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Episode 108: NYS Forest Rangers

Forest rangers are the wilderness’ police department. Think of them as ‘guardians of nature’ who protect and conserve natural resources in forests and parks. Their jurisdiction usually encompasses terrain filled with wildlife and treacherous landscapes. Forest rangers are often unsung heroes who work long hours in extreme conditions.

Many people associate forest rangers with "Smokey Bear', the lovable bear who warned us not to start forest fires. But rangers do more than prevent and fight fires. They are involved in law enforcement, firefighting, search and rescue, as well as public education and outreach.

Unfortunately, forest fires continue to be a threat to New York State’s forests and forest rangers are at the front lines in the fight against forest fires. They help educate and train fire departments in the best course of action to fight fires. They also engage in preventive measures, which may include setting controlled burns or clearing brush that may be a potential hazard in the event of fire. When a fire occurs, forest rangers work in conjunction with local fire fighters in controlling and putting out the fire. After a fire is contained, the rangers conduct investigations to determine the cause and source of the fire.

Every year hikers, campers and casual visitors get lost in the wilderness of state forests in the Hudson Valley. When they do, it is the forest rangers who play a critical role in search and rescue operations. Rangers travel over rough terrain in search of lost people. They help coordinate and lead search teams through the forest. Rangers are skilled in emergency training so they can administer first aid if needed. Forest rangers also keep track of campers and hikers by the use of checkpoints at the entries to parks and forests. This helps them monitor the number of visitors in the forest as well as alerts them to when someone could potentially have gotten lost, if they do not check out at the expected time.

Keeping the forests safe for visitors and wildlife is the most important part of a ranger’s job. Learn more from Anastasia Alwine, a New York State Forest Ranger, who joins the podcast, Nature Calls: Conversations from the Hudson Valley, in an informative discussion of the role of forest rangers in the Hudson Valley. Anastasia is from Syracuse, NY, and graduated from Cornell University as an art major. Prior to taking the civil service exam, she wasn’t aware that the Forest Ranger job existed, but you will hear how she loves working at this role now.

Hosts: Annie Scibienski and Jean Thomas

Guest: Anastasia Alwine

Photo by: Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)

Production Support: Linda Aydlett, Deven Connelly, Teresa Golden, Xandra Powers, Annie Scibienski



Xandra Powers
Community Horticulture Coordinator
518-828-3346 x106

Last updated March 14, 2024