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For Release: Monday, November 19, 2018

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 11/11 - 11/18/18

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 Ohio
Herkimer County
On Nov. 11, Forest Rangers Gregory Hoag and Robert Coscomb apprehended four subjects at an illegal camp in the West Canada Wilderness. The four subjects found at Camp Get A Way were in violation of several parts of the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) and of New York Codes, Rules and Regulations. The Rangers issued 20 tickets for violations, including having an illegal snowmobile and chainsaw in a wilderness area, damaging state land and cutting trees, storage of personal property, depositing litter, as well as several violations for illegal camping. The subjects have been ordered to remove the camp from the wilderness area by Dec.1, and are set to appear in court for these charges on Jan. 15.

Town of Parishville
St. Lawrence County
On Nov. 13, St. Lawrence County 911 called DEC's Central Dispatch to report two overdue hunters, both in their mid 60s. The men were due back from hunting at approximately 3 p.m. the day prior. When they did not show up, a family member checked a few known hunting locations without success. Lt. Terry sent four Rangers to search for the men. They joined St. Lawrence County Sheriff's, who were on scene, and began conducting Type I searches. At approximately 1:30 a.m., the lost subjects responded to Rangers' signal shots by firing shots back. Rangers were sent into the woods after taking a compass bearing on the signal shots and located the missing hunters at approximately 2:45 a.m. Both men were cold and wet but in good health, and were returned to their vehicle by 3:30 a.m. All search personnel involved cleared the scene by 4 a.m.

Town of Charlotte
Chautauqua County
On Nov. 17, Chautauqua County 911 contacted Forest Ranger Zachary Robitaille to report two lost teenage hunters in Boutwell State Forest. The pair became disoriented and lost their bearings. Their cell phone battery died, but not before 911 obtained a location by pinging their phone. Using that location, three Forest Rangers responded and located the hunters in less than an hour. Both hunters were returned safely to their vehicles without incident.

Town of New Scotland
Albany County
Forest Ranger Lt. David Pachan led Cub Scout group Pack #23 out of Delmar on a hike through Five Rivers Environmental Education Center. During the hike the group talked about plant and tree identification and reviewed "Leave No Trace" principles. The hike ended with the scouts having a great time playing a Leave No Trace-themed game, Ok-No Way, with the Lieutenant.

Kids thanking Forest Ranger
Cub Scout Pack #23 thanking
Lt. Pachan after their hike

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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