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Old 10-13-2017, 12:12 PM   #35
Wldrns's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Western Adirondacks
Posts: 3,982
Originally Posted by Bounder45 View Post
Again, I'm all for having a Ranger force. And if the Rangers think they are being overworked, I'm all for assigning them more funding and increasing their manpower. However, it's important to understand that the Rangers, and the rescue capabilities they provide, serve as a response to an ongoing, and increasing, problem; their presence is not a solution.

We all agree that rescuing people in need is the humane thing to do. Even if someone got lost or hurt due to their own negligence, I think we all agree a rescue effort is warranted. If the possibility of a lonely death isn't going to dissuade ill-prepared hikers from going out, a hefty fine or some form of legal punishment might serve as a viable alternative.
On busy weekends, there are often multiple SAR incidents going on simultaneously. For example, during the final day of the Alex Stevens incident, two helicopters were initially assigned, along with more than a dozen rangers and more than a handful of trained experienced DEC certified volunteer searchers. My search team was supposed to be flown in to Wallface, but one of the helos, along with several rangers had to be reassigned to another search in ST Lawrence County overnight. The other searched Wallface from the air and supported the remote basecamp search site. My team had to be bussed and walked several miles into our search assignment (disappointing, and time consuming, but not a big deal), along with rangers who might otherwise have been available as backup for some other emergency or other duty.

So in cases when multiple incidents develop we would be put into a situation wherein we choose who gets rescued first. Be it a lost hiker unprepared for the wilderness he chose to explore, or a grandfather hiker with Alzheimers wandering off at random, or a woman who fell and broke her leg in the backcountry, or a child who quietly walked away from his parent's campsite?

I hear multiple times complaints from rangers that they have been put into the duty of staying in the office to do paperwork instead of field patrol. In some especially large woodland areas that previously had multiple rangers assigned for coverage and patrol, now there is only one.

AFRs can only do so much. Ever been to Lows Lake and seen AFR Dawn A. paddling around, talking to campers, ensuring proper care of themselves and of the wilderness? Although she obviously loved her job, she was way overworked IMO, and had very limited legal authority, other than to call her ranger supervisor if there was a serious problem.
"Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth." -Walt Whitman
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