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 2017, DEC Forest Rangers conducted 346 search and rescue missions, extinguished 55 wildfires that burned a total of 191 acres, participated in 29 prescribed fires that burned and rejuvenated 564 acres, and worked on cases that resulted in nearly 3,000 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 Beekman
Search: On June 14 at 4:18 p.m., Dutchess County 911 contacted DEC Dispatch requesting Forest Ranger assistance with a 38-year-old woman from Bronxville who became disoriented on Beacon Mountain due to a number of trees that had fallen on the trail. Forest Rangers Lincoln Hanno and Patrick Lee responded and located subject at 5:14 p.m. in good health. The subject was returned to her vehicle and the incident concluded at 8 p.m.
Town of Inlet
Search: On June 15 at 3:30 p.m., Herkimer County 911 contacted DEC Dispatch requesting Forest Ranger assistance with a 24-year-old Cicero woman who became disoriented while hiking Black Bear Mountain. Forest Rangers Greg Hoag and Gary Miller responded to the Moose River Plains Wild Forest and headed to coordinates obtained from the woman’s phone. At 5:40 p.m., the subject walked out at Eighth Lake Campground. Forest Ranger Bob Coscomb responded to transport the subject back to her vehicle and no injuries were reported.
Town of Henderson
Rescue: On June 17 at 9:44 a.m., Forest Ranger Howard Thomes was patrolling Black Pond Wildlife Management Area when he responded to a call from Jefferson County 911 regarding a 59-year-old male from Wilkes Barre, Penn., who had fallen near Black Pond Beach and was in distress. Ranger Thomes located the subject, and a member of his party had already started CPR. Henderson EMS, and Belleville and Ellisburg first responders arrived on scene and transported the subject to a local hospital, where he is recovering.
Town of Stratford
Arrest: On June 17 at 1:34 p.m., a Forest Ranger responded to Stewarts Landing after receiving a report of illegal camping and motor vehicle activity on state land. After further investigation, several subjects were seen leaving the area. Upon interviewing the subjects, one person was arrested for illegal possession of an unlicensed handgun. The subject was arraigned in the Town of Perth Court and sent to the Fulton County Correctional Facility in lieu of $1,000 bail. Another subject was issued a ticket for possession of marijuana. The remaining subjects were issued tickets for camping within 150 feet of a roadway. The investigation is ongoing.
Town of Keene
Rescue: On June 17 at 2:06 p.m., DEC Dispatch received a call from the High Peaks Information Center reporting a 17-year-old women from Lake Placid who had suffered a non-weight bearing injury to her ankle. Forest Ranger Jim Giglinto responded and located the hiker 1.5 miles from the trailhead. The women’s injury was assessed and stabilized. The subject was then assisted back down to the trailhead with the assistance of her hiking partner and the Ranger. The subject sought medical assistance on her own and the incident concluded 4:03 p.m.
Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hiking Safety (http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28708.html) and Adirondack Backcountry Information (http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7865.html) webpage for more information.