Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

For Release: Monday, September 25, 2017

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 9/18 - 9/24/17

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 Westport
On Sept. 19 at 2:42 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a transferred call from Essex County 911 requesting assistance for a woman who fell while descending Split Rock Trail. The woman sustained head and shoulder injuries due the fall. Two Rangers responded and evaluated and treated the subject. After receiving first aid, the subject was able to walk out to a waiting ambulance. The woman was transported to a local hospital for further medical evaluation.

Schoharie County
Town of Conesville
Law Enforcement:
On Sept. 21 at 11:48 a.m., the Schoharie County Sheriff's Office contacted Ranger Melissa Milano to advise that a hunter had discovered a small marijuana patch in a swamp on South Mountain State Forest in the town of Conesville. Ranger Milano, Sheriff's Deputies, and local police officers met the hunter and proceeded to the grow site. A total of three plots of mature plants were discovered. The plants were removed and transported by Ranger Milano to the Schoharie Sheriff's evidence lockup in Middleburgh at 7:40 p.m.

Essex County
Town of St. Armand
On Sept. 22 at 8:13 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance for three subjects in their early twenties from Saranac Lake who had become disoriented from tubing down the Saranac River. The subjects had run out of daylight and decided to try to walk off trail from the river. The tubers were barefoot, encountered a swamp, and could go no further. Under Lt. Julie Harjung's authority, Ranger Scott van Laer was dispatched and arrived on scene at 8:50 p.m. He located the subjects at 9:28 p.m., and assisted them back to the shoreline where they met a waiting rescue boat from Saranac Lake Fire Department.

Hamilton County
Town of Inlet
On Sept. 23 at 12:02 p.m., the Herkimer County 911 Center contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch regarding a 74-year-old female who fell while hiking Rocky Mountain. The woman was half way up the trail and requested assistance. Under Lt. Brian Dubay's authority, two Rangers were dispatched and arrived on scene at 12:15 p.m. By 12:55 p.m., local EMS reached the woman and administered first aid. They packaged the injured woman for a carry out to the trailhead to a waiting ambulance. The woman was transported to Utica Hospital for further medical treatment.

Greene County
Town of Hunter
On Sept. 23, during a site visit to Kaaterskill Falls, Assistant Forest Ranger Rob McDermott witnessed a man off the designated trail lose his footing as he walked down the steep slope surrounding the middle pool area. The man tumbled down the slope approximately 30 feet, where he slid head first into a large rock. McDermott immediately responded to the injured subject to begin patient care and notified Ranger Robert Dawson of the incident. Dawson notified Lt. William Giraud of incident and requested two additional Rangers. Dawson provided updates to Greene County 911 and informed responding rescue units that the patient was able to walk out. Dawson met McDermott at the stairs to assist with the 0.5-mile walk out, and Haines Falls Volunteer Fire Department personnel met the group near the trailhead. The man was evaluated by Hunter Ambulance personnel and a Greene County paramedic at the Route 23A trailhead, where he refused further medical care. He left the scene with family members.

Greene County
Town of Catskill
On Sept. 23, a married couple were hiking on the Escarpment Trail back to their vehicle at the North Lake parking area in North-South Lake Campground when the husband stopped on the trail near a cliff edge to wait for his wife to rejoin him. As the woman hiked toward him, she saw him lose his balance and fall backwards off the cliff. The man fell approximately 10 feet landing on his head and back. Greene County 911 Center notified responding units. Rangers coordinated with Haines Falls VFD personnel and a Green County paramedic to organize a response. The injured man was located a quarter-mile in on the Escarpment Trail. He was then packaged in a litter and carried out to an awaiting medical transport helicopter at the North Lake trailhead and flown to Albany Medical Center Hospital for further medical care.

Essex County
Town of Keene
At 2:40 pm on Sept. 23, Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Essex County 911 reporting a 59-year-old male who had fallen while hiking Snowy Mountain along the Deer Brook Trail in the High Peaks Wilderness. A second call from 911 Dispatch reported a severe head laceration. Forest Rangers James Giglinto, Robbi Mecus, and Scott van Laer were dispatched to the scene. Rangers evaluated the injured hiker, and with assistance from Keene and Keene Valley Ambulance Squads, used low-angle rescue techniques to carry the subject out over the steep and rugged terrain. Advanced life support and stabilization to the spine was administered in the field by Forest Ranger Giglinto and Volunteer EMTs. At 5:05 p.m., the injured hiker was returned to the trailhead and turned over to Keene Valley Ambulance Squad for further medical attention.

Essex County
Town of Newcomb
At 8 p.m. on Sept. 24, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK), which had received an emergency alert from a spot beacon carried by one of their guides. A secondary call from the husband of one of the group members verified an injury in the ADK-guided group trip to the Santanoni Range. A misplaced step on the rough terrain while descending from Times Square caused a 54-year-old female hiker to break her ankle. Coordinates from the spot locator beacon placed the group just above Bradley Pond at 3,100 feet in elevation, deep in the backcountry of the High Peaks Wilderness. The group had previously spent the night at the Bradley Pond lean-to and were prepared to spend a second night before returning to Lake Placid. Forest Rangers Benjamin Baldwin and Jacob Deslauriers were dispatched to the scene in preparation for spending the night with the patient. The guide returned to the lean-to and retrieved sleeping bags and warm liquids for the injured hiker while others in the group stabilized the injury and got the hiker comfortable. Upon the arrival of Forest Rangers, they found the patient comfortable and started a small fire to keep the party warm for the cool overnight temperatures. At 6:30 a.m., New York State Police Aviation was contacted to pick up the injured hiker. At 9:15 a.m., the patient was airlifted to Adirondack Medical Center for further medical treatment.

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

  • Contact for this Page
  • Press Office - Benning DeLaMater
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-1016
    email us
  • This Page Covers
  • Page applies to all NYS regions