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For Release: Monday, August 21, 2017

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 8/14 - 8/20/17

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:

Essex County

Town of Keene

Rescue: On August 14 at approximately 2:38 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a report of an 18-year-old male stuck on a ledge approximately 50 feet above Chapel Pond. The young climber was attempting to free-climb a portion of the Shipton's Arête and became stranded high above his starting point and unable to go up or down. Forest Rangers Praczkajlo and Kostoss responded immediately and were quickly able to reach the free-climber. Forest Rangers employed the aid of a nearby licensed rock climbing guide from Alpine Endeavors of New Paltz. The guide was climbing in the area and offered his assistance helping the Rangers secure and safely lower the subject to the ground.

Warren County

Town of Lake George

Search: On August 16, a Forest Ranger received a direct call from a woman lost with her family near Berry Mill Pond in Lake George. The Ranger quickly relayed information to DEC Ray Brook Dispatch and responded to the location. Upon arrival, the Ranger located the family, who had found their own way back to the trail. The Ranger assisted the family to the trailhead without further incident.

Delaware County

Town of Walton

Enforcement: During the early morning hours of August 17, the assistant caretaker of the Bear Spring Campground gave repeated verbal warnings to a loud and unruly group of 36 people. The assistant caretaker had warned the subjects several times throughout the night. At 10:00 a.m., Forest Ranger Jason Seeley was contacted by the assistant caretaker, seeking the group to be evicted. Ranger Seeley and three additional Forest Rangers responded to the campground. At approximately 1:30 p.m., the subjects were notified of violating quiet hours the previous night and were evicted for violations of campground regulations. Six tickets were issued to each campsite permit holder for violating quiet hours and one subject was issued a ticket for unlawful possession of marijuana.

Warren County

Town of Bolton

Rescue: On August 18 at approximately 6:13 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a group of four hikers stranded on the Tongue Mountain Range in the Lake George Wild Forest. After making an incorrect turn along their route to Fifth Peak, the group ended up on the lake side of the range. Finding themselves exhausted, ill equipped for a backcountry experience, and with little water and no lights, the group called Warren County 911 for help. Forest Ranger Kabrehl contacted the hikers and determined it would be best to pick the subjects up at the lake side trailhead using a forest ranger vessel. All four hikers were located along the shore and transported back to Lake George Village.

Essex County

Town of Keene

Rescue: On August 19, Essex County 911 operator contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch with a report of a woman having a severe reaction to a bee sting. Three Forest Rangers responded, one on foot and two with NYSP Aviation, as well as an onboard paramedic. After interviewing other hikers in the area, Rangers received information that a party of six were attacked by a bee swarm and that most of the group had suffered stings. One forest ranger and a paramedic were lowered by helicopter near the family and evaluated the injuries. A 27-year-old women was exhibiting a severe allergic reaction to the bee stings and was flown by NYSP Aviation to Lake Placid Medical Center for treatment. The remainder of the family did not require advanced medical care and walked out to the trailhead with Ranger assistance.

Greene County

Town of Hunter

Rescue: On August 20, Greene County 911 center contacted DEC Central Office Dispatch to report a 52-year-old female hiker at Katterskill Falls had slipped from a standing position. The women sustained a laceration to her head and temporarily lost consciousness prior to Forest Ranger arrival. Three Forest Rangers and an Assistant Forest Ranger responded along with local fire department personnel. The woman's injuries were assessed and treated in the field. With the aid of Rangers and volunteer rescue personnel, the woman walked out of the woods to a waiting Hunter Ambulance crew on State Route 23A. The subject was transported to Albany Medical Center for further treatment.

Injured hiker led by forest rangers.

Ulster County

Town of Rochester

Search: On August 17 at approximately 7:39 p.m., DEC Central Office Dispatch was notified by Ulster County 911 about a missing 93-year-old male from Kerhonkson, NY. While Rangers were en route to the search area, the man's ATV was located on White Birch Lane in Cherrytown. Upon arrival, Forest Rangers organized search parties with the assistance of Accord Fire Department personnel. The search continued through the evening but was suspended due to darkness. The next day, a command post was established and numerous agencies joined the search effort. At approximately 4:20 p.m., the man was located by a ranger in good condition. The subject was transported to a waiting ambulance and taken to Kingston Hospital for evaluation.

Ulster County

Town of Denning

Enforcement: Over the weekend, Forest Rangers working the Peekamoose Corridor, which includes the popular Blue Hole destination, estimated nearly 1,200 people visited the area. Several tickets were issued to individuals violating various state land use regulations.

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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