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.
Town of Wilmington
End of Watch: On June 9, hundreds of people paid their respects at a memorial for Forest Ranger Captain Christopher Kostoss. Captain Kostoss died by suicide on May 31. He served as a Ranger for 23 years and was involved in countless search and rescue missions.
Commissioner Basil Seggos described him as “a tireless advocate for mental health awareness, particularly among his fellow Rangers.
His death is a painful reminder of the critical need to promote wellness and destigmatize issues surrounding mental health that prevent individuals from seeking treatment.” Kostoss was 49 years old.
Town of Webb
Rope Rescue Training: On June 12, Forest Ranger Lt. Hoag, Ranger McCartney, and Assistant Ranger Bolton conducted rope rescue training with Old Forge Fire Department at Bald Mountain. Forest Rangers and Fire Department members reviewed patient packaging with a wheeled litter, anchor systems, and the setup of a component-based system for low-angle rescues. The training allowed 10 Junior Firefighters to get signed off to assist with rope rescues that commonly occur along the trail to the Bald Mountain Fire Tower. This joint training allows personnel to become familiar with equipment utilized by both agencies to undertake rescues together.
Town of Fine
St. Lawrence County
Forest Ranger Academy: This month, the Division of Forest Protection continued the 23rd Basic School for Forest Rangers hosted at the SUNY ESF Ranger School campus in Wanakena. Ranger recruits received training in criminal procedure law, penal law, and physical fitness and wellness as part of basic police officer training. Ranger recruits also completed their first physical ability test. Upon graduation, recruits will be assigned to patrol public lands across the state.
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.