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 Fort Ann
Wilderness Rescue: On Nov. 23 at 2:10 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance for a 21-year-old woman from Philmont with knee and ankle injuries she sustained while hiking Pilot Knob Trail. The Pilot Knob Fire Department and North Queensbury Ambulance Squad were dispatched to the scene while Lt. John Solan sent four Forest Rangers to assist and retrieve the subject. After reaching the hiker, the Forest Rangers placed her injured leg in a splint and began a carry-out back to Pilot Knob Road. At 3:41 p.m., Ranger Evan Donegan reported that the subject was back to the trailhead and en route to a local hospital for medical treatment.
Town of Edwards
St. Lawrence County
Wilderness Search: On Nov. 25 at approximately 6:30 p.m., ECO Bret Canary received a call from a group of hunters in the Wolf Lake State Forest in St. Lawrence County. The group had lost communications with a member of their hunting party. ECO Canary contacted DEC’s Central Dispatch via radio to advise of the lost 50-year-old from Ogdensburg, and requested Forest Ranger assistance for a search. Rangers Nathan Shea and William Benzel responded. At 8:09 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received radio traffic from Ranger Shea that the subject had re-established contact with his hunting party. Ranger Shea proceeded into the State Forest to locate the lost hunter. The subject was escorted out of the woods by 8:30 p.m. in good health. The hunter had been lost in a beaver swamp without cell service, but eventually found his way back to the trail.