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 the backcountry.
In 2018, DEC Forest Rangers conducted 346 search and rescue missions, extinguished 105 wildfires that burned a total of 845 acres, participated in 24 prescribed fires that burned and rejuvenated 610 acres, and worked on cases that resulted in 2,354 tickets or arrests.
"Across New York, DEC Forest Rangers are on the front lines helping people safely enjoy the great outdoors," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "Their knowledge of first aid, land navigation, and technical rescue techniques are critical to the success of their missions, which take them from remote wilderness areas with rugged mountainous peaks, to white-water rivers, and throughout our vast forested areas statewide."
Recent missions carried out by DEC Forest Rangers include:
Town of Keene
Wilderness Rescue: On Feb. 5 at 9:24 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for Forest Rangers to respond to a SPOT locator beacon activation between Ausable Lake and Lower Ausable Lake. Two Kingston men, ages 41 and 44, activated the device with a request to relocate the trail. Two Rangers responded with snowmobiles to the AMR property in Keene to gain access to the area and search for the subjects. At 11:31 p.m., both men were located with no injuries and transported out to the AMR guard shack.
Town of Cheektowaga
Distressed Wildlife Complaint: At 3 p.m., Ranger John Kennedy was contacted by a Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve volunteer informing him that two male deer were entangled by their antlers and unable to free themselves. Ranger Kennedy notified ECO Scott Marshall for assistance. As Ranger Kennedy arrived on scene, he spotted six people with cameras taking photos of the two bucks. To ensure the bystanders’ safety, Ranger Kennedy advised the onlookers to back away to a safe distance. The two bucks were both standing and moving left to right trying to free themselves, but to no avail. With the aid of a reach pole, the officers separated the two animals. Although exhausted, both deer ran away in opposite directions and appeared to be in good health.
Two adult male deer entangled by their antlers (photo attached)
Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC's Hiking Safety and Adirondack Backcountry Information webpage for more information.