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For Release: Tuesday, March 3, 2020

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions from February 24 to March 1, 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."

Town of Camillus
Onondaga County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Feb. 24 at 4:50 p.m., the Camillus Police Department contacted Forest Ranger Mike Chappell regarding a wildland search for a 35-year-old man who reportedly left a supervised facility that borders the Camillus Forest Unique Area. Forest Ranger Chappell responded and coordinated with the Camillus Police Department and Onondaga County Sheriff's Deputies to search the area for the missing man. While Ranger Chappell searched one of the hiking areas in the forest, the Sheriff dispatched a helicopter to the search location. At 6:12 p.m., Ranger Chappell located the man and turned him over to WAVES ambulance personnel for evaluation.

Town of Shandaken
Ulster County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Feb. 28 at 3 p.m., a 39-year-old man from Brooklyn left Woodland Valley Campground and headed to Giant Ledge when he decided to stay the night because it was getting dark. At 6 a.m. the next morning, a hiker exited his tent to watch the sunrise when he noticed the man, who was extremely cold and had no feeling in his hands or feet. The hiker and his hiking partner put the man in their tent and covered him with their down sleeping bag before calling 911. Ulster County 911 dispatched the Big Indian Fire Department and Shandaken paramedics to the scene. The Fire Department requested Forest Ranger assistance and Ranger Erik Stratton arrived on scene at approximately 9 a.m., hiking in with six firefighters. Forest Ranger Stratton continued to warm the man while Forest Ranger Richard Franke, Jr. made his way with an additional firefighter and a UTV from the Claryville Fire Department. At approximately 11 a.m., the man warmed up enough to walk to the awaiting UTV, which transported him to an ambulance. EMS evaluated the man at the scene, but he refused further medical treatment and was released.

Town of Tuxedo
Orange County
On Feb. 28 at 12 p.m., Orange County 911 contacted DEC's Central Dispatch requesting Forest Ranger assistance to a wildfire in the town of Tuxedo. The fire started along the Thruway, bordering Harriman State Park. Several local fire departments and New York State Parks personnel also responded. Erratic winds spread the fire to nine acres before it was contained.

Town of Long Lake
Hamilton County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Feb. 29 at 9:55 a.m., Hamilton County 911 contacted DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch requesting assistance for a 56-year-old woman from Penfield who had been in a snowmobile accident on Brown Tract Road at the Long Lake Inlet line. Hamilton County obtained information about the accident from a Spot Locator Beacon Activation and passed it on to Forest Ranger Gary Miller. Ranger Miller administered first aid and packaged up the woman for transport by sled to the Raquette Lake Highway Garage where she was transferred to Inlet Ambulance for transport to an area hospital for treatment. The incident concluded at 11 a.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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