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 Greig
Wildland Search: On Oct. 24 at 9:56 p.m., Lewis County 911 contacted Ray Brook Dispatch requesting Forest Ranger assistance to find an overdue hunter in Brantingham. Four Forest Rangers and Environmental Conservation Police Officer (ECO) Tim Worden responded. Forest Ranger Luke Evans was the first on scene and fired signal shots from the road. He received a response from the hunter at 10:48 p.m. Ranger Evans, accompanied by a State Trooper, immediately proceeded in the direction of the shot while other units responded. The hunter was located in good health at 11:10 p.m. in the Independence River Wild Forest. The hunter, who built a fire to stay warm, was returned to his vehicle by midnight. He had become lost after losing his compass and had no flashlight or cell phone coverage.
Town of Keene
Wildland Rescue: On Oct. 22 at 4:41 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a transferred call from Franklin County 911 from a hiker reporting that a 27-year-old companion from Astoria had injured her knee halfway up Basin Mountain. Forest Rangers Peter Evans and James Giglinto were dispatched to respond on a UTV on the Southside Trail to the John’s Brook Outpost. The Rangers arrived at 8 p.m., and located the group just below the Slant Rock lean-to at 9:56 p.m. After administering basic first aid, the group continued moving out until 11 p.m., when the injured hiker advised she could no longer walk. Ranger Giglinto requested seven additional Rangers for a carry out. The next morning, Rangers arrived at the Keene Valley Fire Department and headed into the John’s Brook Valley. New York State Police Aviation, with Ranger Daniel Fox on board, left the Lake Clear Airport at 8:28 a.m., and landed at Johns Brook. The injured hiker was flown directly to the Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake.
Town of Keene
Wildland Rescue: On Oct. 28, a 19-year-old Mount Sinai man and a 20-year-old Syracuse man reported to DEC Ray Brook Dispatch that they were near the summit of Mount Marcy when one of the men injured his knee after falling on the slippery terrain. Six Forest Rangers and the Lake Colden interior caretaker were dispatched to evacuate the pair. A rescue by helicopter was prohibited because of cloudy, rainy weather. The pair met up with one Ranger during their descent and continued to slowly hike out to Marcy Dam. Within five hours of their call, the pair were transported by UTV to the Adirondack Loj parking lot, where both men said they would seek further medical attention on their own.