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For Release: Monday, February 27, 2017

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 2/22 - 2/25/17

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation 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, which 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 Conesus

Livingston County

Recovery: On Feb. 22, three Region 8 Forest Rangers helped Livingston County Sheriffs successfully recover the bodies of two missing snowmobilers. A 40-year-old man from Lakeville and a 40-year-old man from Rochester had last been seen on Feb. 10, when they went snowmobiling on Conesus Lake late that evening. The Livingston County Sheriffs began search operations on Feb. 12, but were hampered by difficult and unsafe diving conditions. The men's helmets were recovered along the lake's shoreline. The Sheriffs resumed the search on Feb. 22, when lake conditions improved. Vessels from Livingston, Monroe, and Wayne counties equipped with side scan sonar were deployed with Forest Rangers onboard. Forest Rangers provided GPS navigation and tracking to place the vessels over points of interest as indicated by the sonar. Additional support was provided by a Livonvia Fire Department vessel. Dive teams from Livingston County and New York State Police (NYSP) were then deployed and able to recover both victims and one of the snowmobiles.

Town of Ancram

Columbia County

Search: On Feb. 23 at approximately 10:20 p.m., a Taconic State Park manager called the Columbia County Dispatch Center to report a lost 35-year-old female hiker from Millerton. Dispatch called DEC Central Dispatch requesting Forest Ranger assistance. Ranger Chris DiCintio was dispatched to the search at approximately 6:02 p.m. With the assistance of a NYSP helicopter, the subject was located and coordinates were relayed to Ranger DiCintio, who went into the woods to locate the subject with support from Columbia County Sherriffs and NYS Park Police. At 7:53 p.m. the subject was located. The subject did not have any source of light and as darkness fell she became disoriented and ventured off the trail. Ranger DiCintio assisted the subject to the roadside. All crews and the subject were out of the woods by 9 p.m. The subject did not require any further medical attention.

Town of Queensbury

Warren County

Rescue: On Feb. 23 at 3:48 p.m., DEC Ray Brook dispatch received a radio transmission from a Forest Ranger concerning a 50-year-old male ice fisherman from Queensbury who fell through the ice on Harris Bay on Lake George. The fisherman did not realize the sun and warm weather were melting the ice. Forest Ranger Evan Donegon responded and assisted Queensbury EMS and Fire Department in retrieving the subject from the water. The man was assisted back to shore, where he was treated by North Queensbury EMS and transported to a nearby hospital for further medical treatment. The incident concluded by 5 p.m.

Town of Webb

Herkimer County

Search: Four subjects from Chazy went hiking on the Cascade Lake Loop Trail on the morning of Feb. 25. As they were heading in a southwesterly direction along the west side of Cascade Lake, the subjects became disoriented, took a wrong turn, and began heading west on a secondary trail. The hikers then lost the secondary trail and wandered uphill to call 911. Herkimer County 911 dispatched Webb Police Department and called DEC Ray Brook Dispatch. Ranger Lt. Scott Murphy, along with Rangers Gary Miller, Martin Candee, Robert Coscomb, and Matthew Savarie responded with the aid of four snowmobiles. Fortunately, the lost subjects wandered downhill and encountered two other hikers on the trail. Those hikers guided the subjects back to the main trail. Ranger Miller went in first followed shortly by Rangers Lt. Murphy and Candee. Ranger Miller located the four lost hikers on the main trail, and Rangers Miller and Lt. Murphy transported the subjects to the old trailhead. Ranger Coscomb then relayed the hikers from the old trailhead to their vehicle. The four hikers were soaked despite wearing rain jackets and rain pants, but did not require further medical attention.

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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