Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

For Release: Tuesday, February 9, 2021

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 2020, DEC Forest Rangers conducted 492 search and rescue missions, extinguished 192 wildfires that burned a total of more than 1,122 acres, participated in eight prescribed fires that served to rejuvenate more than 203 acres, and worked on cases that resulted in 3,131 tickets or arrests.

"During New York's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are enjoying the outdoors than ever before and our Forest Rangers are on the front lines to help people get outside responsibly and get home safely," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "Rangers' knowledge of first aid, land navigation, and technical rescue techniques are critical to the success of their missions, which for more than a century have taken them from remote wilderness areas with rugged mountain peaks, to white water rivers, and throughout our vast forests statewide."

Town of Lisle
Broome County
Airboat Training:
On Feb. 4, DEC Forest Rangers from Regions 7 and 8 conducted a joint flat ice airboat training with the Broome County Sheriff's Department on the Whitney Point Reservoir. Crews trained in tandem airboat operations on flat ice and snow to practice maneuvering boats through various challenging conditions. The Forest Ranger airboat stationed in Region 7 is utilized for search and rescue operations statewide and can operate on swift and flat water, in flooded areas, and on flat ice. These training sessions are important for maintaining and sharpening operator proficiency, sharing knowledge and experience, and developing strong working relationships with other agencies to protect public safety.

Aerial view of Forest Rangers and Sheriffs with airboats
DEC Forest Ranger and Broome County Sheriff airboat operators with their respective boats
(Photo courtesy of Broome County Sheriff's Office)

Forest Rangers on airboat moving across frozen reservoir
Region 7 Forest Ranger airboat team at Whitney Point Reservoir

View facing the airboat with Forest Rangers onboard.
Forest Ranger airboat "Miss Susie Q II" with crew

Region 5
Ice Training:
On Jan. 29, Feb. 1 and 4, Forest Rangers participated in three sessions of steep/vertical ice training in the Adirondacks. The training focused on climbing steep ice, mixed snow/ice, and rock-covered terrain to prepare Rangers for difficult and dangerous rescues on mountain slides and ice-filled gullies where wintertime accidents are frequent.

Forest Ranger climbing steep, icy terrain
Ranger Sabo navigates steep ice-covered terrain while being belayed

New York State DEC staff continue to serve in leadership roles at COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites across the state. For information about efforts to vaccinate New Yorkers and to check eligibility for vaccinations, go to New York State Department of Health's COVID-19 Vaccine website.

Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC's Hike Smart NY, Adirondack Backcountry Information and Catskill Backcountry Information webpages for more information.

  • Contact for this Page
  • Press Office - Kevin Frazier
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-1016
    email us
  • This Page Covers
  • Page applies to all NYS regions