DEC statewide forest ranger highlights

ALBANY, NY —  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.”

Drone operator helps guide rescue crews to missing man 

Town of Colton
St. Lawrence County
Wilderness Rescue: On July 28 at 1:53 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Franklin County 911 reporting an injured woman at a Lows Lake Bog River Flow campsite in Lows Lake Primitive Area. The 65-year-old woman from White River Junction, VT, had fallen on a tree branch while walking up from the lake and suffered a severe leg laceration. The woman’s husband called 911. Forest Ranger Corenne Black and Assistant Ranger Neilson Snye responded to Lows Lake and then continued by canoe to arrive at the campsite by 2:43 p.m. Forest Ranger Black stabilized the patient and the Rangers evacuated her by canoe. Forest Rangers transported the woman by patrol vehicle to the Upper Dam, where she was transferred to Long Lake Ambulance at 3:45 p.m., for transport to a local hospital.

Town of Keene
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
  On July 23 at 5:34 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch was advised of a female hiker on Cascade Mountain with a knee injury. The caller reported the injured hiker was being assisted slowly down the trail and was approximately 1.5 miles from the trailhead. At 7:45 p.m., a second caller contacted Dispatch stating that the 50-year-old hiker from Erie, PA, was still approximately one mile from the trailhead and moving slowly. Forest Ranger James Giglinto responded and was with the hiker by 8:17 p.m. He assessed the knee injury, which was weight bearing, and advised the hiker to seek medical attention for what appeared to be a dislocation. The hiking party was out of the woods at 8:30 p.m., and the injured hiker stated she would seek further care on her own.

Town of Webb
Herkimer County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On July 26 at 1:05 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch was contacted by Herkimer County 911 reporting an injured hiker near the summit of Bald Mountain. The 27-year-old woman from Macedon was hiking to the summit when she slipped and injured her right ankle. Her hiking companion called 911 for help. Eight members of the Old Forge Fire Department responded with a stokes rescue litter. Forest Rangers Luke Evans, Martin Candee, and Lt. Scott Murphy also responded. The Old Forge rescue squad hiked up, located the injured woman, and stabilized the ankle. Forest Ranger Evans arrived on scene and assisted with carry out efforts. They reached the trailhead at 2:47 p.m., when the hiker was transferred to Old Forge Rescue ambulance for transport to a local hospital for treatment. The incident concluded at 3 p.m.

Town of Hunter
Greene County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On July 26, Forest Ranger Christine Nelson overheard a radio call from Green County 911 regarding a vehicle accident on Platte Clove Road. The vehicle was reported to be 200 feet down a steep embankment on Forest Preserve land with injuries to the single occupant. Eight Forest Rangers responded to the accident, as well as resources from Greene County EMS, Hunter Ambulance, Tannersville Fire and Rescue, Haines Falls Fire Department, Palenville Fire Department, Twin County Rope Rescue Team, New York State Police, Hunter Police Department, and Greene County Sheriff’s Department. Steep angle rope systems were deployed to extract the 63-year-old female driver from Woodstock from the steep, rocky terrain. After the successful completion of the three-hour rescue operation, the woman was transported to an Albany hospital by Hunter Ambulance. State Police, Greene County Sheriff’s Deputies, and Town of Hunter Police are investigating the cause of the incident.

DEC Forest Rangers use rope system to rescue accident victim 

Town of Rockland
Sullivan County
Campground Accident: On July 27 at 7:15 p.m., a 10-year-old girl was riding her bike in G loop in the Mongaup Pond Campground when she was struck by a car. The girl was thrown from her bike and knocked unconscious. Mongaup Pond Campground contacted Central Dispatch requesting Forest Ranger assistance. Forest Ranger Howard Kreft responded, as did DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officer (ECO) Ricky Wood. The child was evaluated by Livingston Manor Ambulance and released to her parents. Upon investigation, the car was driven by a 16-year-old girl from Brooklyn who was ticketed by New York State Police for driving without a license and failure to pass a bicycle safely.

Town of Clarence
Erie County
Wilderness Search:
 On July 28 at 8 a.m., State Police contacted Central Dispatch requesting Forest Ranger and ECO assistance to search the Tillman Preserve Wilderness Management Area for a 30-year-old male from Clarence. The subject had run from a welfare check the night before. Type 1 crews, K-9s, helicopters, and drones searched the trails and open areas of the thickly vegetated swamp. The man was located in the wilderness area by a State Police drone operator. Working in tandem with the drone, Forest John Ranger Kennedy used his drone to walk a ground crew into the wilderness area to locate the man and to bring him out to the Shisler Road parking area. The man was evaluated and taken to a local hospital by Twin City Ambulance for further evaluation. All units were cleared by 5:30 p.m.

Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hiking Safety and Adirondack Backcountry Information webpage for more information.