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For Release: Tuesday, January 22, 2019

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 1/14 - 1/21/19

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 Hunter
Greene County
On Jan. 14 at 5:10 p.m., Forest Rangers were requested by Greene County 911 to help a 66-year-old male from Hudson who had slipped on ice and fallen while hiking at Kaaterskill Falls, injuring his hip. The hiker was wearing sneakers at the time with no traction control devices. He attempted to crawl out the half-mile trail on his own when another hiker saw him and called 911. The Palenville, Tannersville, Centerville, Cedar Grove fire departments, Ulster County Fire, Hunter Police Department, Hunter Ambulance, Greene County Paramedics, the Twin Clove Rescue Team, five Forest Rangers, and two DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECO) responded to the scene. The patient was hypo-wrapped and packaged in a rescue basket prior to the Rangers' arrival. Ranger Dawson assisted with the carryout to an ambulance staged at the trailhead on Route 23A. The additional Rangers arrived on scene just as the patient got to the road. The hiker was taken to Kingston hospital.

Town of Hunter
Greene County
Flat Ice Rescue Training:
On Jan. 14, Region 4 Forest Rangers conducted a flat ice rescue training event at Green Lake in Greene County. The training involved executing ice rescue techniques to save the life of a struggling person that had fallen into icy cold waters. Techniques practiced included: throwing a rope bag to a victim; securing the victim with a reach pole; and rescuing an unresponsive victim. The skills required to conduct difficult rescues using specialized equipment and suits when someone has fallen through ice need to be practiced annually to remain proficient.

Forest Rangers condutcing flat ice rescue training

Forest Rangers condutcing flat ice rescue training

Forest Rangers condutcing flat ice rescue training

Town of Hunter
Greene County
On Jan. 18, Greene County 911 requested Forest Ranger assistance in locating two lost hikers on the Mink Hollow Trail in Indian Head Wild Forest. The two hikers from Long Island went on a day hike up Sugarloaf Mountain from the Roaring Kill Trailhead. The hike took longer than expected due to icy conditions on the trail. As the pair hiked back to the trailhead on the Mink Hollow trail, they ran out of daylight and their flashlight broke, leaving the hikers stranded in the darkness. They called Greene 911 and Forest Rangers Dawson and Nally responded, locating them about 1.8 miles up the Mink Hollow trail. The hikers were walked out to their vehicle by midnight.

Winter Storm Harper
Emergency Response:
In response to Winter Storm Harper this past weekend, Forest Rangers deployed a total of 26 snowmobiles to eight staging areas across the state and along major roadways, including the NYS Thruway, the Northway, I-88, I-81 and Rt. 17. Forest Rangers also had staff at the State Office of Emergency Management (OEM) operations center in Albany assisting with the coordination of resources for the search and rescue emergency service function. Staff also responded to several of the State Regional Operations Centers to help coordinate with local governments. In addition to the Forest Rangers, Environmental Conservation Police Officers, Emergency Management staff, and Executive staff, including Commissioner Seggos, were deployed to assist with storm operations.

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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