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For Release: Tuesday, November 22, 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 North Elba
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Nov. 15 at 2:45 p.m., Ray Brook Dispatch requested Forest Ranger assistance with the search for a hiker on Mount Marcy. The 35-year-old from Toronto became lost while hiking with her two dogs. After speaking with the hiker, Ranger Curcio determined she had started from the Adirondak Loj, took the high water route, and crossed Indian Falls. Rangers Curcio and DiCintio headed into Marcy Dam to begin a linear search. Dispatch called the Rangers with a new set of coordinates during their search, placing the hiker approximately 500 feet east of Indian Falls. At 6:24 p.m., Rangers made audio contact with the hiker and found her off trail in thick spruce. Rangers warmed the subject and escorted her and her dogs down to Marcy Dam and then to the Loj. Resources were clear at 9 p.m.

City of Hudson
Columbia County
Public Outreach:
On Nov. 19, Ranger Gullen participated in a Smokey Bear event at the Firefighters Association of the State of New York (FASNY) Museum of Firefighting. Hundreds of people stopped to talk with Ranger Gullen and Smokey to learn about fire safety.

Smokey Bear and Ranger stand at informational/safety table during event
Smokey Bear and Ranger Gullen at FASNY Museum of Firefighting

Town of Diana
Lewis County
Storm Response:
On Nov. 20 at 9 a.m., Forest Ranger Lieutenant Hogan and Rangers Benzel, Evans, and Hanno responded with Lewis County Emergency Management to help two Diana area residents stranded in a storm that accumulated approximately six feet of snow. One of the two had experienced a cardiac issue. The Long Pond Snowmobile Club used its groomer to break a trail for DEC's tracked SUV. At 10:45 a.m., Rangers reached the subject, who was in stable condition, and helped him into a Lewis County Search and Rescue ambulance. His companion followed the ambulance to the hospital. Rangers also assisted a third subject trapped in a hunting camp approximately four miles from a plowed road.

Ranger and Forest Ranger vehicles in snowy woods during rescue
Rangers rescue subjects trapped in a snowstorm

Snowy view through window of rescue vehicle during rescue
Rangers rescue subjects trapped in a snowstorm

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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