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For Release: Tuesday, May 29, 2018

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 5/21 - 5/27/18

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 Sodus
Wayne County
Search:
On May 22, the Wayne County Sheriff's Department requested Forest Ranger assistance with the search for Selena Hildalgo-Calderon, an 18-year-old female, and her son 14-month-old son, Owen. Through search efforts, the mother was located deceased. Coordinated search operations are continuing for the missing child. As the search has progressed over several days, dozens of local and state law enforcement, fire department, and volunteers have assisted with this operation.

Town of Franklin
Franklin County
Wildland Fire:
On May 24, Forest Ranger Scott Sabo responded to a report of a wildland fire at Buck Pond Campground. The .5-acre wildfire was contained and determined to have escaped control from a campfire left unattended, subsequently burning into an adjacent campsite causing damage to a camper.

Town of Harrietstown
Franklin County
Water Rescue:
On May 25 at 4:50 p.m., Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance in locating a subject who had overturned his kayak on Middle Saranac Lake. The caller advised that he and a friend became separated on the water and that he was concerned he could not see his friend. The missing subject, a 39-year-old from Oneida, was transporting supplies across the lake to a camping site. Rangers responded to South Creek at 5:30 p.m., in an attempt to locate the missing kayaker. An Environmental Conservation Police Officer (ECO) vessel was patrolling nearby and was requested for assistance. As Rangers and Saranac Lake Rescue were searching the area for the subject, the ECO located the man on Tamarack Island in good condition. The subject advised that choppy water, rain, and the supplies in his kayak caused it to capsize. After an interview, the subject was released to a private party piloting a boat. He was transported back to his site and reunited with the reporting party.

Town of Hunter
Greene County
Wilderness Rescue:
On May 26 at 5:57 p.m., Greene County 911 Center contacted DEC Central Dispatch requesting assistance with a 25-year-old woman suffering from a seizure. The woman had hiked from the Steenburgh trailhead to Huckleberry Point with a friend. The women was located approximately 0.5 miles from the Prediger trailhead when Forest Ranger Christine Nelson and an assistant Forest Ranger arrived on scene with her patrol vehicle. Ranger Nelson began patient assessment and the woman was verbally responsive. The woman was transported by vehicle to the trailhead. Nelson, Hunter Police Department personnel, Ranger Robert Dawson, and an EMT volunteer transferred the patient from the vehicle into a padded litter to continue assessment. Greene County paramedics arrived on scene, but the patient became unresponsive. Rescue breathing and CPR were administered while two paramedics intubated and worked on the patient. The woman regained a pulse and was transported by Hunter ambulance to a landing zone for incoming Lifenet helicopter. Once stabilized, the woman was flown to Albany Medical Center.

Town of North Elba
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
At 9:46 p.m. on May 26, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a hiking party reporting that a 35-year-old woman from Norwich had fallen ill due to exhaustion hiking up Mount Marcy. The exhaustion caused the woman to stumble and fall on several occasions during her descent. Forest Ranger Robert Praczkajlo was dispatched to the South Meadow Trailhead with an UTV to meet the party at Marcy Dam for a courtesy ride back out. Several downed trees from recent storms blocked the truck trail to Marcy Dam and needed to be cleared along the way. Subjects were located at Marcy Dam, dehydrated and suffering from cramps due to lack of fluids. At 12:30 a.m., the hikers were out of the woods and Rangers were clear of the scene.

Town of Keene
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
At 5:06 p.m. on May 27, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from the AuSable Mountain Club regarding a 28-year-old woman from Syracuse who had become dehydrated and fallen while descending Pyramid Mountain. Ranger Robert Praczjaklo responded and located the subject on the Pyramid Mountain Trail. The woman was ambulatory upon his arrival. The Ranger assisted the subject and her hiking group back to the parking lot. The subject stated she would seek further medical care on her own. The Ranger was back in service at 5:47 p.m.

Town of Lake Pleasant
Hamilton County
Campground Enforcement:
At 6:20 a.m. on May 27, DEC Central Dispatch received a request for Forest Ranger assistance from the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department. Sheriff's Deputies and New York State Police had previously responded to a report of a disturbance at Moffit's Beach Campground. Campers had heard a loud argument at a neighboring site and called 911. The original call came through as a possible domestic dispute at 4:36 a.m. Arriving on scene, Rangers were made aware that the disturbance originated with an intoxicated male acting in a disorderly manner. Rangers assisted campground staff with the eviction of all persons at the problem site. All units cleared the area at 11 a.m.

Town of Hancock
Delaware County
Wilderness Recovery:
On May 27 at 6:46 p.m., DEC Central Dispatch received a call from Sullivan County 911 requesting Forest Ranger assistance with a hiker who had lost his footing and fell approximately 50 feet off a cliff in the proximity of Jensen's Ledge. Forest Rangers Richard Franke, Eric Stratton, Jason Seeley, and Dylan McCartney responded to the scene. Upon arrival at the trailhead, the 24-year-old man from Harrison, N.J., died from his injuries. The New York State Police is investigating the cause of death.

Town of Keene
Essex County
Wilderness Search:
At 8:20 p.m. on May 27, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a radio transmission from Rangers at the Adirondack Loj who reported an overdue hiker from the Algonquin Loop. At 8:46 p.m., a 26-year-old man from Rensselaer stated he believed to be approximately 20 minutes from the trailhead, but was uncertain of which trail he was on. The man was disoriented by dense fog cover, followed another group over to Lake Colden, and realized he was in the wrong place. The man was then pointed in the right direction and began his descent. Three Forest Rangers commenced search efforts after the man failed to arrive at the Loj at his estimated time. Rangers located the subject at 9:47 p.m., coming down the trail from the Marcy Dam. The subject had sustained a knee injury during his descent. The man was assessed, treated, and assisted back to his vehicle. All units cleared the scene at 10:06 p.m.

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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