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For Release: Tuesday, July 10, 2018

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for July 2 - 9, 2018

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 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:

Town of Indian Lake
Hamilton County
Wildland Rescue:
On July 2 at 3:00 p.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Warren County 911 regarding a subject suffering from the high temperatures on Snowy Mountain. The subject's hiking partner was giving the subject fluids and keeping him out of the sun, but the subject became ill when he tried to drink. Lt. Harjung directed Forest Rangers to respond, as well as Indian Lake, Blue Mountain Lake EMS, and Speculator fire departments. Responders were advised by Ray Brook Dispatch of impending severe thunderstorms in the area. Upon arrival, Rangers helped the subject rehydrate and start to descend with the assistance of the responding units. The subject was brought out to the trailhead at 6:00 p.m., where he was evaluated and treated by EMS. All units were off the mountain before the storm.

Town of Keene
Essex County
Wildland Search and Rescue:
On July 2 at 7:05 p.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a group reporting one of their party was overdue. The group had summited Big Slide at noon. The overdue subject stayed behind at the summit and the group separated. A Forest Ranger responded and interviewed the group and other hikers. Several hikers reported seeing the subject near the summit at 3:00 p.m. The John's Brook caretaker hiked up Big Slide from the outpost as the Ranger began hiking in from the Garden parking lot. The caretaker located the subject at 10:37 p.m., just above the trail intersection for the Brothers. The subject had spent most of the day attempting to find the correct way down and exhausted himself.

After spending the night at John's Brook Outpost, on July 3, the outpost caretaker advised Ray Brook Dispatch that the hiker was experiencing leg cramps and stiffness and requested additional assistance. Forest Rangers evacuated the subject. He was turned over to Keene Valley EMS at 1:30 p.m. and transported to the Elizabethtown Hospital for treatment.

Town of Northampton
Fulton County
Public Safety on State Lands:
On July 4 at 3:32 p.m., Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from DEC's Northampton Campground reporting rowdy campers and vehicles entering the campground without paying while the campground was at maximum capacity. Three Rangers responded to patrol and arrested two subjects for DWI. The pair were transported by New York State Police to Mayfield Barracks for processing. Rangers continued to patrol the campground throughout the evening.

Town of North Elba
Essex County
Wildland Search:
At 10:03 p.m. on July 5, three campers called DEC Ray Brook Dispatch reporting that a tagged bear had driven them away from their camp at Feldspar. The campers called from Lake Arnold and reported leaving all of their gear behind at the camp. The subjects retrieved their belongings with help from family members and contacted DEC wildlife staffer Ben Simpson, who was busy working on a different nuisance bear complaint. DEC encourages hikers to take precautions to avoid undesirable bear encounters, including storing food in bear-proof containers and keeping a clean campsite. Visit DEC's website for additional tips on nuisance bears.

Town of Brighton
Franklin County
Wildland Search:
On July 5 at 7:00 p.m., the car of a missing vulnerable adult Bruce Waite of Bangor, NY, was found by a passerby on Slush Pond Road. State Police secured the vehicle and initiated an investigation. A coordinated wildland search began on July 6, involving Forest Rangers, State Police, NYS Corrections CERT members, volunteer search and rescue teams, DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officers, and investigators. The search is ongoing. Anyone with information concerning Mr. Waite's whereabouts should contact the State Police at (518) 897-2000.

Town of Hunter
Greene County
Wildland Rescue:
On July 6 at 4:50 p.m., DEC's Central Dispatch received a call from a concerned citizen reporting that a young man had fallen from Kaaterskill Falls. The subject was visiting the Kaaterskill Falls area with a group. He separated from the group, and disregarding warning signs hiked off trail and went down the steep slope below the viewing platform. Due to the steepness and loose debris, the subject fell and slid approximately 40 feet. He managed to get down to the bottom of the steep slope and cross the stream to the trail. Assistant Forest Ranger Leslie Green located the subject at the bottom of the stairs and began patient care. Forest Rangers and local rescuers responded. The subject sustained injuries to his upper left leg and left arm. Rangers packaged the subject in a litter and carried him out to the State Route 23A trailhead where he was turned over to Hunter EMS for transport to Columbia Memorial hospital.

Litter with injured hiker reaching roadside barrier
Litter carrying injured hiker reaches
roadside at Kaaterskill Falls

Town of North Elba
Essex County
Wildland Rescue:
On July 7 at 4:31 p.m., DEC's Ray Brook dispatch received a transferred call from Essex County 911 regarding a 32-year-old female who sustained a lower leg injury while descending Hurricane Mountain with her 4-year-old son. Five Forest Rangers and one Assistant Forest Ranger responded and located the subject approximately two miles from the Route 9N Trailhead. After locating the subject, the Rangers evaluated and splinted her injury. The Rangers then carried the subject to the trailhead. The subject was taken by Keene EMS to a local hospital for further medical care. All units were out of the woods at 9:52 p.m.

Town of Ossian
Livingston County
Wildland Search:
At 8:18 p.m. on July 8, Forest Ranger assistance was requested to locate an overdue hiker. An acquaintance reported that a man was on his second trip with a group hiking on Rattlesnake Hill Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Ranger Cordell contacted the reporting party who indicated the subject had decided to go fishing instead of hiking on nearby ponds, but did not rejoin the group at the agreed-on time that evening. The man's vehicle was located within the search area. While Forest Rangers were requesting Livingston County 911 to obtain a cell phone location for the subject's phone, Rangers learned about an ambulance request on the opposite side of the WMA for a man matching the subject's description. Forest Rangers confirmed with Allegany County 911 that the man was the subject of their search. The man was transported to a local hospital for evaluation and treatment.

Town of Alfred
Allegany County
On July 9, 10 Forest Rangers, DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officers, and several other police agencies attended funeral services for New York State Police Trooper Nicholas F. Clark who died in the line of duty.

Forest Rangers and ECO's posing for a picture

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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