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Forrest Fenn

Forrest Fenn’s Treasure Was Likely Buried In Yellowstone, Court Docs Reveal

in Yellowstone/News
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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A new batch of court documents filed in a New Mexico court have revealed that Forrest Fenn’s famed treasure was likely buried in Yellowstone National Park.

While not specifically naming Yellowstone, a document filed by the federal government in the New Mexico probate of Fenn’s will indicates the chief ranger for Yellowstone National Park went to an undisclosed location described by both Fenn and the finder of his treasure as the spot where it was buried.

In 2010, Fenn filled a chest with gold, jewels and other valuables and buried it somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. A poem in Fenn’s 2010 book “The Thrill of the Chase: A Memoir” included nine clues on where to find the treasure. Thousands of treasure hunters took part in searches for the treasure and five died in the process.

A Michigan man, Jack Stuef, discovered the treasure in June 2020, but has never revealed its exact location. However, Fenn, before his death a few months later in 2020, confirmed the treasure was found in Wyoming.

One of the people who searched unsuccessfully for the treasure, Jamie McCracken, filed a claim against Fenn’s estate.

The claim accused Fenn of moving the treasure on four separate occasions, each time as McCracken got closer and closer to finding it, according to the magazine “Outside.”

As part of the claim process, Stuef could be compelled in court to share the location of the chest when he dug it up, which the federal government wishes to avoid, according to a request it filed with the New Mexico court asking to get involved with the case.

“The (U.S.) Department of Interior is concerned that if specific information regarding the location were divulged, it would result in a significant increase to this area by persons still looking for the treasure site or otherwise seeking to visit the site for other reasons related to the Fenn treasure,” said the motion.

The motion said Stuef and Fenn, in separate interviews, revealed the location of the treasure chest to “government officials.” After that, Yellowstone Chief Ranger Sarah Davis visited the described scene, according to the filing and an accompanying declaration from her.

Davis described the area as not having any trails or infrastructure that could support increased visitation to the area that could result from the identification of the site.

“”Resource damage such as the creation of ‘social trails,’ littering and improper disposal of waste are a few of the expected consequences of increased visitation,” her declaration said.

Increased visitation could also threaten or damage bodies of water that are home to native fish species, Davis said.

Before his death, Fenn asserted he never disturbed the treasure after originally burying it and Stuef has reiterated that he found the treasure fairly by using clues provided by Fenn’s poem.

According to the National Park Service, any found property in a national park is supposed to be turned over to the park supervisor.

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Yellowstone Treasure Hunter Pleads Guilty to Damaging Cemetery

in Yellowstone/News
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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A man who was found digging in a cemetery inside Yellowstone National Park while hunting for Forrest Fenn’s mysterious treasure chest has pleaded guilty to causing damage to the park.

Rodrick Dow Craythorn, 52, of Syracuse, Utah, pleaded guilty to charges of excavating or trafficking in archeological resources and injury or depredation to United States property in U.S. District Court on Monday.

He was indicted by a federal grand jury in September.

The indictment alleged that Craythorn was found digging in the Fort Yellowstone Cemetery inside the national park between Oct. 1, 2019 and May 24, 2020 while looking for the treasure buried by Fenn.

The treasure was found earlier this year by a Michigan man. Fenn died a few months after it was discovered.

“The hunt for the Forrest Fenn treasure was often viewed as a harmless diversion, but in this case it led to substantial damage to important public resources,” said US Attorney Mark Klaassen. “The defendant let his quest for discovery override respect for the law.”

Excavating or trafficking in archeological resources carries a potential penalty of up to two years in prison, a fine of up to $20,000, and one year of supervised release. Injury or depredation to United States property carries a penalty of not more than ten years imprisonment, up to a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release.

Chief U.S. District Court Judge Scott W. Skavdahl accepted Craythorn’s plea and scheduled his sentencing to take place on March 17 in Casper at the Ewing T. Kerr Federal Court House.

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Forrest Fenn Treasure Hunter Indicted For Damaging Yellowstone Cemetery

in News/Crime
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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A man who was on the hunt for the treasure chest buried by the late Forrest Fenn was indicted last month for damage he caused to Yellowstone National Park.

Rodrick Dow Craythorn, 52, of Syracuse, Utah, was found digging in the historic Fort Yellowstone Cemetery and was indicted on Sept. 16 on charges of excavating or trafficking in archeological resources and injury or depredation to U.S. property, according to a release from Yellowstone on Thursday.

He claimed he was looking for Fenn’s treasure, a chest containing gold and jewels the author buried in 2010 that supposedly found earlier this year in Wyoming. The lucky finder has still not been identified. Fenn died this year, after the treasure was found.

The treasure was found in early June after more than 10 years of being hidden. A previous report only said that the treasure finder was an anonymous man from “back East” who sent Fenn a picture of the chest to prove he actually found it.

poem in Fenn’s book “The Thrill of the Chase: A Memoir” included nine clues on where to find the treasure. Fenn said the treasure was contained in a 12th-century bronze chest that weighed 20 pounds by itself and was filled with 22 pounds of gold coins, gold nuggets and other valuables.

At least four people died in search of Fenn’s treasure over the years.

The first count of the indictment alleged Craythorn knowingly and unlawfully excavated, removed, damaged, altered and defaced and attempted to deface archeological resource in the cemetery between Oct. 1, 2019 and May 24.

The second count charged Craythorn with willfully damaging and committing depredation against property belonging to the U.S.

Craythorn appeared in court on Thursday and pleaded not guilty to the two charges. His trial is set for December.

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Author Forrest Fenn Dies At 90, Months After Treasure Was Found in Wyoming

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Mere months after announcing to the world that his $1 million treasure chest had been found, author and antiques dealer Forrest Fenn has died.

Police told The Associated Press that Fenn died at his home in New Mexico on Monday of natural causes. He was 90.

Fenn left clues in his 2010 book “The Thrill of the Chase” about the location of a treasure chest filled with $1 million worth of gold and jewels that he hid somewhere in the Rocky Mountains of New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana.

The treasure was found in early June after more than 10 years of being hidden. A previous report only said that the treasure finder was an anonymous man from “back East” who sent Fenn a picture of the chest to prove he actually found it.

poem in Fenn’s book included nine clues on where to find the treasure. Fenn said the treasure was hidden in a 12th-century bronze chest that weighed 20 pounds by itself and was filled with 22 pounds of gold coins, gold nuggets and other valuables.

At least four people died in search of Fenn’s treasure over the years.

In July, Fenn confirmed the chest was found in Wyoming, but didn’t say exactly where.

“Until [the discoverer] found the treasure, the treasure had not moved in the 10 years since I left it there on the ground, and walked away,” Fenn wrote in a blog post in July. “Perhaps today’s announcement will bring some closure to those whose solves were in New Mexico, Colorado, or Montana.”

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Forrest Fenn Confirms Treasure Was Found In Wyoming

in News
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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Author Forrest Fenn confirmed this week that his treasure chest filled with $1 million worth of valuables was found in Wyoming.

In a blog post, Fenn wrote that many of the people who searched for his treasure were curious where the lucky hunter found it, but he wanted to keep the person’s identity and the location secret.

However, Fenn said that the treasure discoverer “understands how important some closure is for many searchers, so…he agreed that we should reveal that the treasure was found in Wyoming.”

“Until he found the treasure, the treasure had not moved in the 10 years since I left it there on the ground, and walked away,” Fenn wrote in the blog post. “Perhaps today’s announcement will bring some closure to those whose solves were in New Mexico, Colorado, or Montana.”

Fenn left clues for a treasure chest filled with $1 million worth of gold and jewels that he hid somewhere in the Rocky Mountains of New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana in his 2010 book, “The Thrill of the Chase.”

The treasure was found in early June after more than 10 years of being hidden. A previous report only said that the treasure finder was an anonymous man from “back East” who sent Fenn a picture of the chest to prove he actually found it.

poem in Fenn’s book included nine clues on where to find the treasure. Fenn previously stated that he’d hidden a 12th-century bronze chest that weighed 20 pounds by itself and was filled with 22 pounds of gold coins, gold nuggets and other valuables.

At least four people died in search of Fenn’s treasure over the years.

“To all of those who did not find the treasure, we hope that you got some enjoyment from the chase,” Fenn closed the post saying.

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