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 2019, DEC Forest Rangers conducted 337 search and rescue missions, extinguished 74 wildfires that burned a total of 212 acres, participated in 29 prescribed fires that burned and rejuvenated 645 acres, and worked on cases that resulted in 2,507 tickets or arrests.
“DEC celebrates our 50th anniversary this year, but our Forest Rangers have been on the front lines for even longer, protecting New York’s wildlife, natural resources, residents, and visitors for more than a century,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “The State’s brave Forest Rangers have a vast knowledge of first aid, land navigation, and technical rescue techniques that are critical to the success of their missions in remote wilderness areas, rugged mountainous peaks, white water rivers, frozen lakes, and forested areas statewide. We are proud of the work our Forest Rangers perform and look forward to another 50 years and beyond of highly trained service.”
Statewide Response to Winter Storm Gail
In anticipation of Winter Storm Gail, Forest Rangers, along with other DEC staff, were deployed to various staging areas across the state to assist with the State’s response. Forest Rangers were assigned to Dutchess County and Oneonta on Dec. 16, and to the High Peaks rest area, Warrensburg, Saratoga, Northville, and Lowville on Dec. 17. Resources were moved as needed due to the changing track of the storm, including providing coverage to the Capital Region and I-81 corridor north of Binghamton. Following the closure of the highway, two crews patrolled and performed welfare checks on stranded motorists and helped shovel out tractor trailers and other vehicles.
Town of North Collins
Flat Ice Rescue Training: On Dec. 17, Region 9 Forest Rangers participated in flat ice rescue training. Rangers practiced various techniques of the “reach, throw, row, and go” rescue sequence. Thin ice presented a challenging training environment, representative of real-world conditions.
DEC Reminds Hikers to Secure Vehicles and Stow Valuables: A series of vehicle break-ins occurred last weekend at trailheads parking areas along Route 73 in the High Peaks region. DEC and State Police are investigating. Trailhead parking lots are not monitored, and parking is at the user’s own risk. Remember to lock vehicles before leaving trailheads. To minimize risk, do not leave valuable items in your vehicle. If you must bring them, store them out of sight to avoid attracting attention. If that is not possible, store valuables out of sight. If hikers experience a break-in, report the incident to State Police by calling 518-873-2750.
Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hike Smart NY and Adirondack Backcountry Information webpage for more information.