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For Release: Wednesday, November 4, 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 Johnsburg
Warren County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Oct. 26 at 9:37 a.m., Warren County 911 transferred a call to DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch reporting an injured hunter on a ski trail near Gore Mountain in North Creek. Further information indicated the injury was a broken leg due to entrapment under a boulder. Forest Rangers Kabrehl, Donegan, and Quinn responded to assist. At 11:06 a.m., Rangers Quinn and Donegan reached the injured man, removed him from the boulder entrapment, and performed advanced wilderness first aid to a badly damaged leg with severe lacerations and a compound fracture. Forest Rangers and members of the North River Fire Department carried the 31-year-old hunter from Hudson Falls off the ledge in a litter to a location with ATV access. The hunter was transported to a local hospital for further medical treatment.

Town of Fine
St. Lawrence County
Wilderness Search:
On Oct. 29 at 5:32 p.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a hunter reporting an overdue member of his party. The caller stated that a 24-year-old man from Brooktondale left to hunt at 9 a.m., and should have been back at their campsite by 11 a.m. Forest Rangers Benzel, Shea, Morehouse, Hogan, and Baldwin responded to the High Falls trailhead in Wanakena with two, six-wheel ATVs to search the area. At 8:20 p.m., Ranger Benzel advised dispatch that Ranger Shea had located the hunter and brought him to the group's campsite.

Town of Bolton
Warren County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Oct. 31 at 1:28 p.m., Warren County 911 transferred a call to DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch requesting Forest Ranger assistance with an ill hiker on the trail in North West Bay on Lake George. The caller advised that a 27-year-old woman from Katonah was conscious, but not responsive. Forest Ranger Donegan responded, along with members of the Bolton Fire Department and EMS squad using their fire boat from Green Island. The hiker was located at 2:15 p.m., and carried onto the fire boat by Forest Rangers, members of the Lake George Park Commission, and Bolton Fire and EMS. On the boat, the subject was transported to the landing zone to be airlifted to a local hospital by New York State Police Aviation. The incident concluded at 4:15 p.m.

Town of Wells
Hamilton County
Wilderness Search:
On Oct. 31 at 11:57 p.m., New York State Police (NYSP) contacted DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch requesting Forest Ranger assistance with two overdue hikers from Johnstown. State Police were able to ping one of the hunters' cellphones, which showed their location on West River Road. Forest Ranger Thompson responded to the location to assist, and at 6:56 a.m., advised that the hunters had been found and were being walked out of the woods. The hunters reported they had run out of daylight and decided to build a fire one-third of a mile from their vehicle. The pair declined medical treatment and were reunited with their families at 8 a.m.

Fighting Wildfires:
On Nov. 3, DEC welcomed back the State's fourth team of volunteer wildland firefighters from the Divisions of Forest Protection, Lands and Forests, and Fish and Wildlife that were deployed to help battle and contain wildfires raging in western states. The crew flew to Denver, Colorado, on Oct. 17 for deployment from the Rocky Mountain Coordination Center and were initially assigned to the Cameron Peak fire for nighttime operations, patrol, and structure defense. Their second assignment was at the East Troublesome fire for daytime operations. The crew was reassigned to Cameron Peak due to sub-freezing temperatures and heavy snow. The returning crew includes a DEC Forest Ranger crew boss and nine firefighters:

  • Scott Jackson, Forest Ranger, Crew Boss, Oswego County
  • Mark Brand, Forest Ranger, Ulster County
  • James Canevari, DEC Division of Fish and Wildlife, St. Lawrence County
  • Aaron Graves, DEC Division of Lands and Forest, St. Lawrence County
  • Tyler Kulikowski - DEC Division of Lands and Forest, Steuben County
  • Kramer Kwaczala - DEC Division of Lands and Forest, Albany County
  • Gary Miller, Forest Ranger, Hamilton County
  • Tyler Mitchell, Forest Ranger, Schenectady County
  • Joseph Nelson - DEC Division of Fish and Wildlife, Otsego County
  • Arthur Perryman, Forest Ranger, Warren County

Firefighting crew outside being welcomed back by Commissioner Seggos
Commissioner Seggos (right) welcomed back the latest firefighting crew upon their return on Nov. 3

fire and smoke with a memeber of firefighting crew working to control wildfires
Wildland firefighting techniques used in Colorado over the last two weeks

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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