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For Release: Wednesday, September 4, 2019

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 8/29/19 - 9/1/19

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 St. Armand
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Aug. 26 at 6:43 p.m., Lake Placid Police Department transferred a call to DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch from a 43-year-old male hiker from Arlington, Mass., on Haystack Mountain in the McKenzie Mountain Wilderness Area. The hiker reported feeling the effects of dehydration due to lack of water on the strenuous hike. Coordinates obtained from the hiker's cell phone placed him 1.75 miles from the Route 86 trailhead. Forest Ranger Peter Evans responded to bring the hiker water, food, and electrolytes. Forest Ranger Evans supplied the hiker with food and water, and at 6:48 p.m., they started the hike out, arriving at the trailhead at 9:17 p.m. The man declined additional medical care.

Town of Galway
Saratoga County
Wilderness Search:
On Aug. 30 at 4:21 p.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch was contacted by the Saratoga County Sheriff's Office for assistance in locating a 32-year-old woman from Galway. The woman was last seen heading into the woods at dusk on Aug. 29 near Galway Lake. The woman's vehicle was located near an old family camp with her cell phone, wallet, keys, and a note. Three Forest Rangers responded and met with Saratoga County Deputies. Lt. John Solan and Captain Zieske of the Saratoga County Sheriff's Office established a unified command for this operation. New York State Police (NYSP) Aviation was called in and flew over Galway Lake with negative results. While searching, Forest Ranger Anthony Goetke found foot prints leading into the water near the family camp. Operations were suspended until the next day due to darkness. On Aug. 31, search efforts continued with the Saratoga County Dive Team to search the lake and a widened search area. At 2 p.m., the woman was located in good health in a nearby camp by a Saratoga Deputy.

Town of Waverly
Franklin County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Aug. 31 at 1:11 p.m., Franklin County 911 transferred a call to DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch reporting an injured 37-year-old female hiker from Fresh Meadows on Azure Mountain. The hiker was descending the trail in the Debar Mountain Wild Forest Area and took a wrong step, causing the injury. Through additional interviews with Dispatch, it was determined that the ankle injury was serious. Cell phone coordinates obtained through 911 placed the woman just over a half-mile from the trailhead. Forest Rangers Scott Sabo, Peter Evans, Peter Morehouse, Nathaniel Shea, and Assistant Forest Ranger Gregory Bowler responded to assist. At 3:51 p.m., Forest Rangers were on scene and heading to meet with the group. After stabilizing the injury, the hiker was carried out to a Saint Regis Falls ambulance waiting at the trailhead and brought to a local hospital for treatment.

Town of Keene
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Aug. 31 at 6:41 p.m., Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch reporting two hikers who came upon a man they described as unresponsive, as well as moaning and breathing heavily. With the coordinates provided by 911, Dispatch placed the hikers' location approximately a quarter-mile up the Johns Brook Trail from the Garden parking lot. Forest Rangers James Giglinto, Scott Sabo, Peter Evans, and David Russell responded along with the Keene Valley Fire Department and EMS. Forest Rangers and volunteers hiked to the man's location, where they were met by the Johns Brook Caretaker. Once medical aid was administered, Forest Rangers and volunteers carried the 45-year-old man from Rome back to the parking lot, where he was then transported to a local hospital by Keene Valley EMS.

Town of Highland
Sullivan County
State Land Enforcement:
On Sept. 1 at 5:30 p.m., while on patrol, Forest Ranger Richard Franke heard shots coming from an area where people can legally target shoot in the Hickok Multiple Use Area. Forest Ranger Franke, along with a Sullivan County Sheriff's Deputy, and the Town of Highland Constable, conducted a compliance check on the shooters. There were 15 people shooting in the area with approximately 30 guns. During the interviews, one of the shooters, a 42-year-old man from Hawley, Penn., had a pistol without a New York permit. The man was arrested and transported to Sullivan County Sheriff's Department for processing.

Town of Persia
Cattaraugus County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Sept. 2 at 3:15 p.m., Forest Rangers and Gowanda Ambulance were called to respond to an individual hiking with her family on the Deer Lick Nature Preserve. The hiker had been stung by approximately 10 bees and was suffering from a severe allergic reaction. Forest Ranger Robert Rogers and an Assistant Forest Ranger joined up with arriving members of the Gowanda Ambulance service and hiked in about a mile to the hiker's location. The 46-year-old woman was assessed and treated by the ambulance personnel while Forest Ranger Rogers began to coordinate the evacuation process. Three additional Forest Rangers and members of the Gowanda Fire Department and Cattaraugus Ambulance Company also responded. While waiting for the litter and UTV to arrive and be positioned, a Forest Ranger and other emergency responders began to clear and cut a path for the carry out. The woman was packaged and carried along the planned route to the waiting UTV for final transport back to the parking area. She was further evaluated and released by the ambulance service.

First Responders and Forest Ranges carrying the hiker out.
First Responders and Forest Rangers carry out a hiker who suffered an allergic reaction

Town of North Elba
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Sept. 2 at 5:47 p.m., a call came in to DEC 's Ray Brook Dispatch from the husband of a hiker on Street and Nye Mountain Trail with a hiking group. Earlier in the day, they crossed Indian Pass Brook, which has no bridge, on their way to the High Peaks Wilderness area. However, upon returning to that same crossing the river had swollen dramatically from all-day heavy rains. Now stranded with rapids separating them from the trailhead, the two females and one male hiker from Minnesota called to see what they should do. Forest Rangers requested that the party remain where they were and they would quickly respond to help. Forest Rangers Kevin Burns and James Giglinto entered the backcountry crossing of Indian Pass Brook, which is more than a mile from the trailhead by foot. At 7:42 p.m., Forest Rangers arrived at Indian Pass Brook and after weighing all options, it was decided the hikers should remain in the woods overnight. Forest Rangers managed to get overnight supplies to the hikers using a throw bag and walked them through starting a fire to get warm and comfortable. Forest Rangers returned the next morning to evaluate the conditions and at 7:13 a.m., Ranger Giglinto advised Dispatch that he had found the hikers on the Old Nye Ski trail and that they were all safely out of the woods.

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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