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For Release: Tuesday, March 2, 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 Lake George
Warren County
Ice Rescue:
On Feb. 25 at 4 p.m., Forest Ranger Donegan was notified of a snowmobile accident on Lake George with the snowmobiler still in the water. Ranger Donegan responded to the scene adjacent to a local marina while Forest Rangers Kabrehl, Perryman, and Lt. Kallen responded to a launch site with Airboat 54. Ranger Donegan donned a cold-water rescue suit, went into the water to look for the man, but could not immediately find him. A diver with the North Queensbury Fire Department then located the 35-year-old man from the Bronx, and together with Ranger Donegan and members of the Bay Ridge and Lake George fire departments, removed him from the water. Ranger Donegan and a Sheriff's Deputy immediately began life-saving measures. The individual was turned over to the local EMS and transported to a local hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. Rangers stayed on scene with the airboat to assist the Warren County Sheriff's Office with the investigation.

Town of Shandaken
Ulster County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Feb. 27 at 12:15 p.m., Forest Ranger Slade heard a 911 report of an injured hiker on the Menla Resort property. According to the report, a hiker was attempting a two-mile loop on the resort's blue trail, which is steep and had not been broken in by other hikers. Approximately one mile into the loop, the hiker fell 20 feet down an embankment and dislocated her left shoulder. A member of her party hiked down to the resort and placed the call for help. Ranger Slade responded, and due to the heavy snowpack, requested additional Rangers to assist. At 2:15 p.m., rescuers arrived at the hiker's location. The 52-year-old woman from New York City was experiencing pain from her injured, left shoulder and was mildly hypothermic. Once warmed up, rescuers provided first aid for the subject's injury by placing her left arm into a sling and securing it to her torso. The hiker was assisted back up to the trail and began the slow walk out on her own power while rescuers assisted breaking in the trail ahead. The hiker made it off the trail at 5:15 p.m., was treated by Shandaken Paramedics, and transported to a local hospital for further medical treatment.

Hamilton County
Multiagency Snowmobile Training:
Forest Rangers from Region 5, Zone D hosted a multi-day training with members of the106th Rescue Wing Unit of the New York Air National Guard stationed at Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base in Westhampton Beach. During the exercise, Rangers demonstrated snowmobile operations and trained with the visiting Pararescue specialists in basic snowmobile maintenance and trail and towing procedures, as well as back country/deep snow operations.

Forest Rangers on snowmobiles in deep snow during training
Hamilton County snowmobile training

Two forest rangers on a snowmobile trail during training
Hamilton County snowmobile training

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 the 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.

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