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For Release: Tuesday, October 29, 2019

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 10/21/19 - 10/27/19

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 Morehouse
Hamilton County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Oct. 26 at 7:07 p.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Hamilton County 911 advising of a hunter reported as overdue. The 71-year-old man from Utica was hunting behind his camp and expected to return by dark. Forest Rangers Michael Thompson and Jenifer Temple responded to assist the Hamilton County Deputy Sheriff's Office in locating the man. At 8:46 p.m., Forest Ranger Thompson located the hunter and assisted him out of the woods where he declined any further assistance.

Town of Long Lake
Hamilton County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Oct. 27 at 8:28 a.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a group of five men stranded on the shoreline of Forked Lake in Hamilton County. The caller stated that their boat had capsized the night before, causing the group to swim from the boat to shore and resulting in the loss of most of their gear. Forest Rangers Gary Miller, Jenifer Temple, and Robert Zurek responded to assist the group using coordinates provided by their GPS. Forest Rangers used a boat to locate the group and transported them back to their vehicles by 11:51 a.m.

Town of Greenfield
Saratoga County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Oct. 27 at 8:41 p.m., the Saratoga County Sheriff's Office advised DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch of a lost 911 call. The male caller said, "we are on the trail," before the call was lost. The 911 coordinates placed the call on the southwest side of Spruce Mountain. Forest Rangers Anthony Goetke and Melissa Milano responded to assist the Sheriff's Deputies. A second call at 8:47 p.m. was transferred directly to dispatch. The caller stated he had left from Archer Vly with one other person to hunt but the two were now lost, out of light, and cold. The second set of 911 coordinates were within 600 feet of the first set. Forest Rangers were at the trailhead and in the woods at 10:24 p.m., and located the 29- and 27-year-old hunters from Amsterdam, Montgomery County. The pair was cold but otherwise unharmed. Rangers escorted the hunters back to the trailhead at 11:34 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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