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Forest Rangers

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Forest Ranger Emergency Contact:

  • 518-408-5850
  • 518-891-0235 (Adirondacks)

New York's rich and diverse forests, wildlands and wildernesses are protected by the Division of Forest Protection's Forest Rangers. As police officers, wildland firefighters and wilderness first responders, rangers are prepared to protect the state's forests and the people who use these great natural resources from all kinds of dangers. Each day and regardless of weather, forest rangers patrol 5.0 million acres of Department-administered public lands and easements by vehicle, boat, ATV, snowmobile, aircraft, bicycle, foot, skis or snowshoes. Each ranger is required to reside within the ranger district in which she/he is assigned but emergencies and special events will require them to work anywhere and at anytime. Quite often, rangers are asked to assist other agencies with complex emergency or law enforcement incidents that have occurred in or near a forested area. Since New York is has 18.6 million acres of forested lands, rangers are busy year-round accomplishing their unique mission.

The New York State Forest Ranger force is composed of 134 forest rangers, lieutenants, captains and directors stationed at locations across the state, with the greatest numbers located in the Adirondack and Catskill Parks. The reports and rosters linked from this page provide more information about New York's rangers, including contact information.


Forest Rangers are uniformed professionals that have protected the public lands, natural resources, and people of New York State for over 100 years. In 1885, the New York State legislature established the Forest Preserve of New York State, setting aside land in the Adirondacks and Catskills to be protected as "forever wild." The year 1885 also marks the beginning of the forest ranger services in New York. Rangers were originally known as Fire Wardens. In 1911, the Conservation Department was formed and shortly thereafter came the title Forest Ranger. Today, Forest Rangers provide care, custody and control on approximately 5 million acres of DEC administered public lands and easements.

Search and Rescue

Forest Rangers organize and conduct wildland search and rescue operations within New York State. These missions consist of searching for lost persons, downed civilian aircraft, and rescue operations for persons in wild and remote areas. Search and rescue operations often lead Rangers into remote wilderness areas, from the rugged mountainous peaks of the Adirondacks to low lying river valleys. Their knowledge of advanced first aid, land navigation, and rope rescue techniques are often critical to the success of a mission.


Forest Rangers are sworn Police Officers authorized to enforce all state laws, with special emphasis on Environmental Conservation Law and the protection of state lands and the public using state lands. Every Forest Ranger must successfully complete a rigorous 26-week Basic Training School before being assigned to a geographic area.

Each day and regardless of weather, a ranger may patrol their assigned areas by vehicle, boat, ATV, snowmobile, aircraft, bicycle, foot, skis, or snowshoes.

Fire Management

Wildland fire management, including prevention and suppression, has been a traditional role of the Forest Rangers job. Today's Ranger is responsible for planning forest fire suppression activities and supervising wildland firefighting forces. Rangers provide training to volunteers and local fire departments in wildland firefighting techniques. Each Ranger is trained and equipped for immediate response to outbreaks of wildfires.

For more information on Wildfires and Wildfire in New York, see the "Important Links" on the upper right side of this page.


Forest Rangers promote an understanding of New York's wild lands and the proper use of its natural resources. They teach both adults and children how to avoid life threatening situations, while promoting natural resource protection.

If you have an emergency where a forest ranger is needed, call 911 and ask for DEC Forest Ranger assistance or call the Department's Public Protection Dispatch at 518-408-5850.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Division of Forest Protection is to provide public safety and state land protection through expertise in wildland search, rescue, fire, law enforcement and incident management throughout the State of New York. The Division protects five million acres of state-owned, department-managed lands and easements as well as the people who use these lands. For 133 years, New York State Forest Rangers have extinguished wildfires, found and rescued the lost and injured, and enforced state land use and wildfire prevention laws. Over three million acres of lands and easements managed by DEC are in the Adirondack Park, but every region has substantial state land resources that support public recreational use, habitat protection and open space.

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