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For Release: Tuesday, December 26, 2017

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 12/18 - 12/24

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 Harpersfield
Delaware County
On December 13, DEC Forest Rangers responded to a request from the Schoharie County Sheriff's Office for assistance locating a missing Cobleskill hunter, Carl Weaver, 77. Weaver left his residence on December 10 to hunt and parked his vehicle at the intersection of Titus Lake and South Worcester Hill roads. Significant snow fell over the area from the time Weaver began to hunt until searchers began to search. For seven days, Rangers managed the search with hundreds of volunteers, police, firefighters, and emergency responders using a unified command system with Schoharie and Delaware County Sheriffs. A command post was established at the Jefferson Fire Department. On December 19, Weaver's body was recovered approximately one mile from his truck. Over the seven days of the ongoing search, an estimated 6,152 searcher hours were expended covering 2,415 acres while helicopters and drones searched 4.5 square miles. Delaware County Sheriff's Office will conduct an investigation into Weaver's death, which is expected to have been the result of natural causes.

Town of Newcomb
Essex County
Hiker Assistance:
On December 21 at 2:29 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call for assistance from a group of three hikers located at Elk Lake Lodge. One member of the group, a 23-year old New City woman had become ill during a multi-day backpacking trip in the Dix Mountain Wilderness. Rather than returning the long distance to their vehicle parked on Route 73, the group detoured to Elk Lake to call for help. Forest Rangers Jamison Martin and Nancy Ganswindt provided the group a courtesy ride back to their vehicle. The ill hiker indicated she would seek medical assistance on her own and all were cleared of the scene by 3:30 p.m.

Town of Southeast
Putnam County
Assist to Connecticut:
On December 21, DEC Forest Rangers responded to a request from the New York State Police for assistance searching for a missing Connecticut State Police K-9. The bloodhound became loose when its handler fell in the mountainous area along the state border. Two Rangers assisted with the search that led to finding the uninjured dog the morning of December 22 entangled in a fence on the Connecticut side of the state line.

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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