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For Release: Tuesday, September 17, 2019

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 9/9/19 - 9/15/19

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 Horicon
Warren County
Equestrian Rescue:
On Sept. 10 at 12:09 p.m., Warren County 911 transferred a call to DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch from a man reporting his horse was stuck on a trail in the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Area. The horse, named Chance, had slipped on a small bridge, fell, and became trapped underneath. Forest Rangers Arthur Perryman, Benjamin Baldwin, and Charles Kabrehl responded to assist in freeing the horse. The bridge was temporarily dismantled to allow the horse to leverage itself back on its feet. Rangers walked the man and his horse out to the trailhead. The horse had minor abrasions and was taken in for veterinary care as a precaution.

Forest Rangers kneeling on a small footbridge that has a horse underneath it. Two Forest Rangers pose for a picture with the horse they saved from under a foot bridge
DEC Forest Rangers helping to free Chance from under a small foot bridge.

Town of North Elba
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Sept. 10 at 6:41 p.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a hiker at Adirondak Loj. The hiker stated she assisted a 68-year-old male hiker from Rochester with a shoulder injury who was at the Scott lean-to in the eastern High Peaks near Indian Pass. The caller found the injured hiker who had fallen on the trail and, and after helping to stabilize the injury, put him in a sleeping bag in the shelter before going to the Loj to request help. Forest Rangers James Giglinto and Kevin Burns responded and reached him at 9:35 p.m. They assessed the man's injury and began to walk him out at 9:47 p.m. Forest Rangers and the injured party arrived at the Loj at 12:36 a.m., where family members transported him to a local hospital for further care.

Town of Edinburg
Saratoga County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Sept. 11 at 9:59 p.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from New York State Police (NYSP) Troop G requesting Forest Ranger assistance with locating an 81-year-old man who had been missing in the town of Edinburg. Forest Rangers Anthony Goetke, Andrew Lewis, and Michael Thompson responded to assist NYSP, Edinburg Fire Department and EMS, Galway Fire Department, and Northville Fire Department personnel. At 12:25 a.m., Forest Ranger Goetke reported that the missing man was located by Forest Rangers and State Police on his property and transported to EMS by Edinburg Fire via ATV. Once back at the road, the man was delivered to the Greater Amsterdam Volunteer Ambulance Corps for medical evaluation. All Forest Rangers were then cleared of the scene.

Town of Harrietstown
Franklin County
On Sept. 11, in partnership with NYSP Aviation Lake Clear and North Country Life Flight staff, DEC Forest Rangers from Region 5 conducted an aviation ground school for medical students from the University of Vermont. Forest Ranger crew chiefs gave a brief overview of the longstanding backcountry rescue program in the Adirondacks. Students were then rotated through three training stations-helicopter safety, hoist protocols, and patient packaging. The training ended with students observing Life Flight staff being hoisted into NYSP helicopters by Forest Ranger crew chiefs to simulate a real rescue.

Rescue helicopter hovers with various rescue teams performing a rescut simulation in a field
Rangers, NYSP Aviation, and Life Flight staff simulate hoist rescue

Wyoming County
Town of Genesee Falls
Swift Water Rescue Training:
On Sept. 12, Region 8 and 9 Forest Rangers trained in techniques to rescue subjects trapped or injured in swift water environments. This training will be utilized when subjects are trapped as a result of recreational paddling or on large-scale flooding events that can occur throughout the state. The instructors have acquired skills from New York State Fire Training, as well as the American Canoe Association. Following shoreline instructions, Forest Rangers and four members of the State Park Police Swift Water Rescue Team Niagara Falls paddled down the Genesee River and conducted several rescue scenarios for trapped boats and people.

Forest Rangers in a river practice water rescue techniques
Forest Rangers from Western New York training for swift water rescues

Town of Long Lake
Hamilton County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Sept. 13 at 4:43 p.m., Franklin County 911 transferred a call to DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch from two lost hikers-a 63-year-old male from Erie, Penn., and a 73-year-old male from Newfield. Both had taken a boat across Long Lake to Plumley Point and hiked the Northville Placid Trail to Shattuck Clearing. The hikers walked the Pine Point Trail thinking it was a shortcut back to Long Lake. The trail ended at Cold River. The two men became disoriented and bushwhacked their way to a swamp. Through coordinates provided by Franklin County 911, Dispatch was able to approximate where the men were turned around. Forest Rangers James Waters and Robert Zurek responded to assist. Forest Rangers took a boat down Long Lake to the north end, where they used the coordinates to locate the hikers at 7:17 p.m. After hiking out of the woods, Forest Rangers transported the men by boat to their campsite. Forest Rangers returned to the boat launch and the incident concluded by 10 p.m.

Town of Horicon
Warren County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Sept. 13 at 9:01 p.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance for a 49-year-old female from Honeoye Falls. The woman was camping at Pharaoh Lake and suffered a head injury due to a fall. She had lost consciousness but regained it quickly. Forest Rangers Arthur Perryman and Charles Kabrehl responded at first light to assist the woman. At 7:45 a.m., the reporting party called to advise that the woman was stable. The Rangers were advised of this as they proceeded on the trail to Pharaoh Lake and, at 8:30 a.m., reached the woman and her companion. As a precaution, the Rangers gave the woman and her companion a ride out to the trailhead on a UTV. The woman advised she would seek medical attention on her own and the incident concluded at 11 a.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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