By Tim Binnall
A sheriff in Montana took to social media this week to issue a warning to would-be treasure hunters visiting the state in search of Forrest Fenn's riches. The now-infamous cache of $2 million worth of gold, jewels, and other precious items hidden by the eccentric author is said to be located somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Based on clues contained in a poem that announced the existence of the treasure back in 2010, New Mexico and Colorado have been the primary focus for those trying to find it.
That said, Montana has also have seen its fair share of Fenn treasure hunters and an incident this week prompted one local law enforcement official to speak out on Facebook. In a post on the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office page, the department noted that, in just the past few years alone, there have been two deaths, a pair of dramatic rescues, and several episodes that necessitated police action all due to unprepared individuals searching for the notorious riches around Yellowstone National Park.
This would seem to have been the case on Monday, they said, when a man in the area phoned his wife to tell her that he was injured while looking for the treasure, yet refused to tell her where he was. In response, Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin noted that the region is rife with hazards, including dangerous creatures such as bears and snakes as well as treacherous geographical features like rivers and cliffs. "This country is unforgiving if you don’t give it the respect it deserves," he mused.
While Gootkin stopped short of discouraging people from looking for the riches, he advised them to "consider your level of skill, preparation, and knowledge of the area." The sheriff also implored would-be treasure hunters to "let someone know where you are going – exactly, not some vague geographic area to keep your secret safe." As one might imagine, his message to the public has been met with another round of calls for Fenn to end the treasure hunt which has, so far, claimed the lives of four people and, as noted by the sheriff, spawned all manner of perilous predicaments and run-ins with the law. However, when asked about this latest controversy, the author seemed to indicate to a Denver media outlet that he has no plans to pull the plug on the controversial hunt.