On Friday, December 2, Governor Kathy Hochul announced 38 new graduates from the 23rd Basic School for New York State Forest Rangers. As part of the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Division of Forest Protection, New York Forest Rangers protect the state’s natural resources and communities and stand ready to support states across the country in the face of emergencies like wildfires. The ceremony held in Lake Placid [the morning of Dec. 2] celebrated graduates from across New York State who followed extensive law enforcement and natural resources training in the classroom as well as in the field.
“From rescuing lost or injured hikers to fighting wildfires here in New York and across the nation, our dedicated Forest Rangers regularly put themselves in harm’s way to protect our communities,” Governor Hochul said. “I applaud this new class of Rangers for their hard work in completing an extremely difficult training regimen as they now join the ranks of hundreds of other officers who continue to protect New Yorkers and our treasured natural resources every day.”
For the last six months, recruits have endured strenuous training at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry campus in the hamlet of Wanakena and the Huntington Wildlife Forest in the town of Newcomb. The initial 40 Ranger recruits who entered the academy in May were trained in a wide range of rescue techniques – including rope rescues – and received extensive training in wildfire suppression, prescribed burns, water rescues and wildlife protection, among other skills. 38 graduates will join the State’s Forest Ranger force for a total of 159.
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “I am extremely proud of the individuals who chose to do undertake the rigorous training and hard work to become Forest Rangers and continue the proud tradition first started in the late 1800s to protect New York’s environment and the public. I wish these new Rangers nothing but success as they embark on this noble, challenging, and fulfilling career in State service.”
Department of Environmental Conservation Division of Forest Protection Director John Solan said, “Patrolling more than five million acres of land across the state, our Forest Rangers are dedicated to ensuring the public can safely enjoy our great outdoors while also protecting the State’s precious natural resources. Our Forest Rangers go above and beyond the call of duty here in New York and even assist other states by using their extensive training to help fight wildland fires and other law enforcement agencies to help find missing people or other public service. I am thrilled to have these men and women join our ranks.”
Upon graduation, recruits are assigned patrol areas and join the ranks of Forest Rangers currently serving across the state. In 2021, Department of Environmental Conservation 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 hundreds of tickets or arrests. For more information about New York State Forest Rangers, visit the Department of Environmental Conservation’s website at https://www.dec.ny.gov/
Here is a video from the ceremony: https://we.tl/t-
Below is the list of the graduates of the Department of Environmental Conservation’s 23rd Basic School for Forest Rangers:
Matthew P. Adams, Lake Clear
Gregory M. Bowler, Saranac Lake
Ashly M. Carabetta, New Rochelle
Nicholas K. Caswell, Warrensburg
Kaitlyn E. Clute, Saratoga Springs
Alexander M. Cooley, Oswego
David P. Corey, Tupper Lake
Peter J. Dempf, Bethlehem
Sean P. Dixon, Watertown
Audrey P. Emerson, Greig
Charles R. Foutch, Syracuse
Aaron D. France, Schoharie
Chelsea L. Geyer, Northville
Mary E. Greagan, Bethlehem
Robert G. Hamm, Pittstown
Michael E. Holdridge, Peru
Erich F. Horn Jr., Kingston
Jacob C. Jansen, Tupper Lake
Nathaniel S. Laymon, Ilion
Jacob R. Maxwell, Chittenango
Michael D. Miller, Branchport
Evan R. Nahor, Long Lake
Allison M. O’Connell, Lake Pleasant
Patrick J. Odell, Keene Valley
Joseph G. Ordway, Canisteo
Christopher J. Pelrah, Constantia
Seamus K. Peterson, Hicksville
Paul D. Quinones, Saratoga Springs
Jane C. Raffaldi-Smith, West Hurley
Ryan E. Richer, Horseheads
Allison M. Rooney, Keene
Aubrey M. Russo, Patchogue
Timothy J. Schweider, Lindenhurst
Neilson J. Snye, Tupper Lake
Tanner D. Stone, Schroon Lake
Nicholas D. Streczywilk, Cheektowaga
Dustin T. Vaile, Camden
Jacqueline K. Waligory, King Ferry
Photo at top: A total of 38 NYS Forest Rangers graduated during a ceremony in Lake Placid on Dec. 2, 2022. All NYS DEC Facebook page photos.
I admire Forest Rangers and I assume we need so many more.
Congratulations and best wishes to the 38 graduates of the 23rd Basic School for New York State Forest Rangers. You are now part of a distinguished response force with a history that reaches back 137 years.
Always remember that you are standing on the shoulders of all those forest rangers who have gone before you. Now go out and do us proud!
(Note – Your Forest Ranger Centennial History is now on-line at this site:)
Welcome to the thin green line.
Congratulations to all and I look forward to greater numbers of Forest Rangers in the woods and waters of our Forest Preserve.
Such wonderful news! Good luck and God’s speed for your work!
“Timothy J. Schweider, Lindenhurst”
Lindenhurst! Ahhh.. memories! That’s where I used to chum Fellers Pond with bread, then cast a line into it and wait for it to create ripples on the surface. Big, fat carp used to swim in that pool and here and there I would reel one in to shore. I kissed my first girl in that town, her name was Leslie Farrell; and I remember woods and fields that have long since turned into housing developments and concrete havens….. Geez! I can go on and on!
“Governor Kathy Hochul announced 38 new graduates from the 23rd Basic School for New York State Forest Rangers.”
I suppose there will be no more raising cain about hiring new forest rangers anytime soon, as was the case just a few years ago where there was nonstop griping, especially on this site. Money going to a good cause. We don’t always get this from the State…..There’s hope!
I am one of those gripers. Every graduating class adds more Rangers to the force, but keep in mind this is statewide – they aren’t slotted for the Adirondacks only. And we don’t know what attrition will be in the upcoming year either. Overtime and burnout also have been issues in the Adirondacks in recent years. We don’t hear much about this until representatives of the force make it known.
IMO, the Adirondacks are currently, and will continue to be under-served until we see Rangers out of their vehicles, regularly patrolling the backcountry trails and not merely responding to emergency dispatches. Having a force that is adequate to take care of emergencies and NOT take care of the backcountry trails/hikers/paddlers/campers/hunters by being a recognizable presence there to me is inadequate.
Boreas, I am in agreement.
Boreas says: ” the Adirondacks are currently, and will continue to be under-served until we see Rangers out of their vehicles, regularly patrolling the backcountry trails…”
> I was talking to my oldest brother recently Boreas, and he reminded me of those long ago days when mom and dad took us kids up to the Moose River Plains; took us out of school (I was in junior high) for two weeks just to camp in them woods, way back in those Plains in a camp up from Otter Brook. We weren’t supposed to be out of school but you know what….. in hindsight, that was better than sitting in a classroom. And you know what else? One year when we were way back in them woods, 2 hours in from the Cedar River Road entrance, who did we bump into? Mr. Stewart, the principal of my junior high school (Lindenhurst) at the time, and my brother Jimmy’s science teacher at the time, Mr. Kissell; and less than a handful of others were in that party. Mind you, to get to where we met in them deep woods was an 8-hour road trip (2 of those hours on dirt roads) from Long Island back then! What are the odds! I recall my dad saying over the years what Mr. Stewart said to him way back then (early 1970s) in reference to us kids being out of class and in them woods, “This is a better education for them than being in school” or similar words to that effect…..
I bring this up because I was sparked by what you say above about being under-served. Back then, I recall clearly, there was always at least one ranger at the Cedar River Flow headquarters where we would check-in whenever it was we went back into them woods. Always! I recall there was always the presence of rangers back in the Moose River Plains, who would check on camps frequently, Gary Lee being one of them.
The Explorer article about the new Rangers sounds pretty encouraging at least. It seems 22(?) Rangers will be earmarked for the Park. Now they will be spread around with a handful going to each section, but with this influx, at least it may reduce overtime and stress/burnout. Hopefully it will even get many Rangers out of the truck a little more for routine patrolling in the backcountry!