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For Release: Tuesday, February 4, 2020

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions from January 27 to February 2, 2020

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 2019, DEC Forest Rangers conducted 337 search and rescue missions, extinguished 74 wildfires that burned a total of 212 acres, participated in 29 prescribed fires that burned and rejuvenated 645 acres, and worked on cases that resulted in 2,507 tickets or arrests.

"DEC celebrates our 50th anniversary this year, but our Forest Rangers have been on the front lines for even longer, protecting New York's wildlife, natural resources, residents, and visitors for more than a century," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "The state's brave Forest Rangers have a vast knowledge of first aid, land navigation, and technical rescue techniques that are critical to the success of their missions in remote wilderness areas, rugged mountainous peaks, white-water rivers, frozen lakes, and forested areas statewide. We are proud of the work our Forest Rangers perform and look forward to another 50 years and beyond of highly trained service."

Green Lake
Greene County
Flat Ice Rescue Training:
On Jan. 27, Forest Rangers from Region 4 (Zone A) simulated flat ice and cold-water rescues at Green Lake. Forest Rangers Rob Dawson and Jeff Breigle directed the training exercise. Forest Rangers rehearsed ice rescue techniques to simulate saving the life of a struggling person who has fallen into icy cold waters. Participants used cold-water rescue suits, throw bags, ice picks, and reach poles to practice this extremely important skill. For more information about being safe on the ice, go to DEC's Ice Fishing webpage.

Forest Rangers in a frozen lake practicing rescue techniques
Forest Rangers take part in annual flat ice and cold-water rescue training

Town of Webb
Herkimer County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Jan. 30 at 12:41 p.m., the town of Webb Police Chief contacted DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch reporting a snowmobile accident at the intersection of Stillwater and Big Moose Road in the Stillwater Reservoir area. A 48-year-old male from Cross Junction, Virginia, complained of injuries to his lower extremities. Forest Ranger Brandon Poulton arrived at the scene and assisted Lewis County Search and Rescue with packaging the snowmobiler. The man was carried to a waiting vehicle, which transported him to a helicopter at Stillwater Headquarters. The snowmobiler was flown to a hospital in Syracuse for treatment. The incident concluded at 2:20 p.m.

Town of Camillus
Onondaga County
Wilderness Rescue:
While on patrol on Jan. 31 at 3:15 p.m., Forest Ranger Mike Chappell overheard a radio call for assistance with a wildland search. A 35-year-old male from Camillus had reportedly left a supervised facility that borders the Camillus Forest Unique Area and could not be found. Forest Ranger Chappell responded, and once on scene, coordinated with the Camillus Police Department and Onondaga County Sheriff's Deputies to search the area for the missing man. At 3:50 p.m., Forest Ranger Chet Lunt responded, along with the Sheriff's Air-1 helicopter. As Ranger Chappell searched one of the hiking trails in the Camillus Forest, deputies with Air-1 reported they had located the man in a field in the state unique area. Forest Ranger Chappell responded to that location along with deputies and confirmed it was the missing man. They walked the subject out of the woods and turned him over to WAVES ambulance personnel for evaluation.

Town of North Elba
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Feb. 1 at 10:24 a.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance for a 26-year-old female from Hagaman with a possible right leg fracture near the summit of Scarface Mountain. Six Forest Rangers took snowmobiles in to Scarface as far as possible and then hiked the rest of the way before reaching the injured hiker at 12 p.m., just below the summit. The Rangers evaluated the hiker and packaged her for carry-out down the trail. The Rangers reached the snowmobiles at 1:30 p.m. and transported the woman back to the trailhead. She declined medical transport and advised she would be transported via personal vehicle to Saranac Lake for treatment. The incident concluded at 2:10 p.m.

Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC's Hike Smart NY and Adirondack Backcountry Information webpage for more information.

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