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Rocky Mountain Treasure Hunt Leaves Two Dead And Two Near Death

By Danielle Dorsey

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In 2010, a man from New Mexico named Forrest Fenn said he left a treasure chest filled with gold, rubies, emeralds, and diamonds in the Rocky Mountains. At the time, he said he wanted to inspire people to explore nature and provide hope in the midst of the Great Recession. He wrote a poem that he claims contains nine clues about where the treasure is hidden.

In the near decade since then, thousands have ventured into the mountain range in pursuit of Fenn’s treasure. Recently, tragedy struck when two people died and two were seriously injured in pursuit of the treasure, causing local law enforcement to issue warnings about the dangers that treasure hunters face.

“In the last couple years, two people have died, two have been rescued near death, several have had run-ins with local and federal law enforcement, and one told his wife today he was injured but not where he was,” the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office stated in a Facebook post Tuesday. “These people were all near Yellowstone National Park and they were all looking for the Forrest Fenn treasure.”

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin urged explorers to take appropriate safety precautions, including updating loved ones with their exact whereabouts, even if it compromises their top-secret treasure hunt.

“You must know that this country is unforgiving if you don’t give it the respect it deserves, “ Gootkin said.

For those who are hellbent on unearthing Fenn’s treasure, Gootkin advises treasure seekers to “let someone know where you are going – exactly, not some vague geographic area to keep your secret safe – and when you expect to return.”


“Be prepared for the changing weather and wilderness conditions. Many areas have no cell phone service. Mountain streams and rivers are especially dangerous. Bears, snakes, and gravity are found in abundance in our corner of the world,” he warns. “We encourage everyone to vigorously pursue their outdoor passions, but think like a local. Before you go after the treasure, consider your level of skill, preparation and knowledge of the area. Consider the volunteer hours spent searching if you need to be rescued, and the anxiety of those left at home.”

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Danielle Dorsey

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