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For Release: Monday, December 3, 2018

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 11/26 - 12/2/18

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 Wilmington
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Nov. 29, two Forest Rangers used snowmobiles and snowshoes to locate a 29-year-old Toronto woman stranded on Whiteface Mountain and in need of assistance. Within an hour of arriving at the trailhead, Rangers found the woman, provided basic first aid to ward off hypothermia, and transported her off the mountain. The hiker required no further medical treatment.

Town of Gates
Monroe County
Wildland Search, Recovery:
On Nov. 30, the Monroe County Fire Bureau requested Forest Ranger assistance to help locate a 57-year-old Rochester man last seen on Nov. 4. The man was presumed to be deceased in the woodlands near his residence. Five Forest Rangers assisted Gates Police Department personnel on Dec. 2, with search management, including employing an unmanned aerial vehicle (drone) for reconnaissance and search documentation. By midday, one of the local search teams located the man's body in the primary search area. Further investigation will be conducted by Gates Police and Monroe County Coroner.

Town of Long Lake
Hamilton County
Wilderness Recovery:
On Dec. 1, three DEC Forest Rangers assisted Long Lake Rescue Squad recover a 51-year-old Ontario, Canada man who had cardiac arrest on the trail to Owl's Head Mountain. Members of the man's group performed CPR but the man was deceased when Rangers and rescue personnel arrived at the scene. State Police and the Hamilton County Coroner will conduct a further investigation.

Town of Dryden
Tompkins County
Wildland Search:
On Dec. 1, a cross-country skier reported to Tompkins County 911 that she had become separated from her two skiing companions on Hammond Hill State Forest. The pair had not returned to their vehicle when she did. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded to the Dryden Fire Station to assist the Fire Chief, and State Police launch a search to locate the women. State Police, State Park Police, Tompkins County Sheriff's Deputies, and firefighters from Dryden, Moravia, Trumansburg, and Enfield all participated in search for the 43- and 56-year-old Ithaca women. Shortly after midnight on Dec. 2, the women were found together, sheltered under a tree. The pair was evaluated by local emergency medical technicians and transported by all-terrain vehicle to a waiting ambulance. The two women reported that they became disoriented while skiing and were unable to find their way back to their vehicle.

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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