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For Release: Monday, March 5, 2018

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 2/26 - 3/4/18

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 New Scotland
Albany County
Wildland Search:
Twenty-one DEC Forest Rangers assisted New York State Park Police to look for a 71-year-old Guilderland man throughout Thacher Park during the week of Feb. 26 without success. Field searching began Feb. 22, and concluded on March 1, as a Nor'easter dumped nearly two feet of snow on the park. By March 2, six state agencies, including 40 members of Department of Correctional and Community Services (DOCCS) Corrections Emergency Response Team (CERT), Albany County Sheriff's Department, eight Albany County fire departments, and 12 volunteer search and rescue teams had contributed 4,487 work-hours to the search. Search operations included 2,442 acres of intensive searching, 502 acres of extensive searching, 56.7 miles of trails, 355 acres of drone searching, and 4.5 square miles of State Police helicopter searching. No trace of the missing man was found. The search will transition to a limited-continuous search with additional field searching to occur once the snow melts.

Town of Harrietstown
Franklin County
Wilderness Rescue:
On March 1, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch was notified by Franklin County 911 of an injured 71-year-old Duxbury, MA, man who had fallen on Ampersand Mountain. The hiker reported that he was disoriented from head and shoulder injuries and could not find the trail. Nine Forest Rangers were assigned to the rescue and found him within two hours of his call. A first aid assessment determined he needed further medical care. Rangers initiated a carry-out to a spot where the injured man could be hoisted by a State Police helicopter. Within four hours of his call, the hiker was at Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake.

Town of Horicon
Warren County
Search for Snowmobiler:
On March 3, Forest Ranger Charles Kabrehl was flagged down by a family who stated that a 73-year-old Brant Lake man had not returned from an expected short snowmobile ride. Kabrehl followed the snowmobile tracks, located the snowmobile, and found the man. His snowmobile had become stuck after he went off the trail, so he had walked back to his house to get another snowmobile to pull the stuck sled out. He was in good health and no further assistance was needed.

Town of Arietta
Hamilton County
Snowmobile Accident Rescue:
On March 4, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch was notified by Fulton County 911 of a snowmobile accident on Piseco Road. Two Forest Rangers were on snowmobiles within a mile of the accident location and found the accident on the Powley Road Snowmobile Trail. Rangers assisted Lake Pleasant EMS with the rescue and transport of the 33-year-old village of Wyoming man who required hospital treatment. The accident scene indicated the man was traveling too fast to make a turn on the trail and subsequently crashed into a tree.

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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