ALBANY, N.Y. (WWTI) — The Department of Environmental Conservation is mourning the loss of one of its own. DEC confirmed that its Forest Ranger Captain Christopher Kostoss died on Tuesday, May 31 by suicide, which was confirmed by local authorities.

Captain Kostoss was a 23-year veteran of DEC’s Division of Forest Protection. He was most recently responsible for overseeing Rangers on patrol in the Adirondack High Peaks region.

DEC officials released the following statements in mourning of Captain Kostoss:

Captain Kostoss was passionate about protecting public safety and deeply committed to the cause of conservation. He was also a tireless advocate for mental health awareness, particularly among his fellow Rangers. His death is a painful reminder of the critical need to promote wellness and destigmatize issues surrounding mental health that prevent individuals from seeking treatment.

The collective heartfelt thoughts of DEC’s close-knit family are with Captain Kostoss’ mother, two daughters, immediate family members and all who loved him. My sincere gratitude to members of the New York State Police and the Lake Placid Police Department for their strong support and professionalism throughout this tragedy.

DEC Press Office

If you or someone you know is thinking of harming themselves, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free support at 1-800-273-8255.

Starting on July 16, 2022, U.S. residents can also be connected to the Lifeline by dialing 988. For more about risk factors and warning signs, visit the organization’s official website.