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For Release: Monday, July 23, 2018

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 7/16 - 7/22/18

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 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 North Elba
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
On July 17 at 7:22 a.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a request to assist a 60-year-old Binghamton woman in medical distress at a camping area one mile above Marcy Dam. When the Marcy Dam Caretaker arrived at the subject's location, the woman was alert but unresponsive to questions. At 8:35 a.m., Ranger Kevin Burns and a backcountry medic were inserted at Marcy Dam by New York State Police helicopter and reached the woman within 15 minutes. Additional Rangers were inserted to safely carry the woman to Marcy Dam for extraction by helicopter. By 10:30 a.m., the subject was in the helicopter and transported to Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake for treatment.

Town of Black Brook
Clinton County
Wildland Search:
At 7:02 p.m. on July 18, Ray Brook Dispatch received a call reporting two overdue hikers separated from their group of five while hiking the Loop Trail around Taylor Pond. A 30-year-old man and 9-year-old girl from South Carolina fell behind while hiking. As the day got late, the caller felt concerned about the well-being of the inexperienced hikers once they lost radio contact at the far end of the lake. Forest Rangers David Russell and Peter Evans were dispatched to the scene with a motorboat and an ATV. By 9 p.m., the two hikers were out of the woods and in good condition at their camp at the Taylor Pond Campground.

Town of Hunter
Greene County
Wilderness Rescue:
On July 19, a 28-year-old Holbrook woman fell on the Kaaterskill Falls Trail and was unable to walk back to her car. Three Forest Rangers assisted the Haines Falls Fire Department, Tannersville Rescue, Catskill Ambulance, and Greene County Paramedics treat and carry the woman to an ambulance. The injury required hospital treatment.

Town of Lake George
Warren County
Wildland Search:
At 6 p.m. on July 19, a 42-year-old Hicksville man and 43-year-old Massapequa woman reported to 911 they were disoriented while hiking in the Shelving Rock Area along the eastern shore of Lake George. One Forest Ranger teamed up with a Lake George Park Commission Patrol Boat and located the pair along the shoreline. With a few simple directions, the two were able to walk back to their vehicle. Once at their car at 8:45 p.m., the pair called the Ranger to confirm they were safe and on their way home.

Town of Elizabethtown
Essex County
Wildland Search:
At 9:30 p.m. on July 20, a 31-year-old Elizabethtown woman reported to 911 that she and her three children, ages 13, 9, and 5, were lost on Blueberry Mountain. A Forest Ranger responded to her cell phone coordinate location and found the group by 10:20 p.m. Within 20 minutes, the Ranger had the family out of the woods with no need for medical care.

Town of Windham
Greene County
Wilderness Rescue:
On July 21, Greene County 911 was notified that a 32-year-old Earlton woman hit her head on the beam inside the Elm Ridge Lean-to and was semi-conscious. Local first responders and three Forest Rangers responded to the lean-to and conducted a rescue carry to a Med-Flight helicopter that then transported her to an Albany hospital.

Town of Woodstock
Ulster County
Ranger Outreach:
On Saturday July 21, Forest Rangers Kevin Slade and Russell Martin visited first-time campers at the Kenneth L. Wilson Campground. The Rangers patrolled the campground loops to recruit campers to attend their "Meet A Ranger" program. The young campers received hands-on experience with Ranger tools used when responding to woodland search and rescues and other missions. Campers treated a simulated ankle injury and packaged the patient for a short carry in a stokes basket. Campers then raised Ranger Slade using a mechanical advantage system using rope equipment. Young campers also enjoyed using a portable pump to extinguish a make-believe fire.

Girl helping ranger with Meet a Ranger program
Rangers and Campers helping treat a girl in a training exercise

Forest Rangers Kevin Slade and Russell Martin taught first-time campers at Kenneth L. Wilson Campground the many jobs of a Forest Ranger

Town of Harrietstown
Franklin County
Water Rescue:
At 11:40 a.m. on July 22, a man and woman from Schenectady reported to 911 that they were stranded by severe winds near Hungry Bay on Middle Saranac Lake and unable to safely return to South Inlet. As Forest Ranger Peter Evans and Scott Sabo searched for the couple by motorboat, a second pair of canoers from Philadelphia called 911 reporting that they, too, were stranded in the vicinity. The Rangers found both couples and transported all safely to South Inlet and then retrieved their gear and boats. By 4 p.m., the canoers were safely at their vehicles with their boats and equipment.

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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