New Mexico State Police Chief Call’s Fenn’s Treasure Hunt “Stupid.”

We do not agree.

We do not believe a “treasure hunt” is capable of being stupid.

Each year, millions of Americans enjoy the outdoors. Some of them die in the process, and the majority of those that die, do so as a result of a set of bad decisions they made. It was not the fault of the kayak or the river, the 4WD vehicle or the rocky slope, the cliff or the rope, or the rattlesnake, the cougar or the brown bear.

We ended up having to stay the night, and spending most of it watching the rain flood our exit route.

The news that Wallace left a receipt in his car for the purchase of a rope later found at the scene indicates to us he was already in the middle of the chain of bad decisions that led to his death. The Orilla Verde, a place we’ve been to more than once, hosts thousands of individuals and families who camp, raft, kayak, fish, hike, take pictures, make paintings, and search for petroglyphs and other artifacts. They’re chasing their brand of the thrill. Evolutionarily-speaking, it is in our nature to do so. They come home safe, and sometimes tired and sunburned. Occasionally, one is lost to nature, and sometimes their own bravado. It is not nature’s fault. It is not the fault of their sport or avocation. Nature is, and all the activities above, are, incapable of being stupid.

If you have Fenn’s email address, we strongly recommend you to write and urge him not to call off the chase. Also, ask him not to change the conditions or terms of the chase. New clues be damned. 

In the meantime, when you go out to search, take Fenn’s advice: “Don’t go where an 80-year-old man couldn’t carry a 42 pound box.”

Our advice? From our experience in the outdoors for a variety of reasons and a variety of interests: Be prepared, don’t go alone, don’t be stupid.


Here’s the article from today’s Albuquerque Journal:

Albquerque Journal
By Edmundo Carrillo/Journal North
Published: Monday, June 19th, 2017 at 7:49pm
Updated: Monday, June 19th, 2017 at 11:01pm

SANTA FE — It appears that a second Colorado man has lost his life looking for Forrest Fenn’s treasure in New Mexico near the Rio Grande, spurring New Mexico’s State Police Chief Pete Kassetas to call the treasure hunt “stupid” and implore Fenn to finally call it off.

New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas

“I think it’s stupid,” Kassetas told the Journal on Monday. “If there is indeed a treasure out there, he should pull it. He has the moral obligation at this point to stop this insanity. He’s putting lives at risk.”

Fenn, a Santa Fe author and antiquities collector/dealer, published a poem in an autobiographical book in 2010 said to include clues on where to find the treasure. Interest in the treasure exploded when Fenn appeared on NBC’s “The Today Show” in 2013. The poem includes reference to “warm waters,” a creek and “water high.”

State Police Lt. Elizabeth Armijo said 52-year-old Paris Wallace of Grand Junction, Colo., last had contact with his family June 13 and was reported missing the next day. Wallace’s wife told officers that he went to New Mexico to look for Fenn’s treasure — a chest with over $1 million worth of gold coins, jewels and artifacts that Fenn says he hid somewhere in the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe.

Wallace’s car was found Thursday around 2:30 p.m. near the Taos Junction Bridge on N.M. 570 near Pilar, Armijo said. Sunday, State Police recovered a body in the Rio Grande about seven miles downstream. Authorities were still trying to positively identify the body Monday. But Armijo said “all evidence thus far indicates the deceased is Paris Wallace.”

Randy Bilyeu

In January 2016, another Colorado man, 54-year-old Randy Bilyeu of Broomfield, disappeared while searching for the treasure along the Rio Grande west of Santa Fe. His raft was found soon after, but the body wasn’t recovered until about six months later, in the river just north of Cochiti Lake.

State search and rescue crews, made up of about 1,000 volunteers, were involved in the searches in both cases. Kassetas voiced frustration Monday with having to take volunteers away from their day jobs to look for people who’ve gone on a treasure hunt that he said Fenn should put an end to. “Every time this happens, we send people out into the wilderness, taking valuable time and effort to find these individuals,” the chief said. “Those resources are better used elsewhere.” Kassetas said he plans on contacting Fenn personally to ask him to call off the hunt.

Fenn on Monday declined to answer emailed questions from the Journal about whether he should call off the treasure hunt, how many people should die or be injured before he calls it off or whether he plans on releasing more clues on the treasure’s whereabouts. “I don’t care to answer your questions, sir,” Fenn wrote.

Last year, he told the Journal, “As with deer hunters and fishermen, there is an inherent risk that comes with hiking the canyons and mountain trails. The treasure is not hidden in a dangerous spot, and I have said that no one should search in a place where an 80-year-old man could not hide it.”

Fenn did tell Westword, a Denver weekly, on Monday that his “heart is heavy” with the news of Wallace’s death. “I pray for his family, his friends and his congregation,” he said. He added, “Yes, there is always some risk in whatever you do, but millions of people successfully hike in the mountains each year.”

Sacha Johnston, a Fenn treasure enthusiast from Albuquerque who helped coordinate a volunteer search for Bilyeu last year, said Monday that Fenn should “absolutely not” call off the hunt. “People die driving to work everyday,” she said. “Should people stop driving? I think it’s a matter of care and proper planning. You should never go anywhere hiking alone. My deepest condolences to (Wallace’s) family. I hope they’re able to find peace.”

Linda Bilyeu, Randy Bilyeu’s ex-wife, has said that she believes the treasure is a hoax and reiterated Monday that the hunt should end. “I’ll be critical until this madness ends,” Bilyeu said. “Another family is left behind to grieve. This treasure hunt will forever haunt my daughters and grandchildren.”


Complete article here: https://www.abqjournal.com/1020299/another-fennn-treasure-hunter-is-missing.html

Online Article: Modern Day Treasure Hunt

This article appeared inforrest-fenn-hidden-treasure-clues_300_200 the November, 2013 issue of True West Magazine.

The article, entitled Modern Day Treasure Hunt: Unraveling the clues to finding Forrest Fenn’s hidden stash was written by Johnny D. Boggs and can be found here.

Online Article: How to Be a Modern Day Treasure Hunter

PIC_0080This article appeared in the October 11, 2013 issue of U. S. News and World Reports, Money Magazine, Persona Finance.

The article describes the trials and tribulations of a young PR Exec in Philadelphia who was bitten by a Fennsquito, the infamous “Hidden Treasure” bug.

Fun reading here: How to Be a Modern Day Treasure Hunter