m., the hikers were reunited in Keene Valley.

Town of Fine
St. Lawrence County
Wildland Fire:
On May 18, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from St. Lawrence County 911 reporting a wildland fire on the corner of Twin Lake Road and Rt. 3 in the hamlet of Star Lake. Dispatch also received reports of additional fires along Route 3. Forest Rangers and fire departments from Star Lake, Newton Falls, Fine, Edwards, Russell, and Cranberry Lake responded for fire suppression efforts. The fire moved quickly through leaf litter in the hardwood forest but quickly came under controlled status, with 10.1 acres burned. An investigation determined the fires were started by equipment along the road.

Town of Harmony
Chautauqua County
State Land Protection:
At about 9:30 a.m. on May 18, an employee of Empire Energy notified a DEC forester of a petroleum spill on North Harmony State Forest. The forester contacted a Forest Ranger, who arrived on scene as Empire Energy was cleaning up the spill. Empire Energy contacted DEC Spills unit and a DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officer (ECO) responded. The extent and cause of the spill is being investigated.

Town of North Elba
Essex County
Wilderness Search:
On May 19 at 11:36 a.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a transferred call from Franklin County 911 regarding a 22-year-old female hiker and her dog lost on Scarface Mountain. The subject became lost while attempting to get a better view near the top of the mountain. One Ranger responded and located the subject and her dog at 2:12 p.m., near coordinates provided by Franklin County 911. The subject was in good health and was assisted out of the woods and back to her vehicle by 4:38 p.m.

City of Albany and Town of Guilderland
Albany County
Prescribed Fires:
Forest Rangers assisted Albany Pine Bush Commission fire management staff conduct two prescribed fires on May 14 and 17. A total of 50.7 acres were burned according to an approved plan over woodland and open areas prepared for prescribed fire. Both burns support the commission's ecological goals, which include improving habitat for endangered species.

Forest ranger walking in a forest with a prescribed fire
farshot of a prescribed fire and a forest ranger in the foreground monitoring the fire

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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