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For Release: Tuesday, December 1, 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 Fabius
Onondaga County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Nov. 27 at 4:05 p.m., DEC's Central Dispatch received a call from a hiker lost in the Highland Forest County Park with a hiking companion. The pair became disoriented while hiking the trails and concerned when it started to get dark. Forest Ranger Chappell arrived on scene at 4:50 p.m. Along with members of the Fabius Fire Department, rescuers located the hikers from Liverpool and Fayetteville at 5:15 p.m., and escorted them out of the woods.

Town of Fort Ann
Washington County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Nov. 28 at 1:06 p.m., Warren County 911 transferred a call to DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch requesting assistance for a 57-year-old male hiker from Clifton Park with a possible leg fracture one mile from the summit of Buck Mountain. Forest Ranger Lt. Ganswindt and three Forest Rangers responded to assist. After locating the hiker, the Rangers splinted his injured leg and proceeded to carry him to a waiting ATV to drive him out of the woods. Once back at the trailhead, the hiker declined further medical assistance and the incident concluded at 5:14 p.m.

Forest Rangers splinting a hiker's leg in the woods
Wilderness Rescue in Fort Ann

Forest Ranger clearing a path of a fallen tree as other forest rangers move up the trail with an ATV
Wilderness Rescue in Fort Ann

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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