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For Release: Tuesday, December 11, 2018

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 12/3 - 12/10/18

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
At 2:44 p.m. on Dec. 10, DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a transferred call from Essex County 911 reporting a lost 38-year-old male hiker on snowshoes from Ottawa, Canada, near the summit of Algonquin Mountain. Initially, the hiker lost the trail and could not find it due to high winds above treeline. The hiker was unable to follow dispatcher instructions to use his compass and get back on the trail. Due to the possibility of hypothermia and with the hiker experiencing severe leg cramps, four Forest Rangers responded. As daylight was fading, the hiker decided to shelter in place in a bivy and wait for the Rangers. Two Rangers set out on snowmobiles from the Adirondak Loj at 4:40 p.m., but were unable to continue past Macintyre Brook due to open water and poor snow conditions. Continuing on foot, they reached the hiker at 8:47 p.m. at the coordinates provided by 911. Rangers assisted the hiker with warm weather gear, food, and liquids before starting to descend the trail. Additional Rangers were staged along the trail to assist if needed. By 12:16 a.m., Rangers and the hiker reached the Adirondak Loj. Declining further medical care, the hiker drove himself to his hotel nearby.

a forest ranger gives food to a hiker that had been lost
Forest Ranger Praczkajlo re-energizes a lost hiker with some food

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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