OSSIAN — On July 8, Forest Ranger assistance was requested to locate an overdue hiker. An acquaintance reported that a man was on his second trip with a group hiking on Rattlesnake Hill Wildlife Management Area (WMA).
Ranger Cordell contacted the reporting party who indicated the subject had decided to go fishing on nearby ponds instead of hiking, but did not rejoin the group at the agreed-on time that evening. The man’s vehicle was located within the search area. While Forest Rangers were requesting Livingston County 911 to obtain a cell phone location for the subject’s phone, Rangers learned about an ambulance request on the opposite side of the WMA for a man matching the subject’s description. Forest Rangers confirmed with Allegany County 911 that the man was the subject of their search. The man was transported to a local hospital for evaluation and treatment.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents statewide. 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 from the backcountry.
“Across New York, DEC Forest Rangers are on the front lines helping people safely enjoy the great outdoors,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “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.”
In 2017, DEC Forest Rangers conducted 346 search and rescue missions, extinguished 55 wildfires that burned a total of 191 acres, participated in 29 prescribed fires that burned and rejuvenated 564 acres, and worked on cases that resulted in nearly 3,000 tickets or arrests.