Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

For Release: Tuesday, July 5, 2022

DEC Forest Rangers - Week in Review

Recent Statewide 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 2021, DEC Forest Rangers conducted 426 search and rescue missions, extinguished wildfires, participated in prescribed fires that served to rejuvenate hundreds of acres of land, and worked on cases that resulted in thousands of tickets or arrests.

"Over the last decade, as well as during the COVID-19 pandemic, DEC saw an increase in people visiting State lands to experience New York's abundant opportunities for outdoor recreation," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "DEC's Forest Rangers continue to be on the front lines to help visitors get outside responsibly and get home safely, as well as to protect our state's irreplaceable natural resources. 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 New Windsor
Orange County
Aerial Wildfire Suppression Training:
On June 30, Forest Rangers from DEC's Region 3 participated in helicopter bucket training with the New York State Police Aviation Unit at Stewart Airport. Rangers helped guide the helicopter pilot down to the water to fill up the 240-gallon bucket before determining the proper altitude to dump the water on top of wildfires. During this exercise, the crews hit targets to ensure accuracy.

helicopter flying overhead with a large bucket of water during training
Bucket training in New Windsor

Helicoper releasing large amount of water over a field during training
Bucket training in New Windsor

Town of Schroon
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
On July 2 at approximately 5 p.m., Forest Ranger Quin responded to a report of a subject with a compound ankle fracture at Schroon Falls. North Hudson Fire and Schroon Lake Fire Departments and EMS helped Ranger Quinn carry the 46-year-old from Long Island to a waiting ambulance. Schroon Lake EMS transported the subject to Frontier Town, where a helicopter transported the subject to the hospital.

Town of Waverly
Franklin County
Wilderness Rescue:
On July 2 at 4 p.m., Franklin County 911 requested Forest Ranger assistance with a hiker who had suffered a broken ankle on Azure Mountain. Rangers DiCintio and O'Connor responded along with St. Regis Falls Ambulance and St. Regis Falls and Dickinson Fire Departments. Rangers helped splint the injury and packaged the 42-year-old from Canada in a litter to carry them out to the parking area. Resources were clear at 6:30 p.m.

Town of Hunter
Greene County
Wilderness Rescue:
On July 3 at 11:40 a.m., Forest Ranger Gullen responded to a 61-year-old from Long Island who fell down an embankment off the Kaaterskill Rail Trail. The subject fell 30 feet. They had no memory of the fall, severe rib pain, and a broken wrist. Ranger Gullen was joined by Rangers Allwine, Dawson, and Martin to set up a steep-angle raise using a SKED and vacuum mattress. Once the subject was successfully raised back to the trail, Rangers loaded the hiker into a Ranger truck and then to a waiting ambulance. Resources were clear at 3:30 p.m.

Ranger on a steep trail in the woods rescuing injured hiker
Kaaterskill Rail Trail rescue

Town of Highland
Sullivan County
Wilderness Rescue:
On July 4 at 11:50 a.m., Forest Ranger Franke responded to a water rescue on the Delaware River near Hillside Road. A 69-year-old from New Jersey got her foot stuck in a rock, and the current prevented the subject from freeing herself. A National Park Service Ranger kayaked to the subject and freed their foot. Ranger Franke and a member of the Yulan Fire Department swam to the subject, secured her personal floatation device, and helped her to the Lumberland airboat. Additional responding agencies include Lumberland and Shahola Fire Departments and EMS, Highland Fire Department, and the Sullivan County Sheriff's Department. Resources were clear at 1 p.m.

Town of Wawarsing
Ulster County
Wilderness Rescue:
On July 4 at 4:00 p.m., Ulster County Dispatch requested Forest Ranger assistance with an injured hiker in Vernooy Kill State Forest. Rangers Franceschina and Rusher reached the 64-year-old from New Jersey and determined she had an unstable leg injury. With the help of Ellenville and Napanoch Fire Departments, Rangers packaged the subject and transported her to the road where Ellenville EMS provided patient care and transported her to the hospital. Resources were clear at 4:50 p.m.

Rangers loading up injured hiker onto UTV
Rescue at Vernooy Kill State Forest

Rangers and emergency response teams in parking lot during injured hiker rescue
Rescue at Vernooy Kill State Forest

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 for a search and rescue, to report a wildfire, or to report illegal activity on State lands and easements, call 833-NYS-RANGERS. If a person needs urgent assistance, 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.

  • Contact for this Page
  • Press Office - Jeff Wernick
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-1016
    email us
  • This Page Covers
  • Page applies to all NYS regions