DEC Forest Rangers – Week in Review

For release: Tuesday, July 12, 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 lifesaving 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 to through our vast statewide forests.”

City of Minerva
Essex County
Underage alcohol consumption:
At 1:10 p.m. July 4, rangers responded to a report from a large group of off-duty camp counselors at a miners’ night out off Boreas Trail in Minerva. The Rangers issued 24 tickets for possession of alcohol by minors on state land and returned the subjects to their camps. Resources were clear at 4:35 p.m.

Town of North Hudson
Essex County
Wilderness rescue:
At 2 a.m. July 6, rangers were called to search for a group of campers returning from a hike up Mount Marcy. The 21 and 19 year old group leaders were with a 15 year old, two 13 year olds and a 12 year old. Despite rain in the forecast and the group’s general lack of hiking experience, their plan was to hike Marcy and Algonquin in one day. The group brought a beacon to keep in touch with people at camp and reached the summit of Marcy at 4:30 p.m. On the way down the group lost the trail and ended up behind Lake Colden in waist deep water. They turned and sent an SOS from the beacon at 12:15 a.m. The Colden Lake Warden reached the campers at 4 a.m. Rangers Martin and Quinn reached the group at 5:15 a.m. The group did not have enough food and blankets. The Rangers helped the group get to Colden Outpost and provided dry clothes, as well as food, drink, and beds. The group slept until about 11 a.m., before the Rangers helped them back to the trailhead at 4 p.m.

Campers rescued

Town of Keene
Essex County
Illegal camping:
On July 7, Rangers were alerted by Adirondack Mountain Club staff to two hikers camping above the final junction of the Van Hoevenberg Trail. An interior warden, ranger, and assistant ranger escorted the subjects to Adirondak Loj. Rangers issued nine tickets for multiple infractions, including camping above 4,000 feet, a campfire in the High Eastern Peaks and failing to maintain control of a dog.

two people with their dog clean up an illegal campsite
Illegal camping

Tupper Lake Village
Franklin County
MTB dropped:
At 1:30 p.m. July 7, rangers DiCintio, O’Connor, and Praczkajlo were on a boat patrol on Lake Tupper when they found a submerged ATV near the shore. Rangers examined the tracks and determined that someone had driven the vehicle off the bed of the tracks and onto a 20-foot embankment. The wrecked vehicle still had fishing rods attached, as well as a 25-inch walleye hanging from the rear rack. Rangers searched for an injured driver with negative results. A New York State Police trooper attended to the owner’s residence, but was told the 41-year-old man from Tupper Lake was out of town. Police eventually found him with a stolen winch he planned to use to retrieve the ATV. ECO Newell issued three tickets to the owner and Rangers pulled the ATV from the water.

ATV partially submerged in water
ATV dropped

Town of Hunter
Greene County
Wilderness rescue:
At 12:15 p.m. July 9, Rangers Dawson, Fox, and Skudlarek responded to Kaaterskill Falls for an injured hiker who had fallen from the stone stairway and was rolling down a steep incline. Ranger Dawson located the 12-year-old from Brooklyn, treated his unstable arm injury, and determined that the subject could walk without requiring additional rescue personnel for transportation. Ranger Dawson assisted subject and his family at the Route 23A trailhead where Hunter Ambulance was waiting to take him to Albany Medical Center. Resources were clear at 2:33 p.m.

Town of Hunter
Greene County
Wilderness rescue:
On July 9 at 7:45 p.m., Central Dispatch requested ranger assistance for a hiker suffering from persistent vomiting and weakness on the Kaaterskill Falls Trail. Ranger Fox responded with Haines Falls Fire, Tannersville Rescue, Cedar Grove and Centerville Fire, Hunter Ambulance and Greene County Paramedics. Ranger Fox joined the 23-year-old from Philadelphia at 8:30 p.m. and helped transport her to Laurel House Road where the group was met by an ambulance to take the subject to hospital.

Town of Easton
Washington County
Recovery from nature:
At 1 p.m. on July 10, Ray Brook Dispatch requested Forest Ranger’s assistance in the search for a six-year-old boy with autism, last seen at his home in Easton at 10:10 a.m. Forest Rangers and a Lt. ECO joined the New York members. State Police (NYSP), Albany County Sheriff’s Department, Washington County Sheriff’s Department, Greenwich Police, Middle Falls Fire/EMS, Argyle EMS, Greenwich Fire/EMS, and Northeast Mobile Search and Rescue. At 2:25 p.m., Rangers organized the search effort with NYSP using aviation and a dive team at a pond where a fisherman reported seeing the boy at 11 a.m. Ranger Donegan followed several footprints in the area. At 6:35 p.m., Ranger Lieutenant Kerr followed the footprints to the water’s edge of an adjacent small pond and saw something in the water. Lt. Kerr dove in and recovered the boy’s body, which was turned over to NYSP Greenwich Bureau of Criminal Investigations and the Washington County Coroner. NYSP Greenwich Bureau of Criminal Investigations is leading the investigation.

City of Johnsburg
Warren County
Wilderness rescue:
On July 10 at 11:30 a.m., Warren County 911 requested Forest Ranger assistance with an injured climber on Crane Mountain. Ranger Morehouse reached the trailhead when the caller reporting the incident said the 36-year-old Ballston Spa woman made it out on her own. At the trailhead someone else called for help with a broken wrist. The Forest Ranger fanned the wrist of a 58-year-old man from Stillwater. Ranger Morehouse then tracked down the original climber, who still needed help with his ankle and knee injury. The Ranger administered first aid and helped the climber back to the trailhead.

Town of Fine
St. Lawrence County
Ranger Academy:
The 23rd Forest Protection Division Basic Ranger School is underway at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry Ranger School campus in Wanakena. Ranger recruits recently received training in swimming and water survival, New York State boating law, US Coast Guard boating rules and the use of deadly force and defensive tactics. Upon graduation, recruits will be assigned to patrol public lands across the state.

Rangers overturning a blue raft in the water
Swimming and aquatic survival training

Aerial view of rangers in the water during training
Swimming and aquatic survival training

Rangers equipped with protective helmet and boxing gloves during training
Use of lethal force and training in defensive tactics

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, they should call 833- NYS-RANGERS. If someone needs urgent help, they can call 911. To contact a ranger for information about a specific location, the DEC website has the phone numbers for each ranger listed by region.

About Robert James

Check Also

Our 6 favorite films at the Banff Mountain Film Festival

“],”renderIntial”:true,”wordCount”:350}”> The annual Banff Mountain Film Festival, held in the scenic Canadian mountain town, is …