DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights
Forest Ranger Actions for 8/19 – 8/25/18
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 Keene
Wilderness Search: On August 19 at 11:30 p.m., a 27-year-old Schenectady man was reported overdue from a hike in the Dix Mountain Range. Due to hiker’s limited equipment and experience, 16 DEC Forest Rangers were assigned the morning of August 20 to find him. At 1:10 p.m., as a state police helicopter flew over Dix Mountain, Assistant Forest Ranger Odell heard the missing man yell. Within minutes Odell found the man and flagged down the helicopter, which picked up the pair and brought them to the Keene Valley Fire House. The hiker needed no medical care.
Town of Hunter
Wildland Rescue: On August 21, DEC Forest Rangers rescued a 16-year-old YMCA camper hit by a falling rock while climbing a waterfall. The youth was knocked unconscious into a pool of water. Rangers and local paramedics and ambulance personnel stabilized the youth in rescue equipment designed to move patients with head or spinal injuries. It took an estimated five hours to bring the youth to a waiting ambulance for transportation to Columbia Memorial Hospital.
Town of Shandaken
Wilderness Search: On August 21, the mother of a 20-year-old inexperienced hiker reported that he was exhausted and unable to self-rescue from climbing Slide Mountain. Within 30 minutes of beginning their search, three DEC Forest Rangers found the Endwell man asleep along the trail. With some food and water, the hiker regained strength to walk out with the responding Rangers. Within two hours, Rangers reunited the hiker with family without need of additional first aid.
Franklin and Hamilton Counties
Wildfires: On August 23 and 24, DEC Forest Rangers contained three different wildfires on state lands resulting from campfires that were not extinguished. Each fire burned one tenth of an acre of forest soil. Summer campfire-caused wildfires typically burn the organic material in the ground around an unextinguished campfire. This leads to the death of surrounding trees and destroys the campsite. Although much of the state received rain that caused flooding, the interior Adirondack Mountains have received slightly less than usual rainfall amounts.
Town of Hunter
Wilderness Recovery: On August 24, state and local police and Forest Rangers responded to a report of an unresponsive man collapsed on a hiking trail in the Kaaterskill Wild Forest. Within 30 minutes, Rangers and paramedics were attempting life-saving efforts on the 65-year-old Rhinebeck man. State Police and Environmental Conservation Police Officers conducted an on-scene investigation pending a coroner’s finding.
Town of Harrietstown
Wilderness Recovery: On August 24, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch was notified by Franklin County 9-1-1 of a 59-year-old New Jersey woman receiving CPR near the summit of Seymour Mountain. One Forest Ranger and a North Country Life Flight paramedic were airlifted by State Police helicopter to Seymour Mountain where they found the woman deceased. After preparing a suitable evacuation site, her body was removed by helicopter and her hiking party was escorted off the mountain.
Town of New Hudson
Unattended State Land Death: On August 25, DEC Forest Rangers were notified of a lost hunter in the Hanging Bog Wildlife Management Area. State Police and Rangers were directed to the body of the missing 56-year-old Portageville man by his companion. His body was found within a marijuana plot. The County Coroner determined a natural cause of death and the plantation was removed by Rangers and State Police. No further investigation is anticipated.
Town of Hunter
Wilderness Rescue: On August 25, DEC Forest Rangers responded to an injured hiker with a knee injury. Seven DEC Rangers responded along with Tannersville Fire, Rescue and Paramedics. Due to the rugged terrain and nature of injury, the 37-year-old Binghamton man needed to be evacuated by helicopter. Within five hours, Rangers had the injured hiker hoisted into a State Police helicopter, transferred to Hunter Ambulance, and transported to Columbia Memorial Hospital.
Town of Granger
Wildland Search: On August 25, a 52-year-old man and 51-year-old woman from North Tonawanda reported to 9-1-1 that they were lost after dark while walking through a friend’s property. The 9-1-1 operator traced the location of the couple’s call and told the pair to stay put. Within two hours, Forest Rangers located the pair and escorted the subjects back to their camp without injury or need of further assistance.