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For Release: Wednesday, November 13, 2019

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 11/4/19 - 11/10/19

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 Randolph
Cattaraugus County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Nov. 5 at 2:30 p.m., Forest Ranger Bob Rogers responded to a rescue for an individual hanging from his tree stand in the woods off Hotchkiss Road in the town of Randolph. Upon arrival, Ranger Rogers and members of the Chautauqua County Tech Rescue team rode into the woods on a Cattaraugus County Sheriff's UTV to the location of the accident. At the accident location, the 22-year-old man from Jamestown was found hanging with his feet on the seat of his tree stand and his upper body attached to the tree stand. He had lost his footing while using the climbing tree stand and his foot got caught on the unit, keeping him from falling to the ground. One member of the tech rescue team climbed a ladder to further assess the situation. After his descent, Forest Ranger Rogers loaned his harness to a paramedic so he and another medical provider could begin preventative measures due to concerns about potential suspension trauma. The man had been suspended from the stand for approximately 2.5 hours. Forest Ranger Rogers assisted the tech rescue team with tactical planning and rigging as the rescuers put a patient harness on the hunter, and then raised and then lowered the man to the ground. The subject was then transported from the woods in a UTV and brought to a local hospital.

Town of Smithville
Chenango County
Overturned Kayak:
On Nov. 9 at 2:15 p.m., Forest Ranger Jeremy Oldroyd and a Chenango County Sheriff's Deputy responded to a report of an overturned kayak near the boat launch at Long Pond State Forest. A passerby noticed the overturned kayak in the water off shore from the boat launch with no one around. While Ranger Oldroyd was en route, Chenango County 911 advised that the passerby had also spotted a man apparently sleeping in a truck in the parking lot of the boat launch. The Ranger approached the truck and interviewed the 22-year-old male from Endicott, who said that at 9 a.m., he took his kayak out to join his friends fishing on the lake. He hit an ice patch and overturned his kayak, but was able to bring the kayak to within 25 yards of shore before he became cold and tired. The man, who was wearing a personal floatation device, was able to swim the rest of the way to shore but left the kayak behind. He declined medical treatment.

Town of Ischua
Cattaraugus County
Attempt to Locate:
On Nov. 10 at 2:20 p.m., Forest Ranger Bob Rogers provided assistance to the Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Department with attempts to locate a reportedly despondent male. The man contacted a former family member and reportedly left the area in a vehicle. Ranger Rogers patrolled nearby remote locations in hopes of locating the man and hiked into the woods to a possible cell phone ping location with no success. The man was safely located some time later at a residence and transported to a local hospital for evaluation.

Town of Rathbone
Steuben County
On Nov. 10 at 6:50 p.m., Forest Ranger Anne Staples received a report of a stump and tree on fire in the Tracy Creek State Forest. Ranger Staples responded and located the fallen tree. Fire was actively smoldering in the ground and the remaining stump. She dug a handline around the fire. The cause of the unattended fire is being investigated.

burned-out left over stump in the middle of the woods
Remnants of stump and tree in Tracy Creek State Forest

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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