State to treasure hunters: Finders are not keepers

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Posted: Thursday, April 4, 2013 8:00 pm | Updated: 1:56 pm, Fri Apr 5, 2013.

ALBUQUERQUE — A collection of gold and jewels that a retired Santa Fe art dealer says he stashed in the mountains north of Santa Fe has generated so much interest from amateur treasure hunters that some have put their lives in jeopardy or been cited for illegally digging on public lands.

But authorities are warning people about more than being careful and following the law. They also note finders may not be keepers.

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • Steven Davis posted at 6:06 pm on Fri, Apr 12, 2013.

    steve davis Posts: 1

    As a trained geologist, a commercial airline pilot, an outdoorsman and a patriotic constitutionalist, I am simply amazed, as always, at the bitter, petulant, childish, jealous, statist, fascist, angry nanny-state, anti-liberty, condescending comments about Fenn on this site. Wake up everyone! Fenn has done nothing wrong! Here's a man who has magnanimously and philanthropically given an amazing portion of his personal wealth to the society at large; and he has done it in a way that has sparked countless imaginations of adults and children and caused people to rediscover much of the beauty and splendor of this magnificent nation's landscape. And you still have creatures on this site who are so low, so far beneath contempt as to excoriate him for doing this and suggest he is "littering' and "should be fined." People aren't going to do any significant harm here people--lighten up! Celebrate the fact that a real treasure hunt is on and that is the stuff that many people's dreams are made of. If it's not your dream, then fine--don't engage in the hunt! But stop telling other people how to live! And for God's sake stop asking for ever bigger and more powerful nanny-state government to swoop in and punish your fellow man for exercising his basic liberties. Even with my limited legal background from studying and practicing geology, I can assure you that both federal officials who claim that the treasure becomes public domain if left on public land, are absolutely incorrect. It is frightening to have such dangerously misinformed government employees, who always err, of course, in the direction of all-powerful tyrannical government. One could listen to these officials and easily see why most governments throughout history become tyrannical and often must eventually be abolished, only after tragic bloodshed. Embrace freedom; defend liberty, and relish an event like this that sparks the nation's imagination and dreams. I am reminded of the bold individuals who toil and research and sacrifice and recover an aircraft that has been an abandoned wreck for 70 years or a shipwreck that has been in a watery grave for centuries, and they are then immediately assaulted by tyrannical rapacious governments claiming the fruit of the citizen's labor as government property. The greed and dishonesty of government is limitless in these cases.

  • Jennifer Bizzarro posted at 8:47 am on Sat, Apr 6, 2013.

    Jennifer_Bizzarro Posts: 586

    I must say I am surprised at some of the self-righteous outrage expressed by our state government and some of its residents. Mr. Fenn, whatever his motives, has put New Mexico on the global map in a way that appeals to the adventurer and explorer in all of us. The Tourism Department has not had to spend one penny on this and yet it beats the heck out of any campaign they’ve come up with so far.

    Rather than tell tourists what they cannot do, why don’t we ask Ms. Jacobsen’s department to come up with a way to work with them on this made-for-television reality show. Cordon off trails, enlist safety guides, etc. Mr. Fenn? Kick some royalties back to the kids.

    Buried treasure? It’s everyone’s dream!

  • sfobserver posted at 8:13 am on Fri, Apr 5, 2013.

    sfobserver Posts: 63

    Forrest Fenn IMHO is an irresponsible juvenile who thought it was OK to take advantage of women when trading antiquities and to dig in a ruin for fun without keeping notes etc. Now he wants to sell more books so who cares how many lives are endangered. RAH are the only words to describe him.

  • MEP posted at 6:42 am on Fri, Apr 5, 2013.

    MEP Posts: 5

    Should not Mr. Forrest Fenn be cited for littering on public lands? Honestly, I think if he is worth his salt, he will go recover HIS MESS, and donate the million dollars to charity and save us all the searching and fines and trouble this is causing.
    Is not picking up your trash and or DUMPING on public land illegal? I wholeheartedly say "Fine Fenn"!!!

  • Randall cole posted at 6:08 am on Fri, Apr 5, 2013.

    RLC Posts: 3

    I bet book sales have shot up along with the fire dangers.

  • karl hardy posted at 4:54 am on Fri, Apr 5, 2013.

    karl hardy Posts: 42

    ...and all we need is to have those "Flatlanders" in the middle of the drought - smoking in the forests - most strangers to this area have no idea of the basic concept of the dangers of this seemingly inviting area


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