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For Release: Tuesday, June 25, 2019

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 6/17/19 - 6/23/19

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 2018, DEC Forest Rangers conducted 346 search and rescue missions, extinguished 105 wildfires that burned a total of 845 acres, participated in 24 prescribed fires that burned and rejuvenated 610 acres, and worked on cases that resulted in 2,354 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."

Town of Greig
Lewis County
Wilderness Rescue:
On June 21 at 12:30 p.m., Forest Rangers were contacted by Lewis County 911 to respond to the Otter Creek Horse Trails in the Independence River Wild Forest after a 48-year-old female from Pulaski was thrown from her horse. Forest Rangers Lt. Joel Nowalk and Luke Evans responded to the scene and, with the help of a nearby DEC forester, located the subject. Utilizing six-wheelers, Rangers transported two EMTs from Lewis County Search and Rescue (LCSR) to the scene. After an evaluation, it was determined the rider suffered a fracture to her left arm. The subject was stabilized and packaged for transportation to a waiting LCSR Ambulance for treatment at Lewis County General Hospital. The incident concluded by 3 p.m.

Town of Almond
Allegany County
Wilderness Rescue:
On June 21 at 9:20 p.m., Forest Rangers Justin Thaine, Zachary Robitaille, and Wayne Krulish responded to a call from a lost hiker on county-owned lands. The 51-year-old hiker from Levonia reported that she was unable to hike out due to rising creek waters and darkness. Forest Rangers obtained her coordinates and the hiker was later found cold but in good health. The hiker was provided warm clothing and escorted a half-mile out of the woods where she was given a courtesy transport back to her vehicle. The incident concluded at 12:22 a.m.

Town of North Elba
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue
: On June 22 at 9:54 a.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance from a 51-year-old female hiker from Montreal, Quebec, with an ankle injury. Forest Rangers Robert Praczkajlo and Kevin Burns and Assistant Forest Ranger Jonathan Leff responded to assist the hiker. Leff located the subject near the Phelps Mountain junction on the Van Hoevenberg Trail and advised she was being helped by another hiking party. The hiker was escorted by Leff to the Marcy Dam Outpost and transported by a Forest Ranger UTV to the Adirondak Loj. The subject advised she would seek medical assistance on her own and the incident concluded at 12:30 p.m.

Town of Jackson
Washington County
Swiftwater Rescue:
On June 22 at 4:02 p.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a call reporting nine kayakers stranded on the Batten Kill River. All nine kayakers, ranging in age from late teens to early 30s, were paddling the river when the high-water levels and rapids became too much to handle and capsized their kayaks. Several kayakers were stranded on a nearby island, with some clinging to submerged trees and one subject floating downriver. Forest Rangers Logan Quinn, Charles Kabrehl, and Anthony Goetke responded with rafts and swiftwater rescue equipment. Shushan Fire Department's Swiftwater Team also arrived and helped ferry the final kayakers to shore. All paddlers were treated on scene and released, and the rescue concluded at 5:52 p.m.

Town of Berlin
Rensselaer County
Law Enforcement:
On June 22, DEC's Central Dispatch relayed information to Forest Rangers from a hiker reporting several people with ATVs on the Taconic Crest Trail. The complainant stated the grouped planned to camp in a grassy area just off the hiking trail. Forest Ranger Hannah O'Connor determined the group was camping on the summit of Berlin Mountain based on information provided by the complainant. Ranger O'Connor responded via ATV and arrived on the summit early the next day. Five ATVs, tents, and camping equipment were found illegally on the summit of the mountain. Nine tickets were issued to the group for unregistered motor vehicles, illegal use of motor vehicles on state land, and unlawful camping within 150 feet of a trail.

Town of Lyndon
Cattaraugus County
Wildland Search Training:
On June 23, Forest Rangers Robert Rogers and Wayne Krulish instructed a Basic Wildland Search Skills Course at the Lyndon Fire Department for 34 fire service personnel from numerous fire departments in Cattaraugus County. The importance of having trained volunteers to support Forest Ranger search and rescue efforts is integral to bolstering the strength of response capabilities across the state.

Town of Altona
Clinton County
Wildland Fire:
At 7:47 p.m. on June 23, Clinton County 911 contacted DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch reporting a wildland fire on Jerusalem Road in Altona. Altona, Ellenburgh Depot, West Chazy, and Mooers fire departments worked on the fire all day and requested handing over remaining suppression operations to Rangers. Ranger Thomas Gliddi responded and reported the fire perimeter to be 0.7 acre. The fire originated at a logging site in a fuel bed of logging slash, thick duff, and sawdust. Forest Rangers Gliddi and Jared Booth remained on scene until the fire was declared out.

Vast area of burned trees and grass
Aftermath of a small wildland fire in Altona

Town of Webb
Herkimer County
Wilderness Rescue:
On June 23 at 9:35 a.m., Herkimer County 911 contacted DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch reporting an injured hiker in the Black River Wild Forest at the Remsen Falls lean-to. The 59-year-old male from Brewerton had sustained a foot injury the night before and was unable to hike the six miles back to his vehicle at Nicks Lake Campground. Rangers Robert Piersma and Gary Miller responded with a town of Webb police officer and Old Forge Ambulance staff. Rangers Piersma and Miller hiked in from the Woodhull Mountain-Remsen Falls trail with a canoe and canoed down the Moose River, reaching the subject at 10:51 a.m. Rangers evacuated the injured hiker by canoe upriver back to the Woodhull Mountain-Remsen Falls trail and assisted the subject to patrol vehicles. The Rangers then drove the man out to a waiting Old Forge Ambulance by 12:33 p.m.

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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