Treasure Hunting Leads To Mishaps

Jun 19, 2015

Forrest Fenn’s Treasure
Credit The Thrill of the Chase (A Memoir)

Treasure hunters had to be rescued from Wyoming’s backcountry twice in two years.

They were looking for the Forrest Fenn treasure chest. The multimillionaire from Santa Fe buried a box full of gold and jewels in the Rockies a few years ago. But the latest treasure hunt cost Park County, Wyoming a lot of time and money. Yellowstone officials say they’re having the same problem with other treasure hunters.

When Park County’s Search and Rescue is called to help people lost in the backcountry, they face some of the most rugged and remote terrain in the lower 48.

Search & Rescue Coordinator Martin Knapp said, “We will try to send a medical helicopter. We also plan on sending a ground team.”

That’s exactly what happened when Search and Rescue were told a woman had a broken back in a remote area between Cody and Yellowstone. Searchers eventually found 41-year old Madilina Taylor of Lynchburg Virginia, after her boyfriend, 40-year-old Frank Eugene Rose, also from Lynchburg, hiked down to Big Creek to get help.

Knapp said, “We flew her out on Air Idaho.”

Taylor was treated in a Billings hospital for a broken ankle. It was their second rescue from the same area in two years. They were lost in the backcountry for four days before they were rescued in 2013.

Knapp explained, “They’ve found or been told there’s a treasure buried up there. From what we’ve been able to determine, it’s the Fenn treasure.”

Yellowstone Park has had to deal with Fenn treasure hunters, too.

Yellowstone Public Affairs Officer Traci Weaver said, “We’ve had four-hour search and rescues that were directly related to treasure hunters for the Forrest Fenn treasure in the Park.”

Weaver said the treasure hunters have also damaged the park with illegal digs.

She explained, “We’ve had somebody cut down a tree, and try to build a raft. We’ve had all kinds of crazy antics of people trying to get to this alleged treasure that we don’t believe is in the Park anyway.”

When asked if the treasure was real, Fenn said there are hundreds of gold coins and nuggets, ancient artifacts and jewels in a chest he hid in the Rocky mountains somewhere north of Santa Fe, New Mexico.”

Knapp pointed out that’s hundreds of miles from Park County Wyoming, and Weaver says it better not be in Yellowstone.

She explained,“We press charges against individuals for doing resource damage in the Park.”

Knapp said the couple will be billed for the ambulance flight, which costs thousands