Governor Hochul Announces Graduation of 38 New York State Forest Rangers

Government and Politics

December 2, 2022

From: New York Governor Kathy Hochul

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced 38 new graduates from the 23rd Basic School for New York State Forest Rangers. As part of the Department of Environmental Conservation's Division of Forest Protection, New York Forest Rangers protect the state's natural resources and communities and stand ready to support states across the country in the face of emergencies like wildfires. The ceremony held in Lake Placid this morning celebrated graduates from across New York State who followed extensive law enforcement and natural resources training in the classroom as well as in the field.

"From rescuing lost or injured hikers to fighting wildfires here in New York and across the nation, our dedicated Forest Rangers regularly put themselves in harm's way to protect our communities," Governor Hochul said. "I applaud this new class of Rangers for their hard work in completing an extremely difficult training regimen as they now join the ranks of hundreds of other officers who continue to protect New Yorkers and our treasured natural resources every day."

For the last six months, recruits have endured strenuous training at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry campus in the hamlet of Wanakena and the Huntington Wildlife Forest in the town of Newcomb. The initial 40 Ranger recruits who entered the academy in May were trained in a wide range of rescue techniques - including rope rescues - and received extensive training in wildfire suppression, prescribed burns, water rescues and wildlife protection, among other skills. 38 graduates will join the State's Forest Ranger force for a total of 159.

Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "I am extremely proud of the individuals who chose to do undertake the rigorous training and hard work to become Forest Rangers and continue the proud tradition first started in the late 1800s to protect New York's environment and the public. I wish these new Rangers nothing but success as they embark on this noble, challenging, and fulfilling career in State service."

Department of Environmental Conservation Division of Forest Protection Director John Solan said, "Patrolling more than five million acres of land across the state, our Forest Rangers are dedicated to ensuring the public can safely enjoy our great outdoors while also protecting the State's precious natural resources. Our Forest Rangers go above and beyond the call of duty here in New York and even assist other states by using their extensive training to help fight wildland fires and other law enforcement agencies to help find missing people or other public service. I am thrilled to have these men and women join our ranks."

Upon graduation, recruits are assigned patrol areas and join the ranks of Forest Rangers currently serving across the state. In 2021, Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers conducted 426 search and rescue missions, extinguished wildfires, participated in prescribed fires that served to rejuvenate hundreds of acres of land and worked on cases that resulted in hundreds of tickets or arrests. For more information about New York State Forest Rangers, visit the Department of Environmental Conservation's website at https://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/41086.html and https://www.dec.ny.gov/about/732.html

Below is the list of the graduates of the Department of Environmental Conservation's 23rd Basic School for Forest Rangers:

Matthew P. Adams, Lake Clear
Gregory M. Bowler, Saranac Lake
Ashly M. Carabetta, New Rochelle
Nicholas K. Caswell, Warrensburg
Kaitlyn E. Clute, Saratoga Springs
Alexander M. Cooley, Oswego
David P. Corey, Tupper Lake
Peter J. Dempf, Bethlehem
Sean P. Dixon, Watertown
Audrey P. Emerson, Greig
Charles R. Foutch, Syracuse
Aaron D. France, Schoharie
Chelsea L. Geyer, Northville
Mary E. Greagan, Bethlehem
Robert G. Hamm, Pittstown
Michael E. Holdridge, Peru
Erich F. Horn Jr., Kingston
Jacob C. Jansen, Tupper Lake
Nathaniel S. Laymon, Ilion
Jacob R. Maxwell, Chittenango
Michael D. Miller, Branchport
Evan R. Nahor, Long Lake
Allison M. O'Connell, Lake Pleasant
Patrick J. Odell, Keene Valley
Joseph G. Ordway, Canisteo
Christopher J. Pelrah, Constantia
Seamus K. Peterson, Hicksville
Paul D. Quinones, Saratoga Springs
Jane C. Raffaldi-Smith, West Hurley
Ryan E. Richer, Horseheads
Allison M. Rooney, Keene
Aubrey M. Russo, Patchogue
Timothy J. Schweider, Lindenhurst
Neilson J. Snye, Tupper Lake
Tanner D. Stone, Schroon Lake
Nicholas D. Streczywilk, Cheektowaga
Dustin T. Vaile, Camden
Jacqueline K. Waligory, King Ferry