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For Release: Tuesday, June 15, 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."

Rangers wearing red helmets and climbing gear pose for a group photo during rope technician training
Technical rope technician training in Essex County

Two rangers lower themselves and stretcher down side of a steep trail using ropes
Rangers lower a litter during rescue training

Ranger dangles from ropes while guiding cage-like stretcher up a rockface
Moving a litter on a high angle guiding line deflection system during training

Rangers pulling multi-colored ropes on a flat rock surface in the mountains
Dual capability two tension rope system used during training

Town of Almond
Allegany County
Search and Rescue Training:
On June 10, Region 9 Forest Rangers conducted a wildland search training exercise on Bully Hill State Forest for volunteer responders in the area. The trainees were briefed and assigned to crews to practice various search techniques in a scenario for a missing child from a family's campsite. There were 31 participants representing: the Almond, Canaseraga, Alfred Station, A.E. Hook and Ladder, Andover, and Angelica fire departments; the Allegany County Search Team; the Allegany County Sheriff's Department drone unit; and the Allegany County Saddledusters horse group.

Local search and rescue crews gather around Ranger giving instructions
Ranger Thaine briefs crews during search and rescue training

Town of Poestenkill
Rensselaer County
Wilderness Rescue:
On June 10 at 4:13 p.m., Rensselaer County 911 requested Forest Ranger assistance with an injured hiker at Barberville Falls. Once on-scene, Forest Ranger Jackson advised that the injured hiker was a 28-year-old woman from Schenectady who suffered a non-weight-bearing injury to her left leg. After an EMT provided first aid, the hiker was placed in a litter and carried across the Poestenkill Creek to a waiting UTV. She was then driven out to the road. The hiker declined additional medical treatment, indicating a friend would bring her to a local hospital for further care. All resources were clear of the scene at 6:30 p.m. Also assisting with the rescue were the Poestenkill, Wynantskill, and Averill Park fire departments, and Mohawk Ambulance.

Town of Clifton
St. Lawrence County
Wilderness Rescue:
On June 11 at 10:23 a.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Garmin Inreach Services reporting a 50-year-old woman from Vernon, New Jersey, with a broken ankle on the Olmstead Pond Trail, in the Five Ponds Wilderness. Three Forest Rangers and two Assistant Forest Rangers, along with the Cranberry Lake Rescue Squad and Star Lake Rescue, responded. Once on scene, rescuers splinted the hiker's leg and she was carried out to a waiting rescue boat. The hiker was then transported across Cranberry Lake where an ambulance brought her to a local hospital for additional medical care.

Town of Mamakating
Sullivan County
Wilderness Rescue:
On June 11 at 5:30 p.m., Forest Ranger Allwine overheard radio traffic from Sullivan County 911 dispatching New York State Police to a search for a missing man and eight children near Mamakating Town Park. Ranger Allwine responded and once on scene was informed the leader of the lost party went hiking on the red trail in the park and became disoriented. A member of Hatzolah was also on scene and acted as a translator with the hiker via cell phone. Cell phone coordinates obtained through 911 provided negative results. At 6:30 p.m. Ranger Allwine located the lost group and escorted them out of the woods. All resources were clear of the scene at 7 p.m.

Town of Shandaken
Ulster County
Wilderness Rescue:
On June 11 at 9:45 p.m., DEC's Central Dispatch was contacted by Ulster County 911 requesting Forest Ranger assistance for an ATV accident at 146 Belleayre Ridge Road near Belleayre Mountain. A woman involved in the accident was approximately 400 feet down a ravine in a wooded area. Forest Ranger Martin responded along with local fire departments and EMS. Ranger Martin advised that the 47-year-old woman from Arkville suffered shoulder, leg, and hip injuries and was brought out by a fire department UTV to the Belleayre Ski Center. Her 63-year-old companion from Barnegat, New Jersey, also riding an ATV, suffered minor injuries. Both were transported to a local hospital for medical treatment and the incident concluded at 12:05 a.m.

Town of Schroon
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
On June 13 at 4:21 p.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a call reporting that a woman at a tent site in the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Area was experiencing difficulty breathing, hives, and dizziness after an insect bite. Forest Rangers Arnold and Donegan responded and at 6:30 p.m., Ranger Arnold advised that they made contact with the woman who started walking out with her father. The 34-year-old woman from Utica began to improve after a passing hiker gave her Benadryl. The Rangers escorted them the remainder of the distance back to the trailhead via a six-wheeler. At 7:40 p.m., the hiker was back out to the trailhead and said she would seek further medical assistance on her own.

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 NYS 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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