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For Release: Tuesday, July 23, 2019

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 7/15/19 - 7/21/19

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 2018, DEC Forest Rangers conducted 346 search and rescue missions, extinguished 105 wildfires that burned a total of 845 acres, participated in 24 prescribed fires that burned and rejuvenated 610 acres, and worked on cases that resulted in 2,354 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 are 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."

Town of Arkwright
Chautauqua County
Wilderness Rescue:
On July 15 at 9:30 p.m., the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office received a call from a group of 11 hikers reporting they were lost while hiking in the creek bed of the Canadaway Creek Wildlife Management Area. The group from Dunkirk stated that they had been hiking to Arkwright Falls and became disoriented when they could not locate the trail due to darkness. The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office contacted Forest Ranger Zachary Robitaille, who responded along with sheriff's deputies. Forest Ranger Robitaille and the deputies hiked in along the creek bed and located the group approximately 1.5 miles from the road. The group was in good health and assisted back to their vehicles at approximately 1:30 a.m. Chautauqua County Sheriff's Deputies, Chautauqua Area Search Team (CAST), and Cassadaga Fire Department assisted in the search.

Town of North Elba
Essex County
Wilderness Recovery:
On July 16 at 11:20 a.m., DEC's Raybrook Dispatch received a request for assistance for a 61-year-old male hiker from Savannah, NY, who suffered a cardiac event one-quarter of a mile from the summit of Mount Marcy. At the time of the call, the hiker was unconscious, not breathing, and CPR was being performed. Forest Rangers Kevin Burns and Peter Evans responded and organized an aviation mission to retrieve the hiker from the coordinates received from Essex County 911. At 11:58 a.m., New York State Police (NYSP) Aviation picked up Forest Rangers Burns and Evans and flew them to Mount Marcy. Backcountry Paramedic Chuck Pandolf and Forest Ranger Evans were lowered in to help resuscitate the hiker. After 30 minutes of resuscitation efforts, the hiker was declared deceased. The hiker was prepared for aviation transport to a local hospital. Forest Rangers Scott Sabo and Evans assisted the family off Mount Marcy and back to the trailhead. DEC's Bureau of Environmental Crimes Investigation (BECI) was notified and responded. The incident concluded at 7 p.m.

Town of Chesterfield
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
On July 17 at 8:56 p.m., Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch from a female hiker on Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain whose group strayed from the original trail and became lost. The group from Plattsburgh consisted of the caller, her husband, and eight children (two 14-year-olds, two 12-year-olds, one 10-year-old, one eight-year-old, and two four-year-olds). The family's cell phones were their only sources of light and Dispatch advised the group to conserve the batteries by not using the phones. Forest Rangers Scott VanLaer and Sarah Bode responded using the coordinates attained through Essex County 911, which placed the group near the Jeep Trail. Forest Rangers VanLaer and Bode made contact with the group at 10:47 p.m. After supplying the hiking party with food, water, and lights, the Forest Rangers escorted them back down to the trail head.

Town of North Elba
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
On July 18 at 2:30 p.m., the Algonquin Summit Steward contacted Forest Ranger James Giglinto regarding a hiker who reported that a member of her hiking party was exhibiting signs of heat stress. Forest Ranger Giglinto dispatched Assistant Forest Ranger Ethan Engel, who was nearby, to assist. The 21-year-old female hiker from Dix Hills was located approximately one-half mile below the summit of Algonquin and was experiencing nausea and weakness. Assistant Forest Ranger Engel provided fluids and electrolytes and helped the hiker out to the trailhead under her own power. She was met by Forest Ranger Giglinto who advised the group to seek additional medical assistance if her condition didn't improve or worsened. The incident concluded at 5:30 p.m.

Town of Newcomb
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
On July 18 at 2:40 p.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance for a 72-year-old male hiker from Amherst who fell on a root and injured his shoulder while hiking Cliff Mountain. The hiker initially felt he could not hike back down the mountain. Forest Ranger James Giglinto dispatched Lake Colden Caretaker Wade Bastian to assist. The hiker and his wife were escorted down Cliff Mountain and reassessed at the Cliff lean-to. The hikers decided that they could make it to their vehicle, which was parked at the Upperworks Trailhead. Caretaker Bastian escorted the hikers to Calamity Brook where Assistant Forest Ranger Brendan Jackson met up with the pair and escorted them back to their vehicle. The hikers advised they would seek medical attention on their own.

Town of North Elba
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
On July 18 at 7:23 p.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance for a hiker who suffered a leg injury while descending Vanderwhacker Mountain. The 58-year-old female from Pittsburgh, PA, walked with the assistance of others until she could no longer go on. The hiking group had no water or head lamps and darkness was setting in. Forest Rangers Jamison Martin and Marie Arnold responded to assist. Upon arrival, Forest Ranger Martin drove an ATV in to retrieve the hiker and the members of her hiking group. The hiker stated she would seek medical care on her own. The incident concluded at 9:30 p.m.

Town of North Elba
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
On July 19 at 9:11 a.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance for a 34-year-old female hiker from Hilliard, OH, who was having an allergic reaction one mile above Indian Falls. Forest Rangers James Giglinto, Kevin Burns, and Peter Evans responded. Forest Ranger Giglinto advised the reporting party to walk the hiker back to Indian Falls for a possible aviation evacuation. Forest Ranger Evans was lowered in at Indian Falls to help the stricken hiker. After the hiker was evaluated, she was hoisted into the helicopter and flown to a local hospital for treatment. The incident concluded at 11 a.m.

Town of Dannemora
Clinton County
Wilderness Rescue:
On July 19 at 6:47 p.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance for a 26-year-old female hiker from Hudson with a non-weightbearing right ankle fracture near the summit of Lyon Mountain. Seven Forest Rangers and several local volunteer fire departments responded to assist with the carry-out. Forest Rangers arrived on scene and began hiking in, locating the hiker at 9:53 p.m. The hiker was packaged up and carried out. Rescuers reached the trailhead at 3 a.m. and turned the woman over to a waiting EMS for additional care.

Town of Deposit
Delaware County
Outreach:
On July 20, Forest Ranger Dylan McCartney gave a presentation at the Delaware County Lumberjack Festival on the role of Forest Rangers. Ranger McCartney presented on recreational opportunities on state land in Delaware County and the Catskills, Leave No Trace principles, backcountry preparedness, and Hike Smart NY's (PDF) 10 hiking essentials to carry in your pack.

A Forest Ranger stands on a small stage under a pavillion speaking into a microphone at the Lumberjack Festival
Forest Ranger McCartney presenting at Delaware County Lumberjack Festival

Town of Hunter
Greene County
Wilderness Rescue:
On July 21, Forest Ranger Robert Dawson, along with Assistant Forest Rangers Aaron France and Zachary Miller, assisted a 45-year-old swimmer from Cornwall who suffered a laceration above his left eye while swimming in the middle pool at Kaaterskill Falls. First aid was applied, and the man was assisted out to the trailhead where he stated he would seek additional medical care on his own.

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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