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For Release: Tuesday, December 14, 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 Lysander
Onondaga County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Dec. 10 at 1:35 p.m., Forest Ranger Chappell was patrolling the Three Rivers Wildlife Management Area when he heard a radio call from Onondaga County for a hunter from Baldwinsville suspended in a tree after his tree stand fell out from underneath him. Within five minutes, Ranger Chappell had located the hunter, who was having a hard time breathing due to the pressure of the harness. With the help of Baldwinsville Police and Fire, the Ranger freed the hunter from the harness. Greater Baldwinsville Community Ambulance took the hunter to a hospital where he was examined and released.

Town of Kingston
Ulster County
Wilderness Search:
On Dec. 10 at 5:15 p.m., Central Dispatch received a call requesting Forest Ranger assistance for a lost hiker at Onteora Lake in Bluestone Wild Forest. The 25-year-old hiker from Massachusetts, unfamiliar with the trail, called for assistance as it was getting dark and their cell phone battery was dying. Ranger Franceschina and two New York State Police Troopers responded. Using a GPS pin drop supplied by the hiker, Ranger Franceschina located the subject just off the northeast side of Pickerel Pond at 6:30 p.m., and with the State Troopers, led the hiker out of the woods. Resources were clear at 7:15 p.m.

Town of Wawarsing
Ulster County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Dec. 11 at 12:30 p.m., Ulster County 911 received a call about an ATV accident off Old Plank Road in the town of Wawarsing. Forest Ranger Rusher was patrolling the area and responded with Ellenville Fire, Cragsmoor Fire, Ellenville First Aid, New York State Police, and the Ulster County Sheriff's Office. A 54-year-old from Hewitt crashed into a tree on a private road while hunting. That section of the woods, near Nevele Falls, is steep, rocky, and muddy. The hunter sustained multiple injuries to his leg, shoulder, and rib cage. Rescue crews treated the subject before carrying him out of the woods. Ellenville First Aid transported the patient to the hospital. Resources were clear at 2:15 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.

If a person needs a Forest Ranger, whether it's for a search and rescue, to report a wildfire, or to report illegal activity on state lands and easements, they should call 833-NYS-RANGERS. If a person needs urgent assistance, they can call 911. To contact a Forest Ranger for information about a specific location, the DEC website has phone numbers for every Ranger listed by region.

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