In spite of the deaths of two treasure hunters, Forrest Fenn said he won’t limit the search for his hidden box of jewels and gold in any way.
The art and antiques dealer lives in Sante Fe, New Mexico and that is where the treasure hunters died in separate incidents. But, people in Cody, Wyoming know Fenn.
They think his treasure could be near the Wyoming town.
When the Park County Search and Rescue team is called to rescue people in the mountains near Cody, they use helicopters, horses, and hikers to bring them out.
That’s what they had to do to save two people looking for the Forrest Fenn treasure in the mountains overlooking Wapiti in 2014.
Search and Rescue Spokesman Lance Mathess explained, “They were suffering from hypothermia, and couldn’t get across a large creek so we had to go in after them.”
Mathess said the next year, “The female broke her ankle and she had to be airlifted out of the backcountry.”
But, they came back again in 2016.
Mathess said, “She came out and admitted she had three separate encounters with a grizzly bear.”
In past years, Yellowstone has had its problems with treasure hunters, too.
In 2015 Yellowstone Public Affairs Officer Traci Weaver said, “We’ve had four different search and rescues that were directly related to treasure hunters for the Forrest Fenn treasure in the Park.”
We recently corresponded with Fenn by email. We asked if he would consider limiting his treasure hunt. Fenn replied, “The loss of two treasure hunters is a tragedy that cannot be overemphasized, and I am very sorry for that, but the search will go on.”
He continued, “Our problem is the same as what Yellowstone experiences and the Grand Canyon where an average of 9 people die each year.”
Fenn said the treasure is hidden in the Rocky Mountains somewhere between Sante Fe and Canada. In his book, Fenn described the summers he spent in West Yellowstone, Montana when he was growing up. But he also has a connection with Cody, Wyoming.
He was a member of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West board of trustees. And he drove to Cody for the meetings from his home in Sante Fe.”
Center Trustee Hank Coe commented, “I think the treasure very well could be somewhere in this area.”
Coe is a Wyoming State Senator, BBCW trustee, and an old friend of Fenn’s.
He said, “If he says there’s a treasure out there, I’m going to tell you there’s a treasure out there.”
Coe said Fenn would not hide the treasure in Yellowstone, because that is illegal. And, Park County Sheriff’s spokesman Lance Mathess said he would rather Fenn take his treasure back.
“I think the lure of riches invites people who are ill prepared to go in the backcountry. So, overall, we would prefer that he would recover his treasure and remove the temptation.”
Fenn said there are hundreds of gold coins, nuggets, ancient artifacts, and jewels in his hidden chest. He said people can find it by reading the poem in his memoir, “The Thrill of the Chase.”