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New York DEC Forest Rangers Search and Rescue Team Highlights 3 Recent Missions

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Ready and willing New York DEC Forest Rangers, prepared to respond in a heartbeat, locate and extract lost, injured, and distressed citizens from remote areas. Here are but three cases.

A NYS DEC press release focused on three separate rescues carried out by regional Forest Rangers within the great state of New York.

Among those rescued were hikers unprepared for the conditions, and two instances of lost people in the backcountry. The knowledgeable and veteran rangers along with other state agencies coordinated their efforts to organize search and rescue including volunteers.

Acting DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos remarked, “Across New York, DEC’s Forest Rangers’ are on the front lines helping people safely enjoy the great outdoors. Their knowledge of first aid, land navigation and technical rescue techniques are critical to the success of their missions which take them from remote wilderness areas, with rugged mountainous peaks to white-water rivers, and throughout our vast forested areas statewide.”

The March 2016 rescues all occurred on the same day in Essex County, NY which in part parallels the state of Vermont, and the lower part of Lake Champlain. All the rescues are listed as they are seen in the press release.

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1. Town of Keane; Giant mountain wilderness; Unprepared for icy conditions

Three hikers in their early 20’s, two men and a woman, had climbed Giant Mountain to observe the sunrise on March 27. After leaving the summit to descend the group realized that they could not continue down on the trail without crampons or microspikes.

After calling 911 for assistance four DEC Forest Rangers, who had confirmed their coordinates as being near the summit, found the group at 2:00 p.m. and escorted them back to the trailhead. One hiker had fallen and suffered a head injury, but refused calls for treatment.

2. Town of Newcomb; Private lands; Lost hiker

At 3:45 p.m. a 61-year-old woman from Saranac Lake was hiking on Goodnow Mountain when she became lost. Although GPS coordinates could not be found due to limited cell phone service in the area, an on-the-ball DEC dispatcher was able to instruct the woman how to use the compass application on her phone.

Upon doing so the lost hiker was able to obtain the coordinates and get them to the responding Forest Ranger. The Ranger located the hiker, off trail but in good condition, at about 6:00 p.m.

3. Town of North Elba; Saranac Lake Wild Forest; Lost hikers

At 5:00 p.m. DEC Ray Brook dispatch reported received a report of two lost hikers on Scarface Mountian. A man and woman, both in their late teens, made the call after being lost on the mountain for several hours. Two DEC Forest Rangers, following coordinates provided by the 911 system, located the hikers just after 7:00 p.m.

Thanks to the efforts of the DEC Forest Rangers along with other ECO’s and by all means the 911 dispatch system all the lost or distressed citizens were safely returned unharmed, but a little wiser for the experience.

Always remember to tell someone where you are going and how long you plan to be there. In an emergency never think that you are “putting out” or somehow bothering emergency personnel. If you have a problem make the call, that’s why they are there.

As in the case of the lost woman even the dispatchers can be a huge factor in a rescue. Cheers to the men and women of the NYS DEC for living their lives to help!

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New York DEC Forest Rangers Search and Rescue Team Highlights 3 Recent Missions