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For Release: Tuesday, February 21, 2017

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 2/13 - 2/18/17

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 2016, DEC Forest Rangers conducted 356 search and rescue missions, extinguished 185 wildfires that burned a total of 4,191 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 are critical to the success of their missions that 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 Long Lake

Hamilton County

Search: On Feb. 13 at 3:22 p.m. Forest Rangers were contacted directly by the companion of an overdue snowmobiler on Raquette Lake. Rangers responded in an attempt to locate the individual and found the snowmobiler unconscious on Indian Point. At 4:10 p.m. a Forest Ranger EMT and the Raquette Lake Rescue Squad responded with a rescue sled. The subject was brought out to Antlers Road to an awaiting ambulance and transported to a local hospital.

Town of Webb

Herkimer County

Recovery: On Feb. 16 at about 10:30 p.m., Forest Rangers were requested by the Webb Police Department to respond to a snowmobile accident on McCarthy Road. A snowmobile operator had failed to negotiate a turn and hit a tree. Big Moose Ambulance, Lewis County Search and Rescue Ambulance, and Lewis County Sheriffs were also involved in the response. The subject was extracted to a staging area, where he was declared deceased by the Herkimer County coroner. Forest Ranger operations concluded by 3:30 a.m.

Town of Long Lake

Hamilton County

Rescue: At 08:44 a.m. on Feb. 17, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch was contacted by Hamilton County 911 regarding a snowmobile and a rider suspected of falling through the ice on Long Lake, with a second snowmobile and rider stranded on the ice near the scene. Forest Rangers arrived within 10 minutes of the call and located the subjects approximately halfway across the channel of Long Lake. Members of the Long Lake Rescue Squad, Blue Mountain Lake Fire Department, and the Tupper Lake Dive Team also responded to assist. Hazardous ice conditions made the operation challenging for rescuers and the airboat operators. One Forest Ranger wearing ice rescue gear entered the water from the airboat to retrieve the first subject. That snowmobiler was then treated and transported to Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake. A canoe was employed to extract the other subject and bring the man back to shore.

Town of Hunter

Greene County

Rescue: On Feb. 18 at 11:45 a.m., Greene County 911 called DEC requesting assistance in Platte Cove for a climber who had fallen approximately 15 feet and had a piece of ice fall on him. Responding Rangers established Incident Command and assessed the injured subject, determining no cervical spine precautions were needed. Palenville Fire Department, Hunter Fire and Police departments, Centerville Cedar Grove Fire Department, and Greene County Paramedics also responded. The subject was assisted out under his own power and declined further medical care. All Forest Rangers were clear of the scene at 2:53 p.m.

Town of Webb

Herkimer County

Rescue: At 1:48 p.m. on Feb. 18, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch was notified by radio that Forest Rangers were responding to the Black River Wild Forest for a reported snowmobile accident involving one subject with a possible arm injury. Rangers responded with an Old Forge EMS Paramedic 2.5 miles up the trail. The subject had been traveling east on the Sand Lake Falls trail when a ski on his snowmobile caught ice on the trail, propelling him into a tree. Neither alcohol nor excessive speed were involved in the accident. At 3:13 p.m. Forest Rangers turned the subject over to EMS for transport to St. Elizabeth's Hospital for treatment of injuries to his head, sternum, arm, and pelvis.

Town of North Elba

Essex County

Rescue: At 2:55 p.m. on Feb. 18, Ray Brook Dispatch was notified by a group of hikers that a 60-year-old female cross-country skier was injured on the Marcy Dam Truck Trail, about one mile past the trail register. She was suffering from a knee injury and asking for assistance. Forest Rangers responded by snowmobile, and by 4:16 p.m., she was back at the trailhead and released to her friends who were transporting her to the Adirondack Medical Center in Lake Placid.

Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC's Hiking Safety web page and Adirondack Backcountry Information web page for more information.

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