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For Release: Tuesday, September 22, 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 Piercefield
St. Lawrence County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Sept. 17 at 10:25 a.m., DEC's Central Dispatch received a call from a relative of two campers on the Bog River after one of the campers injured their back and had difficulty moving. Forest Rangers Baldwin, Lee, and Hogan responded to assist. At 12:20 p.m., Rangers Baldwin and Hogan located the campers and began the walk out to the road. At 1:07 p.m., Ranger Baldwin transported the campers back to their vehicle. The 66-year-old man from Honeoye Falls who had suffered the back injury stated he would seek further medical attention on his own.

Town of Keene
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Sept. 18 at 7 p.m., Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch reporting a hiker with a chest injury on the Pitchoff Trail in the Sentinel Mountain Wilderness Area. Forest Ranger Praczkajlo responded to assist, locating the 68-year-old hiker from Waltham, Massachusetts, at 7:45 p.m. After administering first aid for injured ribs, the Ranger and the hiker walked out to the trailhead. At 8:33 p.m., they were back at the trailhead and the hiker stated he would seek further medical attention on his own.

Town of Jewett
Greene County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Sept. 19 at 2:45 p.m., the Windham Police Department contacted DEC's Central Dispatch requesting Forest Ranger assistance in locating a 40-year-old hiker from Tenafly, New Jersey, with a lower left leg injury. The hiker was approximately one mile from the Barnum Road trailhead on Thomas Cole Mountain. Forest Rangers Breigle, Seeley, Jackson, and Ellis responded to assist. After reaching the hiker, Greene County EMS provided first aid while Rangers prepared the man for a carry-out by securing him in a litter. At 6:45 p.m., Rangers carried the subject out about one mile. The man declined medical transport and said he would seek additional medical care on his own.

Town of Dresden
Washington County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Sept. 19 at 7:43 p.m., Washington County 911 transferred a call to DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch from a hiker advising she was stuck on the trail on Black Mountain and two of her hiking companions were further up the trail. Washington County 911 provided coordinates that placed several members of the hike group from Mechanicville at the Black Mountain Point on the shore of Lake George. Forest Rangers O'Connor and Donegan responded to Black Mountain Point via a boat from Green Island, while Forest Ranger St. Claire responded to the marina at Hulett's Landing. At 10:04 p.m., Ranger O'Connor advised that the two hikers had made their way back to the main group and that all seven hikers were on the boat and being transported to the marina. Once at the marina, Ranger St. Claire drove members of the hiking party to the trailhead to retrieve their vehicles.

Town of Wilmington
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Sept. 19 at 7:47 p.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a hiker who became separated from her sister while hiking Esther Mountain. The missing hiker was last seen near the outlook at Marble Mountain. Forest Rangers Burns and Evans responded to assist. At 9:38 p.m., Ranger Evans located the 31-year-old hiker from Canton who reported that she had fallen, lost consciousness, and injured her right knee. Ranger Evans splinted the subject's knee and escorted her down the trail to the reservoir trailhead where they were met by Ranger Burns. Once back at the trailhead, the injured hiker advised she would seek further medical treatment on her own.

Town of North Elba
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Sept. 20 at 1:23 a.m., DEC's Central Dispatch received a request for Ranger assistance for four overdue hikers spending the night at Marcy Dam as part of a group of 16. At 7:08 a.m., Forest Rangers, Assistant Forest Rangers, and caretakers responded to look for the missing hikers. The group initially set out to hike Marcy on Sept. 19, through Lake Colden but became separated. Two hikers attempted to get back to the campsite via Lake Arnold but could not make a water crossing and spent the night along the trail. At 7:15 a.m., the hikers returned to the campsite. The other two hikers became lost at Indian Falls when they accidentally took the ski trail back up toward Marcy and spent the night on the trail. Assistant Forest Ranger Engel located this pair at 9:32 a.m., and escorted them back to the group. Forest Rangers issued the hikers a ticket for an oversized group. The incident concluded at 11 a.m.

Town of Brookhaven
Suffolk County
Law Enforcement:
On Sept. 20, Forest Rangers Hicks and Gallagher received a complaint from a member of a local mountain bike club about illegal dirt bikes in the Rocky Point State Forest. Both Rangers responded to the area and observed the illegal operator who fled the area when Ranger Hicks attempted to stop him. Ranger Hicks followed the tracks and clouds of dust back to the operator's residence and charged him with operating an ATV on public land. Approximately two hours later, Rangers observed an illegal ATV in the same area with the riders attempting to flee the scene after Ranger Gallagher attempted to stop them with his patrol vehicle. The operator of the ATV eventually stopped after noticing Ranger Hicks further down the trail. The operator was charged with operating an ATV on public land and without a helmet.

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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