FORESTPORT, N.Y. (WUTR-TV) — Hiking and spending time outside in the Adirondacks is a great way to stay active, while still following the COVID guidelines. but it’s important to always be safe and prepared whenever you’re ready to hit the trails.

We try to tell the public go out with plenty of food, water, extra batteries, for your flashlight. Bring a map and compass, said Aimee Bills a Forest Ranger with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

Ranger Bills says to do your research on the area you plan on visiting by checking out their website She also says to never rely on cell phones on other technology.

Cell phone service is pretty terrible. I wanted to meet you here today because it’s one of possibly 3 places that has good cell service, reliable cell service, said Bills.

If there’s emergency you may not be able to call for help. Ranger Bills they’ve had a lot more search and rescues than past seasons.

“We normally average about 365 search and rescues across the state. The last year we were close to 500 if I’m correct,” she said.

They’ve also had some issues with overcrowding.

“When you have these crowded areas you have the potential for more injuries. Like I said more degradation to the forest. So, we try to spread out people as much as possible,” said Bills.

If you do get lost, don’t panic and plan shelter in case you need to sleep in the woods. If you do need help, the forest rangers are ready to step in.

“We are equipped to respond we are passionate and ready to go into places not other agencies want to go. We do our best to educate and prevent these events from happening.”