New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents throughout New York State. 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.
What follows is a report, prepared by DEC, of recent missions carried out by Forest Rangers.
Town of Bangor, Franklin County
Law Enforcement: On Sept. 6 at 5:45 p.m., Forest Ranger Russell observed a vehicle swerving over the center divider of State Route 11B. Ranger Russell pulled over the driver. When the driver opened the glove compartment, Ranger Russell saw evidence that there may have been a handgun in the vehicle. The driver admitted to having a 9mm handgun in his luggage.
Ranger Russell called Ray Brook Dispatch to request New York State Police (NYSP) assistance. The 36-year-old from New Hampshire was processed by NYSP on two felony counts of illegal possession of a firearm. Ranger Russell issued two tickets for vehicle and traffic law violations. NYSP issued a ticket for having an open alcohol container in the vehicle. Resources were clear at 8:29 p.m.
Town of Harmony, Chautauqua County
Law Enforcement: On June 28, a DEC Forester notified Forest Ranger Streczywilk about marijuana growing on Hill Higher State Forest. Ranger Streczywilk returned to the site numerous times over the next couple of months, but was unable to locate the responsible party. On Sept. 7, Rangers Sprague and Streczywilk destroyed 10 marijuana plants before they could be harvested.
Although marijuana laws have changed in New York allowing those 21 years of age and older to grow up to six cannabis plants in their home for personal use (three mature plants and three immature plants) and a maximum of twelve plants per household (six mature plants and six immature plants), it is still illegal to grow cannabis on State land. This investigation remains open.
Town of Harrietstown, Franklin County
Wilderness Search: On Sept. 8 at 5:42 p.m., Forest Ranger Captain Burns and Rangers Corey and Rooney joined NYSP in searching for a patient from Adirondack Medical Center. The subject ran away from the hospital and swam across Lake Colby.
At 6:14 p.m., Ranger Rooney spotted the patient running on the snowmobile trails behind the camp. The subject continued towards the railroad tracks where he was spotted by Ranger Corey. After a brief chase, Ranger Corey took the patient into custody and turned him over to NYSP, who brought him back to the hospital. Resources were clear at 7:11 p.m.
Town of Shandaken, Ulster County
Wilderness Rescue: On Sept. 9 at 6:10 p.m., Forest Rangers Martin and Rusher responded to the Burroughs Range Trail (also known as the Wittenberg Cornell Slide Trail) in the Slide Mountain Wilderness, for a report of a stranded hiker. The 36-year-old from Brooklyn underestimated her planned hike and didn’t have a light source or enough food. Rangers provided food, hydration, and a head lamp, and then hiked the subject to the trailhead. Resources were clear at 9:49 p.m.
Town of Elizabethtown, Essex County
Wilderness Rescue: On Sept. 10 at 4:29 p.m., Forest Ranger Quinn responded to a report of a hiker with a lower leg injury at Split Rock Falls on the Boquet River. The 19-year-old from Michigan fell and was unable to walk out. Ranger Quinn set up a low-angle rope rescue system and worked with Keene Valley Fire Department’s Wilderness Response Team to place the subject in a litter. The Wilderness Response Team lifted her out to the road. Elizabethtown-Lewis EMS evaluated the patient, who was taken to the hospital by a friend. Resources were clear at 6:03 p.m.
Village of Fort Ann, Washington County
Wilderness Rescue: On Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m., Ray Brook Dispatch requested Forest Ranger assistance with a hiker experiencing heat exhaustion on the Sleeping Beauty Mountain Trail in the Lake George Wild Forest. Rangers Carabetta and Nahor and local fire and EMS reached the 30-year-old from Saratoga Springs approximately one mile up the trail. The patient was nauseous and dehydrated. Rescuers provided treatment, placed the subject in a litter, and transported her to the trailhead where she was met by an ambulance. Resources were clear at 10:16 p.m.
Read past Forest Ranger search and rescue reports here.
Photo: Rangers Sprague and Streczywilk with marijuana plants.