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For Release: Monday, February 5, 2018

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 1/29 - 2/4/18

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 2017, DEC Forest Rangers conducted 346 search and rescue missions, extinguished 55 wildfires that burned a total of 191 acres, participated in 29 prescribed fires that burned and rejuvenated 564 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 Owego
Tioga County
On Feb. 1, the Tioga County Sheriff's Office requested DEC Forest Rangers to assist in locating a missing 21-year-old developmentally challenged male reported missing the night before. Forest Rangers conducted a wildland search operation while the Tioga County Sheriff's led the investigation. New York State Police Aviation searched from the air. Local volunteer responders and search and rescue teams from neighboring counties provided personnel. The individual was located about 7 p.m. in good health.

Town of Keene
Essex County
Search and Rescue:
On Feb. 3 at 12:08 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Essex County 911. The caller stated his hiking partner sustained a leg injury after falling approximately 10 feet off an icy cliff while hiking Saddleback Mountain. The subject was unable to bear weight on the injured leg. The two hikers were able to move slowly toward Basin Mountain. State Police Aviation was not available due to high winds, snow, and cloud cover. Rangers responded by foot into the wilderness, establishing a communications relay point and a base camp. The subjects were located at about 4:45 a.m. on Feb. 4, and Rangers provided shelter and food and stabilized the injury. Additional crews entered the wilderness and transported technical rope gear to lower the subject and his companion to a safer location and prepared to carry the injured subject out. Thirty-four Forest Rangers and 12 volunteers worked through the winter storm on Sunday in rugged mountainous terrain to complete the rescue. Keene Valley Volunteer Fire and EMS units and volunteer climbing guides assisted in the rescue. The subject was transferred to an ambulance and transported to a local hospital at 1 a.m. on Feb. 5.

Town of Webb
Herkimer County
On Feb. 3 at 5 p.m., Forest Rangers were notified of a snowmobile accident in Webb. A snowmobile had rolled over into a creek, and the operator had sustained chest and abdominal injuries. Rangers assessed the subject and provided wilderness first aid care. Town of Webb EMS responded and transferred the subject to Mercy Flight. The subject was airlifted to Albany Medical Center for further care.

Town of Booneville
Oneida County
On Feb. 3 at 5 p.m., a Boonville Village Police Officer pulled over a subject for speeding. During the traffic stop, the officer requested assistance. Forest Ranger Chad Richardson responded. Ranger Richardson assisted with a vehicle search, locating drugs in the subject's vehicle, and helping Boonville Police Department with the subject's arrest processing.

Towns of North Elba/Keene
Essex County
On Feb. 4 at 2:22 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a United States Army Medic regarding a 58-year-old male with an unstable lower leg injury on the Cascade/Porter trail. The subject fell, hit a tree with his leg, and heard something snap. The medic, who was on the trail that day, splinted the man's lower leg and advised Forest Rangers the subjects would begin making their way to the trailhead. Regional Forest Ranger Capt. John Streiff and Forest Ranger Peter Evans responded from the Saddleback/Basin incident command post and found the subject 0.4 miles from the trailhead. Rangers re-evaluated and re-splinted the injury and assisted the subject to the trailhead. The injured hiker stated he would seek further medical care on his own.

Forest ranger tending to a man's injuries
Forest Ranger Peter Evans tends to the man's injuries

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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