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For Release: Monday, April 2, 2018

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 3/26 - 4/1/18

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation 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's 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 are 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:

Forest Ranger Awards: On March 29, DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos hosted the Division of Forest Protection awards in Albany at the Empire State Plaza. Presented every three years, the awards ceremony recognizes the courageous acts and outstanding service of this state law enforcement branch tasked with wilderness search and rescue missions, forest fire suppression, state land patrols, and backcountry public education efforts. This year's awards were presented to 40 Forest Rangers for actions that include: Rescuing a couple stranded in blizzard conditions on Algonquin Mountain for three days; Saving the life of a man caught in a brush fire; Saving the life of a man severely injured in a motorcycle accident; Saving a woman stranded in a kayak in dangerous rapids; and saving two unresponsive, capsized canoeists from frigid water.

A New York State Trooper was also honored at the event for his efforts working with Forest Rangers in the Adirondacks. For more information, visit DEC's webpage.

Basil Seggos with DEC Staff and Award Recipients
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos along with DEC staff and award recipients

Town of Corning
Steuben County
Wildland Fire:
On March 26 at approximately 4 p.m., two Forest Rangers responded along with multiple fire department personnel from Steuben, Schuyler and Chemung counties to a report of a wildland fire on private property. The fire had burned over 13 acres and was contained by the multi-agency crew by the next day. Forest Rangers determined the blaze had been caused by a downed power line. No structural damage or injuries were reported.

Town of Truxton
Cortland County
On March 31 at approximately 6:30 p.m., Ranger Chet Lunt was dispatched to Spruce Pond in Morgan Hill State Forest to aid a couple from Cortland who had become disoriented while on a hike at Tinkers Falls. Ranger Lunt spoke with the subjects via cell phone and advised them to stay in their location. Ranger Lunt located the pair and safely returned them to their vehicle by 7:30 p.m.

Town of Duane
Franklin County
ATV Detail:
On March 31, Forest Rangers worked with New York State Police, DEC's Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) and NYS Park Police on an ATV detail on trails on state lands. Rangers assisted with checking ATV's for valid registrations and insurance, as well as performing standard field sobriety tests. Rangers took one subject into custody for driving while intoxicated.

Town of Beekman
Dutchess County
On April 1 at 9:15 p.m. Dutchess County 911 forwarded a call from 47-year-old lost hiker and his 10-year-old daughter who were hiking on the Appalachian Trail. Two Forest Rangers responded and the two subjects were located approximately 350 feet off the trail. They were returned to their vehicle at 12:46 a.m.

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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