DEC Forest Rangers – Week in Review

For release: Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Recent Statewide Ranger Actions

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) rangers respond to search and rescue incidents throughout the state. Working with other state agencies, local emergency response organizations, and volunteer search and rescue groups, Forest Rangers locate and retrieve lost, injured, or distressed people throughout the state of New York.

In 2021, DEC rangers conducted 426 search and rescue missions, extinguished wildfires, participated in prescribed fires that served to rejuvenate hundreds of acres of land, and worked on cases that resulted in thousands of tickets or arrests.

“Over the past decade, as well as during the COVID-19 pandemic, DEC has seen an increase in the number of people visiting state lands to experience New York City’s many outdoor recreation opportunities,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “DEC rangers continue to be on the front lines of helping visitors get out responsibly and return home safely, as well as protecting our state’s irreplaceable natural resources. first aid, land navigation and rescue skills are essential to the success of their missions, which for more than a century have taken them from remote wilderness areas with rugged mountain peaks, to whitewater rivers and through our vast statewide forests.”

Town of New Windsor
Orange County
Forest Fire Suppression Aerial Training:
On June 30, DEC Region 3 rangers participated in helicopter training with the New York State Police Aviation Unit at Stewart Airport. Rangers helped guide the helicopter pilot to the water to fill the 240 gallon bucket before determining the proper altitude to dump the water over the wildfires. During this exercise, crews hit targets to ensure accuracy.

Bucket training in New Windsor

Helicopter releasing a large amount of water over a field during training
Bucket training in New Windsor

Town of Schron
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
Around 5 p.m. July 2, Ranger Quin responded to a report of a subject with a broken ankle in Schroon Falls. North Hudson Fire and Schroon Lake Fire and Emergency Rescue Services assisted Ranger Quinn in transporting the 46-year-old man from Long Island to a waiting ambulance. Schroon Lake EMS transported subject to Frontier Town, where a helicopter transported subject to hospital.

Town of Waverley
Franklin County
Wilderness Rescue:
At 4 p.m. July 2, Franklin County 911 requested ranger assistance for a hiker who had broken his ankle on Azure Mountain. DiCintio and O’Connor Rangers responded with St. Regis Falls Ambulance and St. Regis Falls and Dickinson Fire Departments. Rangers helped treat the injury and wrapped the 42-year-old Canadian in a litter to carry him to the parking lot. Resources were clear at 6:30 p.m.

Town of Hunter
Greene County
Wilderness Rescue:
At 11:40 a.m. July 3, Ranger Gullen responded to a 61-year-old Long Island man who fell from an embankment off the Kaaterskill Rail Trail. Subject fell 30 feet. They had no memory of the fall, severe pain in the ribs and a broken wrist. Ranger Gullen was joined by Rangers Allwine, Dawson and Martin to set up a steep angle elevation using a SKED and vacuum mattress. Once the subject was successfully returned to the trail, Rangers loaded the hiker into a Ranger truck and then into a waiting ambulance. Resources were cleared at 3:30 p.m.

Ranger on a steep trail in the woods rescuing an injured hiker
Kaaterskill Rail Trail Rescue

Town of Highland
Sullivan County
Wilderness rescue:
At 11:50 a.m. on July 4, Ranger Franke responded to a water rescue on the Delaware River near Hillside Road. A 69-year-old woman from New Jersey had her foot caught in a rock, and the current prevented the subject from freeing herself. A National Park Service ranger kayaked to the subject and freed his foot. Ranger Franke and a member of the Yulan Fire Department swam to the subject, secured her personal flotation device, and assisted her onto the airboat Lumberland. Other responding agencies include the Lumberland and Shahola Fire and Rescue Departments, the Highland Fire Department and the Sullivan County Sheriff‘s Department. Resources were cleared at 1 p.m.

Town of Wawarsing
Ulster County
Wilderness Rescue:
At 4:00 p.m. July 4, Ulster County dispatch requested ranger assistance for an injured hiker in Vernooy Kill State Forest. Rangers Franceschina and Rusher reached the 64-year-old from New Jersey and determined she had an unstable leg injury. With assistance from the Ellenville and Napanoch Fire Departments, Rangers wrapped up the subject and transported her to the road where Ellenville EMS provided patient care and transported her to hospital . Resources were clear at 4:50 p.m.

Rangers load injured hiker onto UTV
Rescue at Vernooy Kill State Forest

Rangers and emergency response teams in the parking lot while rescuing an injured hiker
Rescue at Vernooy Kill State Forest

Be sure to prepare and plan well before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hike Smart NY, Adirondack Backcountry Information, and Catskill Backcountry Information webpages for more information.

If anyone needs a ranger, whether for search and rescue, reporting a wildfire, or reporting illegal activity on state lands and easements, call 833-NYS- RANGERS. If someone needs urgent assistance, call 911. To contact a ranger for information about a specific location, the DEC website has phone numbers for each ranger listed by region.

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