Illegal use of all-terrain vehicles in the environmentally sensitive Pine Barrens continues to vex law enforcement, but one Long Island officer’s work to combat the problem has earned him special recognition.
The Pine Barrens Law Enforcement Council announced Tuesday that state Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Ranger David Nally has been named 2015 Environmental Enforcement Officer of the Year.
The group, a coalition of 26 law enforcement groups that work within the Pine Barrens, selects an officer each year for the honor. Officials said Nally earned the distinction by participating in more than a dozen ATV-enforcement patrols.
“The efforts of law enforcement officers like Ranger Nally have helped ensure that this important region will continue to exist for future generations and we are truly grateful for the service he and his fellow law enforcement officers continue to provide each and every day,” John Pavacic, executive director of the Central Pine Barrens Commission, said in a statement.
The Pine Barrens Law Enforcement Council has protected 5 million acres of public lands, starting with the Pine Barrens, in central Suffolk County, since its founding in 1994. The commission includes the State Police and Suffolk, Riverhead Town and Southampton Town police departments.
Nally, who lives in the Riverhead area, graduated from the DEC law enforcement training academy in 2013. As part of the agency’s Division of Forest Protection, he patrols for illegal ATV use, dumping and hunting.
DEC officials said he has also helped fight wildfires and pine beetle infestations, and respond to damaging storms.