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For Release: Tuesday, June 22, 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 Inlet
Hamilton County
Rope Rescue Training:
From June 16 to 18, Region 6 Forest Rangers assembled at Black Bear Mountain to perform the annual Operations Level Rope Rescue training. The training focuses on patient packaging for a moderate angle rescue, release hitches, component-based lowers and raises, and "hot change overs." A litter wheel is also incorporated into the scenarios.

Rangers work together during rope training in the woods
Rangers during rope rescue training at Black Bear Mountain

Town of Fine
St. Lawrence County
Wilderness Search:
On June 16 at 8:22 p.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from New York State Police requesting Forest Ranger assistance in locating a missing 85-year-old woman from Star Lake. A friend saw the woman enter the woods riding her four-wheeler to check the trails on her property off the Oswegatchie trail road. When the subject didn't return, the friend called for help. Forest Rangers and search crews located the woman's four-wheeler and quickly found the missing subject. At approximately 12:45 a.m., the woman was evacuated by ATV and transported to a local hospital for medical evaluation.

Town of Indian Lake
Hamilton County
Swiftwater Rescue Training:
On June 17, Region 5 Forest Rangers participated in swiftwater rescue training on the Indian River. Rangers learned about self-rescue swimming, wading with belay assist, go-rescue, and "throw bag" techniques.

Rangers in shallow, moving water to practice rescue techniques
Swiftwater rescue training on the Indian River

Town of Schroon
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
On June 17 at 3:45 p.m., Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch reporting an 83-year-old man had fallen and injured his arm on the trail to Spectacle Pond in the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Area. The injured man was with a friend who reported the hiker had a laceration to his right arm and that while the bleeding was under control, it was causing lightheadedness. At 5:01 p.m., Forest Ranger Perryman helped the man out of the woods. The hiker declined further medical assistance.

Town of Hunter
Greene County
Wilderness Rescue:
On June 18 at 12:30 p.m., Greene County 911 received a report of an injured 19-year-old hiker from Westfield, New Jersey, on Sugarloaf Mountain. The subject was hiking with two friends on the Devil's Path from Prediger Road when an SOS beacon was activated and authorities were notified. GPS coordinates placed the hiker on the west side of Sugarloaf Mountain approximately half a mile from Mink Hollow Notch. Forest Ranger Nelson contacted the caller who reported that his friend had fallen on the rocky trail and then about 20 feet downhill off the trail. The subject temporarily lost consciousness and later reported arm and wrist pain. Forest Rangers and local emergency personnel responded to the hikers' location. Assistant Forest Ranger Kilmer, patrolling in the immediate area, located the hiking group, provided first aid, and began assisting them out. The hikers met up with Forest Rangers and a paramedic at Mink Hollow Notch. At 2:35 p.m., the hiker was transported to a local hospital for additional medical care.

Town of Clifton
St. Lawrence County
Wildland Search:
On June 19 at 7:39 p.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from two lost hikers in the Cranberry Lake Wild Forest. The hikers were advised to call 911 to determine their position. Initial attempts to gain the subjects' coordinates were delayed and returned with questionable reliability. The hikers from Bath underestimated the trip to Hedgehog Pond, turned around, attempted to bushwhack as a shortcut, but instead became lost in Bear Swamp for several hours. Forest Ranger Shea directed the hikers using their compass and headlamps back to the trail via phone. Rangers Shea and Curcio met the hikers at the Bear Mountain trailhead. St. Lawrence County 911, St. Lawrence County Sheriff's Office, and Cranberry Lake Campground staff assisted with this incident. All units were clear of the scene by 10 p.m.

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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