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For Release: Tuesday, July 18, 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."

Town of Horicon
Warren County
Wilderness Rescue:
On July 11 at 11:22 a.m., Forest Rangers Donegan and Perryman responded to a call for an injured hiker on Stevens Mountain. Rangers reached the 53-year-old from Cortlandt Manor, treated their shoulder injury, and helped them out of the woods. The Rangers and hiker reached Camp Reed at 2:44 p.m.

Town of Shandaken
Ulster County
Wilderness Search:
On July 12 at 6:30 p.m., Central Dispatch called Forest Ranger Horn about a lost hiker in the Slide Mountain Wilderness. Cell phone coordinates placed the 26-year-old from West Islip near the summit of Wittenberg Mountain. Ranger Horn spoke to the subject via phone and determined that due to their lack of experience and proper gear, the hiker should wait there for Ranger assistance. Rangers Horn and Sweeney reached the subject at 10:45 p.m., provided gear, food and water, and began escorting him toward the trailhead. Resources were clear at 2 a.m.

Town of Hunter
Greene County
Wilderness Rescue:
On July 12 at 6 p.m., Forest Rangers Dawson and Jackson responded to Hunter Mountain for a report of a hiker with a leg injury. The 41-year-old from Scotia indicated she could not put any weight on the leg and used a walking stick to make it out to her car. The subject called Ranger Lt. Pachan to alert Rangers she was out of the woods, but in a lot of pain. Rangers Dawson and Jackson provided medical care and the hiker drove herself to urgent care. Resources were clear at 9:07 p.m.

Village of Hammondsport
Steuben County
Public Outreach:
On July 13, DEC partnered with Rochester Accessible Adventures to host an inclusive fishing event at Birdseye Hollow State Forest. Rochester Accessible Adventures' mission is to improve the health and wellness of people with disabilities by guiding communities to create a culture of physical accessibility, social inclusion, and equitable access in recreation. Forest Rangers Carpenter and Staples, along with staff from DEC's Division of Lands and Forests, and DEC's Division of Law Enforcement, hosted the event and demonstrated basic fishing principles to the participants. These events showcase DEC properties designed to increase and improve access for all New Yorkers.

people of all ages and abilities fishing off accessible dock
Inclusive fishing event

person in wheelchair fishing off accessible dock
Inclusive fishing event

Town of Wilton
Saratoga County
On July 14, Forest Rangers Hess and Nahor taught a wildfire familiarization class to Saratoga Springs Fire Department Academy recruits. The firefighting recruits were from Albany Airport, Glens Falls, and Saratoga Springs fire departments. Rangers reviewed basic line construction and tactics with the participating firefighters, as well as the various tools and resources used when fighting wildfires.

Firefighter using tool in the woods
Wildfire class

Rangers teaching firefighters how to use tools
Wildfire class

Town of Shawangunk
Ulster County
Wilderness Rescue:
On July 15 at 3:30 p.m., Forest Rangers were notified about an injured hiker in Shawangunk Ridge State Forest. Bloomington, Cragsmoor, Summitville, and Walker Valley fire departments also responded. Volunteer firefighters determined the 60-year-old from Ithaca had an unstable leg injury. Firefighters drove three-quarters of a mile into the woods. Rangers and firefighters then hiked the final three-quarters of a mile to reach the subject, splinted their leg, and packaged her into a litter for a carry-out. Mamakating EMS transported the subject to the hospital. Resources were clear at 6:40 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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