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For Release: Monday, April 16, 2018

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 4/9 - 4/16/18

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 Fort Ann
Washington County
On April 10 at 5:03 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a transferred call from Warren County 911. The caller had poor cell phone service, but stated she was lost near a campsite on Lake George. The call was then dropped. Dispatchers re-established communication with the subject and determined the caller had hiked up the western side of Buck Mountain and accidently took the trail down the eastern side. Due to lack of sunlight, the subject could not find her way back. One Forest Ranger responded and located the subject in good condition. She was then given a courtesy ride back to her vehicle.

Town of Indian Lake
Hamilton County
On April 13 at 5:30 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance in locating a 67-year-old male hiker from a seasonal residence in Olmstedville. Mr. Thomas Ullmann had not returned from a hike to OK Slip Falls by the time he had told family members he would be back. Forest Rangers responded and located tracks believed to be left by the subject. At 11:03 p.m., Forest Rangers located Mr. Ullman deceased on a ledge part way down a gorge wall. New York State Police and the Hamilton County Coroner's Office were alerted and responded to the scene. At the request of State Police, the coroner authorized Rangers to recover the subject and transport him out of the wilderness. With the temperature dropping and icy weather moving in, Rangers worked overnight utilizing high angle rope techniques to complete the recovery. Mr. Ullman was turned over to the Hamilton County coroner at 9:49 a.m. on April 14. State Police are investigating the incident.

Town of Wilmington
Essex County
On April 14 at 6:33 p.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a transferred call from a group of nine hikers whose friend had fallen down Slide One while preparing to snowboard at Whiteface Ski Center. The subject slid down the entire slide and into a waterfall. The friends made their way to the bottom of the slide and located their friend injured and unconscious, but still breathing. Forest Rangers responded with Whiteface Ski Patrol, evaluated the subject, and provided first aid. The subject was transported to the road via Whiteface Mountain tracked vehicle and transferred to Wilmington EMS ambulance for transport to the hospital for further medical treatment.

Prescribed Fire Management:
Forest Rangers conducted and assisted a number of prescribed fire activities in different areas of the state during the past week. Prescribed fires are conducted to reduce natural fuels that would be a higher risk of burning in an uncontrolled setting and to manage vegetative habitat. These fires are extensively planned and conducted with trained individuals to ensure safe operations.

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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