The hunt for the infamous Fenn Treasure has sent many people on many futile trips into the woods of the Rocky Mountains, put a few in their graves and has now placed one person to jail. It seems like the only winner in the hunt for Forrest Fenn’s cache of gold, precious stones and jewelry is … Forrest Fenn, who has managed to live 12 years since a doctor’s grim prognosis of a potentially fatal cancer prompted him to a small box containing the $2 million (at that time) treasure somewhere in the Rocky Mountains and leave cryptic clues to its whereabouts in a book. What next … will someone replace their eyes with ground-penetrating radar equipment and become a Fenn Treasure-hunting cyborg? (Kids, don’t try this at home.)
“I had to do this. The story has to end. Too many people are getting hurt and killed.”
That was the alleged noble cause which Dave Christensen claims was his motivation to hunt for the Fenn treasure in January 2020. For whatever the reason, Christensen ignored clues and comments made by Fenn himself that the treasure can be found without any climbing or descending and rappelled down a frozen cliff – well, partway down … until he ran out of rope. Then a massive rescue effort had to be undertaken to get him out.
“You might call me a lunatic, whatever, but I feel wholeheartedly I solved that Fenn treasure thing. I still feel it’s down there, your honor.”
The Powell Tribune brought the case up to date this week. On March 16, Christensen had a lockdown teleconference trial in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Carman on charges of creating a hazardous condition, off-trail travel in the canyon and violating the conditions of a snowmobiling permit All misdemeanors). The judge dropped the third charge, Christensen pleaded guilty to the first two and was sentenced to seven days in jail, five years of unsupervised probation (which includes being banned from Yellowstone), $40 in court costs and $4,088.75 in restitution to be paid by the end of the year for the man hours of the personnel who were involved in the rescue.
“We fear that if Mr. Christensen were to come back, we may have to rescue him again.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Devon Beeny told the judge Christensen was hellbent on finding the Fenn treasure, so she pushed for the ban from Yellowstone, where he obviously thinks the treasure is hidden. The judge will help keep him away by allowing Christensen to serve his sentence at a facility in Indiana near where he lives. Ironically, Christensen has already been confined – he was infected with the coronavirus and is recovering.
While he says he’s not going back, Christensen told The Powell Tribune he’s still convinced the Fenn treasure is in Yellowstone and he still wants the hunt to end, saying that Fenn is ignoring his calls and:
“I wrote to Vice President [Mike] Pence, but I never got a reply.”
Should Fenn end the hunt before more seekers end up incarcerated or in a casket? Should the federal government intervene? Should the whole thing be turned into a reality TV series to provide jobs and something for sports fans to watch?
Does anyone know a cyborg with a ground-penetrating radar implant looking for work? Asking for a friend.