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 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 Webb
Wilderness Mountain Rescue: At 1:15 p.m. on Oct. 10, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch was contacted by a hiking group leader on Bald Mountain concerning a 73-year-old female from Apache, AZ, who fell near the summit, injuring her ankle. Five Rangers from Region 6 and two Rangers from Region 5 responded along with volunteers from the Old Forge Fire Department. Rangers reached the woman at 2:10 p.m. After treatment, she was packaged into a litter and prepared for a carry out. As the trail was muddy and slippery, low angel rope rescue techniques were used at five different locations along the trail. The rescue team arrived at the trailhead at 3:30 p.m., and the woman was transferred to Old Forge EMS and transported to St. Luke’s in Utica for treatment. The incident concluded at 4:30 p.m.
Town of Diana
Wilderness Search: On Oct. 13 at 4:24 p.m., Ranger Peter Evans was called by Lewis County 911 requesting assistance with locating a disoriented 51-year-old hunter from Harrisville. The hunter had started his day off of Route 812 when he realized he had become disoriented. He called for assistance, and the coordinates obtained by Lewis County 911 placed him about half a mile off Route 3. Under the direction of Lt. Scott Murphy, Rangers Luke Evans and Brandon Poulton were assigned to assist with the search. At 5:22 p.m., Rangers located the man and guided him to Route 3 where he got a ride back to his vehicle.