Town of Dannemora Clinton County Law Enforcement Action: On April 16 at 12 p.m., Forest Ranger Booth overheard New York State Police emergency radio traffic advising of a domestic situation involving a loaded firearm. Ranger Booth responded to the location, and once on scene, quickly sized up the situation. From a position of cover, the Ranger encouraged the male subject, who had access to a loaded firearm, to calmly come outside. After complying with Ranger Booth’s request, the unarmed subject was taken into custody and turned over to the State Police.
Town of Indian Lake Hamilton County Wilderness Rescue: On April 9 at 2:30 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from New York State Police B Command advising of a lost hiker in the OK Slip Falls area. The hiker stated she became disoriented while hiking out and was standing near a river. Forest Rangers Scott and Miller responded. Ranger Scott tried to call the woman, but due to limited cell service, texted her with instructions. Not knowing if the subject received the instructions, Rangers Scott and Miller searched the trail and found the 56-year-old woman from North Creek heading back in the correct direction. She had received the text message, but could not send a reply. The Rangers and hiker proceeded back to trailhead.
Town of Keene Essex County Wilderness Rescue: On Mar. 25 at 5:14 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a hiker reporting he was concerned that his 18-year-old friend was lost after the pair were separated on the trail for Mount Marcy in the High Peaks Wilderness Area. After speaking with the caller, Forest Ranger Praczkajlo advised that he and Forest Ranger O’Connor were responding to assist. Once on scene, Ranger Praczkajlo notified Dispatch that he and Ranger O’Connor made contact with the reporting party at Marcy Dam. Ranger Praczkajlo continued up the trail to locate the lost hiker while Ranger O’Connor began to escort the friend out of the woods. Lt. Burns advised that Ranger Lewis would respond to the Garden parking lot and begin to hike up the Mount Marcy trail from Johns Brook Valley.
Town of Fort Ann Washington County Wilderness Rescue: On Mar. 20 at 8:11 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for Forest Ranger assistance from Warren County 911 for a report of three 19-year-old hikers from Saratoga Springs lost on Buck Mountain in the Lake George Wild Forest. The reporting party stated the hikers had no light source and were cold. Forest Rangers St. Claire and Donegan responded to the trailhead and hiked into the woods, locating the lost group at 9:44 p.m. The hikers were in good condition and able to hike out on their own. All parties involved were cleared of the incident at 10:15 p.m.
Town of North Elba Essex County Wilderness Rescue: On Mar. 13 at 6:41 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a 27-year-old subject from Rochester suffering from a sore knee while hiking to Mount Marcy in the High Peaks Wilderness. The hiker did not have a headlamp or flashlight and reported that his four friends hiked out ahead of him. Just before 10 p.m., at Marcy Dam, Forest Ranger Sabo made contact with the hiker and two friends who had turned back to help him. Ranger Sabo and the hikers arrived back at the Loj parking lot at 11:16 p.m. and reunited the hikers with their group.
Town of Lake George Warren County Ice Rescue: On Feb. 25 at 4 p.m., Forest Ranger Donegan was notified of a snowmobile accident on Lake George with the snowmobiler still in the water. Ranger Donegan responded to the scene adjacent to a local marina while Forest Rangers Kabrehl, Perryman, and Lt. Kallen responded to a launch site with Airboat 54. Ranger Donegan donned a cold-water rescue suit, went into the water to look for the man, but could not immediately find him. A diver with the North Queensbury Fire Department then located the 35-year-old man from the Bronx, and together with Ranger Donegan and members of the Bay Ridge and Lake George fire departments, removed him from the water. Ranger Donegan and a Sheriff’s Deputy immediately began life-saving measures. The individual was turned over to the local EMS and transported to a local hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. Rangers stayed on scene with the airboat to assist the Warren County Sheriff’s Office with the investigation.
Town of Keene Essex County Wilderness Rescue: On Feb. 16 at 5:37 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch was notified of three overdue snowshoe hikers who left from the Garden parking area to hike Johns Brook Valley and had not returned. The hikers from Albany, NY, and Topeka, KS, did not have lights, overnight gear, or appropriate clothing for anticipated zero-degree temperatures. Forest Ranger Lewis responded to the location and confirmed the subjects’ vehicle was still at the trailhead. When interviewing family members, Ranger Lewis learned that one of the individuals has asthma and did not have her inhaler. Ranger Lewis retrieved the subject’s inhaler before responding to Johns Brook Lodge. Forest Rangers O’Connor and Martin also responded to the location with snowmobiles to extricate the unprepared snowshoers. On Feb. 17 at 1:20 a.m., Rangers and the three hikers were out of the woods and back at the trailhead.
ECOs Conduct Multi-Day Snowmobile Detail – Fulton County On Feb.12, Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs) Manns, Hilliard, Shaw, Toth, and Pasciak began a series of multi-day snowmobile details to ensure riders are complying with state regulations. The Officers started off conducting a snowmobile checkpoint on the trail system in the town of Broadalbin and shifted to trails in the village of Mayfield that evening after receiving complaints from landowners about snowmobilers going off trails and into fields, threatening crops in at least one case. ECOs received assistance from Troopers from the New York State Police’s Mayfield Station. The following day, ECOs Pasciak and Klein conducted a snowmobile patrol and checkpoints in the town of Caroga. The two-day detail resulted in six tickets issued for unregistered snowmobiles and modified exhaust systems, and one warning for attempting to ride on a closed trail section. For more information about snowmobile safety recommendations go to NYS Parks website.
Recent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions:Lewey Lake
Public Service: On Feb. 14, Forest Rangers Temple and Thompson were on snowmobile patrol in the Jessup River Wild Forest. While on patrol crossing Lewey Lake, the Rangers observed two abandoned snowmobiles that appeared to be broken down and stuck on the ice. The Rangers took the information from the snowmobile’s registration stickers and did a cursory search of the area looking for any signs of the snowmobile operators. With no signs of anyone in distress and the snowmobiles frozen in the surface slush of the lake, the Rangers continued their patrol and attempted to locate the operators through other means. On Feb. 15, Forest Rangers Thompson and Nally again patrolled the area and observed three individuals in a UTV attempting to recover the snowmobiles. The Rangers interviewed the group and learned that one of the snowmobiles broke down and was being towed out by the second when it began to have mechanical issues causing both sleds to get stuck. Prior to the Rangers’ arrival, the group attempted to remove the snowmobiles without proper equipment and got their UTV stuck in the surface slush, as well. Rangers proceeded to Moffitt Beach campground to gather equipment and returned, freeing all three machines from the slush. The Rangers then escorted the group off the ice. Due to one of the snowmobiles not being registered, the operator was issued a summons returnable to the Lake Pleasant Court. » Continue Reading.
Region 5 Ice Training: On Jan. 29, Feb. 1 and 4, Forest Rangers participated in three sessions of steep/vertical ice training in the Adirondacks. The training focused on climbing steep ice, mixed snow/ice, and rock-covered terrain to prepare Rangers for difficult and dangerous rescues on mountain slides and ice-filled gullies where wintertime accidents are frequent.
New York State has begun the process of opening up COVID-19 vaccination centers over many parts of the state. ECOs, Forest Rangers, and other DEC experts are on the front lines assisting federal, state, local and non-government entities build and support vaccination sites at multiple locations, filling various key positions in the incident command structure up to the highest level of incident commander and working closely with other DEC staff and partners in this important mission.
SUNY Albany New York State COVID-19 Vaccination Center: On Jan. 9, two Forest Rangers were deployed to assist the State’s efforts to stand up a mass vaccination site at the SUNY Albany Campus. Forest Rangers fill critical roles in the Incident Command System (ICS) structure that are crucial in the success of the mission, including serving as Operation and Planning Section Chiefs. On Jan. 15, the mass vaccination site was established, capable of handling more than 1,000 patients a day. At this site and others across the state, Rangers are joined by other DEC staff from more than a dozen divisions, as well as representatives from multiple state agencies.
Operation Back Road – Statewide DEC’s Division of Law Enforcement released the results of “Operation Back Road,” a recent statewide detail targeting illegal hunting from roads. During the 2020 hunting season, ECOs used technology, local intelligence, and 147 robotic decoy deer over 300 hours to catch poachers hunting from vehicles or along roadways, putting communities in danger. During the detail, ECOs apprehended 19 suspects for shooting at the decoys from roadways and issued tickets for 37 misdemeanors, 29 additional violations of the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL), and seven charges outside the ECL. Officers conducted the Operation Back Road detail during the last two weeks of the Northern Zone and last three weeks of the Southern Zone hunting seasons. During the 2020 fall hunting season, ECOs statewide issued more than 244 tickets for road hunting-related offenses.
Forest Ranger Gullen at the SUNY Albany Mass Vaccination Site/DEC photo
Town of North Elba Essex County Wilderness Rescue: On Jan. 18 at 8:57 a.m., Forest Ranger Acting Lt. Burns was notified of a hiker with a possible hip dislocation on Cobble Hill in the Saranac Lake Wild Forest. Three Forest Rangers responded to assist. Once on scene, Forest Rangers evaluated the 52-year-old woman from Lake Placid. After placing her in a vacuum splint, the Rangers packaged the subject into a litter and sled. The hiker was brought to the trailhead and transferred to the Lake Placid Volunteer Ambulance Service for additional medical treatment. All Rangers were back in service 10:24 a.m.
Photo: Wilderness Rescue in the Saranac Lake Wild Forest/DEC
Town of Dresden Washington County Wilderness Rescue: On Jan. 9 at 5:16 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a 28-year-old hiker from Ballston Spa who became disoriented and lost the trail while hiking Erebus Mountain. Three Forest Rangers responded to assist. Ranger Hess entered the Lake George Wild Forest at the end of Shelving Rock Road while Rangers Donegan and St. Claire entered by boat from the Green Island Maintenance Center. At 9:30 p.m., Rangers located the lost hiker and proceeded to warm her and assess her injuries. The hiker was safely escorted down to the boat for transport back to the maintenance center and given a courtesy ride back to her vehicle at the trailhead. Rangers were cleared of the scene and back in service at 10:55 p.m.
Town of Keene Valley Essex County Wilderness Rescue: On Dec. 28 at 9:58 a.m., Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch reporting a 51-year-old male from Forest Mills had sustained injuries from a 30-foot fall on the Giant Mt. Ridge Trail. While Forest Rangers Lewis, Mecus, Praczkaljo, and Evans responded to the trailhead, Lt. Burns conducted a phone interview with the reporting party and determined the incident a medical emergency response. Rangers requested Essex County Emergency Service to deploy a Critical Care Technician to assist with medical care. Icy trail conditions warranted an additional five Forest Rangers, two members of the DEC trail crew, and eight members of the Keene Valley Backcountry Rescue Group to assist with a steep-angle technical rescue. At 12:30 p.m., the hiker was stabilized and packaged into a litter for a two-mile carryout to a waiting ambulance. At 3:15 p.m., the injured hiker was out of the woods, turned over to Keene Valley Rescue, and transported to a local hospital for further medical treatment. All personnel were clear of the scene at 3:30 p.m.
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 Arietta Hamilton County Wilderness Rescue: On Dec. 12 at 11:25 a.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch was notified via radio by Forest Ranger Milano about a 60-year-old hunter from Long Lake who had fallen out of a tree stand. While on routine patrol in Sargent Ponds Wilderness Area, Ranger Milano noticed a truck parked at the end of North Point Road and saw an injured man crouched next to his vehicle waving frantically. The Forest Ranger had recently transferred into the Long Lake area and was in the right place at the right time — North Point Road is a dead-end road with no cell phone coverage and the hunter had not informed anyone he was going into the woods. Ranger Milano called dispatch to request an ambulance and administered medical care while waiting for the Long Lake Rescue Squad. Once the ambulance arrived, the hunter was transported to a local hospital for additional medical care. DEC’s Environmental Conservation Police Officer (ECO) Buswell and Bureau of Environmental Crimes Investigators (BECI) Unit were notified to investigate as a possible elevated hunting incident.
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