DEC Forest Rangers – Week in Review
Recent Statewide Forest Ranger Actions
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 across New York State.
In 2021, DEC Forest 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 last decade, as well as during the COVID-19 pandemic, DEC saw an increase in people visiting State lands to experience New York’s abundant opportunities for outdoor recreation,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “DEC’s Forest Rangers continue to be on the front lines to help visitors get outside responsibly and get home safely, as well as to protect our state’s irreplaceable natural resources. Rangers’ knowledge of first aid, land navigation, and technical rescue techniques are critical to the success of their missions, which for more than a century have taken them from remote wilderness areas with rugged mountain peaks, to white water rivers, and throughout our vast forests statewide.”
Town of Hardenburgh
Wilderness Rescue: On July 19 at 11:45 a.m., Ray Brook Dispatch transferred a call from a 15-year-old camper to Ranger Ashida. The camper reported that their 19-year-old counselor had slipped and hurt her ankle on the red trail coming down from Balsam Lake Mountain. Ranger Martin reached the subject and worked with Beaverkill Fire to carry out the patient to a waiting ambulance. Beaverkill Ambulance transported the subject for further medical attention. Resources were clear at 3 p.m.
Rescue in Hardenburgh
Town of North Elba
Wilderness Rescue: On July 20 at 7:15 a.m., Northern Frontier Camp of Indian Lake contacted Ray Brook Dispatch to report a 17-year-old camper having a seizure near the Flowed Lands Lake. The camper from Delaware was attempting to hike 22 High Peaks in approximately one week. Forest Rangers Evans and Martin responded with the Lake Colden caretaker. The caretaker reached the subject at the Herbert Brook lean-to and brought them to the Lake Colden Outpost for possible aviation evacuation. At 10:38 a.m., New York State Police (NYSP) Aviation landed at Lake Colden where Rangers helped the subject into the helicopter, which brought the camper to the hospital for further treatment.
City of Newburgh
Hoist Training: On July 21, nine Forest Rangers and four Assistant Forest Rangers participated in hoist training in conjunction with NYSP Aviation. The training held at the NYSP hangar at Stewart Airport was the first hoist training for the Assistant Forest Rangers.
Hoist training at Stewart Airport
Hoist training at Stewart Airport
Town of Ticonderoga
Wilderness Rescue: On July 22 at 4:10 p.m., Forest Ranger Kabrehl responded to a call for two hikers who became lost on the Grizzle Ocean Mountain trail and were running out of water. The 43- and 15-year-old hikers from Buskirk were planning to hike the big loop to Pharaoh Lake and back to the Putnam Pond Campground. The hikers made it to Pharaoh Lake and headed toward Grizzle Ocean, but lost the trail near Wolf Pond. The subjects mistakenly thought they were in the Grizzle Ocean outlet and hiked upstream to find the trail. When they became exhausted and dehydrated, they called 911. Ranger Kabrehl found the subjects at 7 p.m., provided water, and helped the pair back to the campground. Resources were clear at 9 p.m.
Town of Keene
Wilderness Rescue: On July 24 at 7:40 p.m., Forest Ranger Mecus found an injured hiker on the way down Mount Marcy. The 27-year-old from Ballston Lake became separated from her family at the summit and took a wrong turn at the Phelps junction. The hiker fell in a drainage and hurt her leg. Ranger Mecus bandaged the injury and helped the subject to the Johns Brook outpost. At 10:40 p.m., Ranger Lewis arrived and assisted the hiker to the Garden trailhead. At 12:10 a.m., the hiker was reunited with her family.
Town of Harrietstown
Wilderness Rescue: On July 24 at 9:45 p.m., Franklin County 911 requested Forest Ranger assistance for a pair of hikers on the Calkins Brook trail on the way down from Seward Mountain. The 49-year-old from Potsdam was out of water, suffering from dehydration, and didn’t think he could make it to the trailhead. Rangers Curcio, DiCintio, Lewis, O’Connor, and Praczkajlo responded. At 12:40 a.m., Ranger Curcio reached the subject and provided food and water. Rangers helped the hikers to the trailhead where the subject declined further medical care. Resources were clear at 1:50 a.m.
Village of Wurtsboro
Wildland Fire: On July 25 at 11:30 a.m., Sullivan County 911 reached out to Ray Brook Dispatch requesting Forest Ranger assistance with a ground fire that was reigniting on a private wooded lot in Wurtsboro. According to the Wurtsboro Fire Chief, the fire was first reported on July 24 at 2 p.m. Multiple fire departments responded to suppress the fire. Ranger Lieutenant Ashida and Ranger Pries responded and estimated the fire at 0.8 acres. A lighter was found near the origin of the fire the day before, but nothing else at the scene indicated the cause. DEC continues to urge New Yorkers to practice the utmost safety when building campfires this summer. Dry weather throughout June and July has increased the risk of fires. The DEC website has more information about how to reduce the risk of wildfires.
Fire in Wurtsboro
Town of Neversink
Parking Enforcement: On July 25 at 4 p.m., the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office requested Forest Ranger assistance with parking issues at the Claryville Fishing Access Site. Rangers Martin and Rusher responded to find 16 cars in a lot intended for six cars. Several tickets were issued for fishing access site violations.
Parking violations at Claryville Fishing Access Site
Town of Fine
St. Lawrence County
Forest Ranger Academy: The Division of Forest Protection’s 23rd Basic School for Forest Rangers is underway at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s Ranger School campus in Wanakena. Ranger recruits recently received training in defensive tactics, community/victim resources, crime prevention, Environmental Conservation Law State land enforcement, deck and seamanship, and Class C vessels including canoes and kayaks. Upon graduation, recruits will be assigned to patrol public lands across the state.
Forest Ranger recruit crime prevention training
Forest Ranger recruit water training
State of New York
Becoming a Forest Ranger: Individuals interested in helping protect people and natural resources throughout the state by becoming a Forest Ranger are reminded that the deadline to apply for the civil service exam is Aug. 3, 2022. The Civil Service Exam is Sept. 17, 2022. More information is available on the DEC website.
Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hike Smart NY, Adirondack Backcountry Information, and Catskill Backcountry Information webpages for more information.
If a person needs a Forest Ranger, whether it’s for a search and rescue, to report a wildfire, or to report illegal activity on state lands and easements, they should call 833-NYS-RANGERS. If a person needs urgent assistance, they can call 911. To contact a Forest Ranger for information about a specific location, the DEC website has phone numbers for every Ranger listed by region.