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For Release: Monday, March 13, 2017

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 3/8 - 3/11/17

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 is 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 North Elba
Essex County
On March 8 at 2:14 p.m., DEC Dispatch received a call from a 38-year-old female from Wilmington advising she was turned around and in a whiteout snowstorm near the summit of Mt. Marshall. The Lake Colden caretaker was dispatched to look for the subject. At 5:47 p.m., the caretaker located the subject and escorted her to the Lake Colden Cabin. The incident concluded at 7 p.m.

Town of Southeast
Putnam County
Prescribed Fire:
The prescribed fire at the Bog Brook Unique Area on March 9 is part of a multi-faceted approach to target invasive species, such as phragmites, that make the habitat less suitable for endangered species. The fire successfully removed nearly 70 percent of the dead standing phragmites biomass in the bog, allowing sunlight to reach the bog floor and encouraging native species in the seed bank to sprout and grow. This will enhance and provide a more suitable habitat for endangered species. The interagency fire crew was led by DEC Forest Rangers, DEC Wildlife and Lands & Forests staff, and representatives from the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission.

DEC crews appliyn a prescribed fire
DEC crews apply a prescribed fire in Bog Brook Unique Area

Town of North Elba
County of Essex
On March 10 at 12:29 p.m., a Forest Ranger on patrol found a 29-year-old male from Ballston Spa with an ankle injury near the Wright Peak junction on Algonquin Mountain. The subject advised he was working his way down and needed assistance. Two additional Rangers were dispatched to Algonquin Peak and met the subject at the old Algonquin Trail. He was escorted out with assistance to the Adirondak Loj parking area. He stated he would seek medical attention on his own at a local hospital, and the incident concluded at 4:56 p.m.

Town of Willmington
Essex County
On March 10 at 12:15 p.m., DEC Dispatch received notification of a 31-year-old male from Cohoes with a possible fractured femur near the summit of Whiteface Mountain. Three Rangers were dispatched to assist the subject. He was packaged into a litter and towed by snowmobile down the Whiteface Mountain Memorial Highway. The subject was then transferred to an ambulance at 2:38 p.m. and taken to AMC Saranac Lake. The incident concluded by 3 p.m. The Rangers were assisted by the Wilmington Fire Department, Wilmington Ambulance, and Lake Placid Ambulance.

Rangers transporting injured Hiker
Forest Rangers transport an injured hiker off Whiteface Mountain

Town of Wawarsing
Ulster County
On March 11 at 7:08 p.m., DEC Dispatch received a call reporting a man lost in Minnewaska State Park near Sam's Point. Three Rangers responded to the search due to the extreme wind chill hazard, the subject's lack of cold weather gear, and the expected length of response time. Forest Rangers coordinated with New York State Parks staff to organize the response. Rangers made contact with the subject at 10:30 p.m., providing basic first aid to warm the subject and walking him out under his own power. He was released to family members and declined further medical care.

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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