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For Release: Wednesday, January 11, 2023

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 2022, DEC Forest Rangers conducted 359 search and rescue missions, extinguished 162 wildfires covering more than 1,300 acres, participated in 53 prescribed fires that served to rejuvenate nearly 900 acres of land, and worked on cases that resulted in hundreds of tickets and arrests.

"With more people visiting State lands and enjoying New York's myriad, world-class outdoor recreational opportunities, DEC's Forest Rangers are on the front lines to help visitors get outside responsibly and get home safely," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "Each day, these highly trained first responders are protecting irreplaceable natural resources and utilizing their expert knowledge of wildland fire suppression, wilderness first aid, land navigation, law enforcement, and technical rescue techniques to successfully execute critical missions, for DEC and our countless local, state, and national partners."

Village of Cooperstown
Otsego County
On Dec. 29, Lt. Breigle, Ranger Ellis, and recent Forest Ranger Academy graduates Rangers Cooley and Laymon met with Otsego County Sheriff Devlin. In their work as police officers, wilderness first responders, and wildland firefighters, Rangers in the region maintain a close working relationship with the Sheriff's Office.

Rangers and Otsego County Sheriff take group photo in front of large sign with sheriff's badge on it
Rangers meet with Otsego County Sheriff: (Left to Right) Sheriff Devlin, Lt. Breigle, Ranger Laymon, Ranger Ellis, Ranger Cooley

Hamlet of Claryville
Ulster County
On Jan. 5 and 6, Forest Ranger Lieutenant LaPierre, a Wilderness Medical Associates instructor, led a Wilderness First Responder training course at Frost Valley YMCA for Rangers from DEC regions one, three, four, and seven, which cover the Long Island, Hudson Valley, and Central NY regions. Rangers take the course annually to refresh wilderness first responder skills including assessing vital signs, providing emergency care in the wilderness, and making crucial evacuation decisions.

Rangers carry another Ranger up a hill in the woods during training
Wilderness first responder training

Ranger sits with leg wrapped during training
Wilderness first responder training

Town of Catharine
Schuyler County
Stolen Vehicle:
On Jan. 6 at 2:23 p.m., while patrolling Connecticut Hill Wildlife Management Area, Ranger Roberts found an abandoned vehicle without license plates. Ranger Roberts ran the vehicle identification number and determined the truck was stolen from Seneca County. The Seneca County Sheriff's Department notified the owner and is investigating.

Black pickup truck stuck in deep mud
Stolen truck in Schuyler County

pickup truck that was stuck in the mud, now on tow truck
Stolen truck in Schuyler County

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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