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For Release: Wednesday, June 17, 2020

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Recent Forest Ranger Actions

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 across New York State.

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 North Hudson
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
On June 7 at 1:12 a.m., DEC's Central Dispatch received a call from New York State Police (NYSP) advising that they received a call from a group of lost hikers. The hikers' coordinates placed them on the Beckhorn Peak heading toward Hough Mountain. Forest Rangers Andrew Lewis and Logan Quinn responded and headed into the woods at 3:30 a.m. Forest Rangers located the group of four hikers from East Schodack at 9:16 a.m., gave them a preliminary medical check, and began escorting them down the mountain. After one of the hikers exhibited signs of exhaustion, Rangers Lewis and Quinn gave the hiker something to eat and drink and time to warm up and rest. When the group reached the base of the mountain, they were met by Forest Rangers Art Perryman and Lt. Brian Dubay and driven to the trail head. At 5:25 p.m., the hiking party and Rangers were out of the woods.

Town of Colesville
Broome County
Missing Person:
On June 8, at 5:50 p.m., Broome County 911 requested assistance from Forest Rangers in the search for a missing 75-year-old woman from Harpursville. According to 911, the woman had gone to Nathaniel Cole Park at 12:30 p.m., and had not returned home. Her husband went to the park to look for her and located her vehicle with her purse and cell phone inside. Forest Rangers Joan Oldroyd and Chet Lunt responded to the area and received a briefing from the Director of Broome Security advising that they had searched a trail around a pond via UTV and the trail itself with a patrol bike. At approximately 7:53 p.m., family members received word that a resident on Colesville Road reported the missing woman was at that location and had asked to use the phone to call home. Resources responded to that location and confirmed it was the missing woman. The subject was evaluated by Superior Ambulance staff and released to the family.

Town of Keene
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
On June 9 at 4:19 p.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from the AuSable Club guard shack about a hiker in distress. The reporting party, another hiker, reported a 22-year-old man from Oneonta was laying down on the trail, conscious but unable to continue due to exhaustion and possible dehydration. Forest Ranger Kevin Burns responded to the AuSable Club and met with the reporting party. Together, they continued by vehicle down the Lake Road to the entrance of the Beaver Meadow Falls Trail where they found the hiker walking down the road. After an assessment, the hiker was transported by Ranger Burns back to his vehicle where he advised he would seek medical attention on his own.

Town of Hunter
Greene County
Kaaterskill Wild Forest
Wildland Fire:
On June 10 at 1:30 p.m., Greene County 911 contacted DEC's Central Dispatch requesting Forest Ranger assistance with a wildfire in Kaaterskill Clove off Route 23a. Two Forest Rangers responded and arrived on scene at approximately 1:50 p.m. The wildfire was suppressed by members of the Haines Falls, Tannersville, and Hunter fire departments. The total estimated size of the fire was .3 acres; the fire may have been caused by a lit cigarette being thrown into the woods from a motor vehicle.

Town of Keene
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
On June 10 at 1:46 p.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a radio transmission from Johns Brook Outpost advising that a hiker had stopped to report a man injured on the trail going up Big Slide Mountain. Forest Ranger Lt. Julie Harjung requested New York State Police Aviation to assist with the rescue. At 2:12 p.m., Essex County 911 transferred a call to Dispatch from a member of the hiking party. The hikers reported that the 50-year-old man from Ballston Lake had slipped on a rock while hiking down the Slide Brook trail and suffered a non-weight bearing injury to his right leg. Per Lt. Harjung, Forest Ranger Chris DiCintio was flown to the Johns Brook Outpost while additional Rangers remained at Marcy field in case of a carry out rescue. Once at the outpost, Ranger DiCintio hiked up the trail where he located the injured hiker. After splinting the man's leg, Ranger DiCintio helped move the subject to a suitable location for helicopter retrieval. Once the hiker was hoisted into the helicopter, he was flown to Marcy field where he was turned over to Keene Valley EMS and transported to a local hospital.

A man and two Forest Rangers exit a helicopter in a field
Injured hiker exits helicopter to seek medical attention

Town of Helena
St. Lawrence County
Wildland Fire:
On June 11 at 11:00 a.m., Forest Rangers were called regarding a possible wildland fire near the town of Helena. The fire was located by responding fire departments off County Route 53 in the Brasher State Forest approximately one mile off the road along the bank of the St. Regis River. The intensity of the fire increased due to dry fuels and steady 15-20 mph winds. ATVs, small brush trucks, and two pumps were utilized by five fire departments and Forest Rangers to suppress the .75-acre fire.

Town of Bath
Steuben County
Missing Person:
On June 10 at 11:28 p.m., DEC's Central Dispatch contacted Forest Ranger Anne Staples requesting that she report to the Bath Fire Department the next morning to assist New York State Police with the search for a missing 76-year-old man from Bath. State Police were contacted on June 10 at 6:30 p.m., concerning the missing man who was last seen going for a walk the previous afternoon. On the evening of June 10, State Police interviewed the caller and family members and began searching the area adjacent to the residence. On the morning of June 11, Ranger Staples and the Bath Fire Department personnel conducted searches of the paths, hedge rows, fields, and swamps south of the residence. State Police conducted searches around Bennet's Pond, as well as K-9 searches. At approximately 6:45 a.m., a passerby on Route 86 located the missing man in the turnaround west of Exit 39. State Police brought the man back to his residence where Bath Ambulance conducted a medical evaluation.

Town of Indian Lake
Hamilton County
Wilderness Rescue:
On June 12 at 7:20 p.m., Hamilton County 911 transferred a call to DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch reporting stranded boaters camping on Indian Lake Islands. The campers were shuttling others from the boat launch to the island when the boat broke free of shore and floated away. Forest Ranger Jason Scott responded to assist. When the Ranger arrived on scene, he found one camper at the boat launch waiting to be picked up who was unaware of the situation. Ranger Scott gave the subject a courtesy ride to the island and assisted the campers trying to locate the vessel. Unable to recover the aluminum boat, the group decided to remain on the island for the evening and contact a friend the next day to bring them back to shore and help locate the drifting boat. At 9:54 p.m., Ranger Scott was back on shore.

Town of Riverhead
Suffolk County
Wildland Helicopter Bucket Training:
On June 12 at 10:30 a.m., DEC's Region One Forest Rangers and the Army National Guard Air Assault Battalion out of MacArthur Airport conducted specialized wildland firefighting training on the David A. Sarnoff Preserve using two Army UH60-A Blackhawk Helicopters outfitted with 660-gallon Bambi Buckets. Forest Rangers Bryan Gallagher, John Gagne, John Scott, and Captain Tim Byrnes provided ground training, covering an overview of fire behavior and aerial firefighting tactics for the 15 soldiers. Rangers Gallagher and Scott were given a seat in the UH60-A Blackhawk to observe hovering and dipping a water source. In addition, Ranger Gagne communicated from the ground with the pilots about dropping water on a simulated fire line.

A helicopter comes down for a landing in a field surrounded by trees
Forest Rangers participate in firefighting helicopter training

Town of Ellenburg
Clinton County
Wildland Fire:
On June 13 at 1:35 p.m., DEC's Brook Dispatch received a call from Clinton County 911 reporting a wildland fire in a remote swampy area in Ellenburg Center. Forest Rangers Jared Booth and Tom Gliddi responded to assist the Ellenburg Center, Ellenburg Depot, Churubusco, Lyon Mountain, Altona, Mooers, and Champlain fire departments with suppression efforts. Ranger Booth advised that the fire was contained at approximately eight acres and would be placed in patrol status until completely extinguished.

New York State COVID-19 Response:
DEC personnel from across agency divisions and regions statewide continue to support the State's response to the COVID-19 public health crisis. Personnel from more than 20 New York State agencies are working on response efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19. DEC Forest Rangers' expertise in the Incident Command System (ICS) and experience in applying ICS to wide area searches and large wildland fire have made them a key part of this statewide effort.

photo of a parking lot with large tents set up for COVID-19 testing
Forest Rangers conduct traffic control at COVID-19 testing facility in Albany

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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