In 2022, DEC Forest Rangers conducted 359 search and rescue missions, extinguished 162 wildfires covering more than 1,300 acres, participated in 53 prescribed fires that served to rejuvenate nearly 900 acres of land, and worked on cases that resulted in hundreds of tickets and arrests.
On Wednesday, January 11 at 4:45 pm, Forest Rangers Franceschina and Horn responded to Bluestone Wild Forest in Kingston, Ulster County, for a report of a mountain biker with an upper leg injury. When Rangers arrived, Ruby Fire, Sawkill Volunteer Fire, and paramedics were already at the scene.
The 68-year-old from Kingston had suffered a broken femur after falling from his bike approximately one mile from the Jockey Hill Wintergreen trailhead. Rescue crews transported the patient via fire department ATV back to the trailhead. He was then taken to Kingston Hospital.
On Sunday, January 15 at 12:05 pm, Ulster County 911 requested Forest Ranger assistance with the rescue of a hiker with a lower leg injury at Giant Ledge in the Slide Mountain Wilderness Area in the town of Shandaken, Ulster County. Rangers Franke, Quinones, Schweider, and Stratton reached the 70-year-old and splinted her lower leg. Rangers then packaged the hiker from Pennsylvania into a litter. Big Indian, Claryville, and Pine Hill fire departments assisted with the half-mile carry out. At approximately 4:30 pm, the hiker was taken to the hospital by Shandaken EMS.
During the incident, Rangers Franke and Schweider were rerouted to respond to another injured hiker from the same hiking party, but closer to the trailhead. The 71-year-old suffered a head injury from a fall and was airlifted to the hospital. Trail conditions were icy and Rangers needed microspikes during the rescues. Hikers are reminded to be prepared for winter conditions.