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For Release: Tuesday, July 13, 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 North Elba
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
On July 5 at 2:37 p.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a passerby reporting a 64-year-old woman from Palisades Park, New Jersey, with a non-weight bearing ankle injury near MacIntyre Falls on the trail to Algonquin Mountain in the High Peaks Wilderness Area. Forest Rangers Evans, Lewis, Bode, and Mecus and Assistant Forest Ranger (AFR) McPherson responded by hiking up from the Adirondak Loj. Once on scene, Forest Rangers assessed the subject's injury and began slowly walking the hiker down off the mountain to the old Marcy Dam trail where additional Rangers were staged with UTVs. At 8:07 p.m., the hiker was back to the trailhead and said she would seek medical attention on her own.

Town of Hornellsville
Steuben County
Wilderness Search:
On July 8 at 12 a.m. DEC's Central Dispatch received a call from the Steuben County Sheriff's Office requesting Forest Ranger assistance to locate a missing 58-year-old man from Hornellsville. Forest Rangers Staples, Carpenter, Cordell, and Acting Lt. Wickens began to facilitate and undertake search operations. Rangers Staples and Carpenter, in cooperation with the Steuben County Sheriff, organized searches with staff from the Sheriff's Office, Steuben County Corrections, and local volunteer fire departments. Searches continued through the early afternoon before a crew located the man deceased. The investigation was turned over to the Steuben County Sheriff's Office and Rangers were clear of the scene by 2:30 p.m.

Town of Keene
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
On July 10 at 10:22 a.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Garmin Inreach Emergency Services reporting an alert from a hiker on the trail to Haystack Mountain. The 65-year-old hiker from Burlington, Vermont, reported breaking her wrist. Forest Ranger Mecus and the Johns Brook Lodge Caretaker responded to assist. Once on scene, Ranger Mecus provided medical attention and began escorting the hiker off the mountain. At 7:15 p.m., Ranger Mecus and the injured hiker arrived at the garden trailhead and the subject said she would seek additional medical attention on her own.

Town of North Elba
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
On July 10 at 2:05 p.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a radio transmission from AFR McPherson reporting a hiker with an ankle injury on the Long Trail to Mount Jo. AFR McPherson responded to the location and found the 49-year-old hiker from Apopka, Florida, with a lower leg injury. Forest Rangers Evans and O'Connor also responded, along with ADK Mountain Club staff, to carry the subject to the trailhead. At 4:37 p.m., the hiker was turned over to the Lake Placid Ambulance Squad for additional medical treatment and all resources were clear of the scene.

Town of Keene
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
On July 10 at 4:50 p.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a radio transmission from AFR McLenithan reporting a 26-year-old hiker from Albany on the summit of Giant Mountain with signs of dehydration and fatigue. Forest Ranger Lewis responded to assist. AFR McLenithan provided the hiker with fluids and food. Feeling better, the subject and the AFR began hiking back to the trailhead. At 9:13 p.m., Ranger Lewis notified Dispatch that the hiker was back at the trailhead and given a courtesy ride back to their vehicle.

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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