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For Release: Monday, July 17, 2017

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 7/10 - 7/16/17

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 Newcomb
Essex County
At 7:57 a.m. on July 10, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received information about three overdue hikers in the Santanoni Range of the High Peaks Wilderness. Three hikers in their 30s had set out to climb three Santanoni mountains via the Express Route and Panther Brook herd paths. The subjects found themselves taking longer than expected and called home to let family members know they would not be out until 2 a.m. When the three hikers did not return home by daybreak, Forest Rangers were called in for assistance. By 8:30 a.m., three Rangers headed to the area and located the subjects at 10:18 a.m. in good health approximately a half mile up the foot trail.

City of Albany
Albany County
Prescribed Fire:
On July 10, six Forest Rangers assisted Albany Pine Bush Commission staff in completing a prescribed fire of 7.3 acres in size. Prescribed fire is a land management tool used to maintain the character of the Pine Bush forest community and improve habitat for several endangered or threatened flora and fauna species.

Town of Keene
Essex County
On July 11 at 3:51 p.m. DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call regarding a 55-year-old man who had fallen and sustained a lower leg injury on the Great Range Trail between Gothics and Saddleback mountains. Another group hiking the same trail splinted the leg and provided coordinates to Ray Brook Dispatch. Two Rangers were transported by New York State Police Aviation helicopter to the man's location. Upon arrival, one Ranger was lowered by hoist to the man's location. The Ranger treated the subject and prepared him for extrication by helicopter. The man was flown to a local hospital where he received further medical care.

Town of Keene
Essex County
On July 13 at 2:06 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance for a 52-year-old female from Oxford, Conn., with a possible ankle fracture on Cascade Mountain. The subject was 1.7 miles in on the trail, and 12 Rangers were dispatched. NYSP Aviation was contacted but unable to fly due to bad weather. When Rangers located the subject they assessed and splinted the leg injury and the subject was able to bear weight on it for part of the walk down. When the subject felt unstable again, Rangers packaged her in a backpack litter and carried her down to the trailhead. The subject was then transported to the hospital by her husband. All Rangers were clear by 7:11 p.m.

Town of North Alba
Essex County
On July 14 at 6:17 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Essex County 911 and patched them through to four hikers in the McKenzie Pond Wilderness. The four had decided to go on an adventure and bushwhack through the wilderness on a short hike with no gear, map, or compass. Coordinates put them on the side of Hennessy Mountain, due north of Route 86 and Old Military Road. With severe weather coming in, the subjects could not find their way back. Forest Rangers were dispatched to the location of the group's car on Route 86 and, under heavy rain, started a land search to the hikers last known location. At 8:14 p.m., Forest Rangers found the individuals in good health; and by 9:05 p.m., the subjects were back at their vehicles.

Town of Hunter
Greene County
On July 16 at approximately 5:50 p.m., DEC Central Dispatch notified Rangers about a group of eight lost hikers who intended to hike to Palenville Overlook from the South Beach parking lot. The lost family had been hiking for hours and was unable to find their way back to their vehicle. Lt. David Pachan was at the North/South Lake Ranger headquarters at the time of the call and responded to the search. Lt. Pachan was in cell phone contact with the lost hikers and secured their coordinates. Thirsty, tired, and relieved to get some help, the group was located on the red trail and escorted back to their vehicle.

Town of Colchester
County of Delaware
On July 16 at 5:07 p.m., DEC Central Dispatch took a call transferred from DEC Raybrook Dispatch for a lost hiker. The male hiker stated that he was low on water and had been lost for three hours. The man became disoriented while hiking the Finger Lakes Trail on Campbell Mountain. The hiker was directed to contact 911 to secure coordinates. Forest Rangers received this information and subsequently located the hiker in good condition. The incident was assisted by members of the Downsville Fire Department.

Town of Keene
Essex County
On July 16 at 3:32 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Essex County 911 with the caller stating that an 18-year-old male fell while climbing Cascade Slide near the Cascade Falls day use area in Keene. The caller reported the subject was conscious and in extreme pain. Six Rangers responded and located the subject. The first Ranger on scene assessed the subject and requested Keene EMS and Keene Valley Fire Department. The young man is believed to have fallen more than 100 feet from a rock while climbing. He landed near the base of the falls. The subject was stabilized, packaged, and transported to a waiting ambulance. The man is believed to have sustained multiple fractures, as well as internal injuries. The ambulance took the subject to Elizabethtown Hospital, where he was then transported by Life Flight to the medical center in Burlington, Vermont, for 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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