Unwelcome in Yellowstone?….



I, like so many Americans, love Yellowstone, this country’s and the world’s, very first National Park. I applaud Tim Reid, the Chief Ranger there. He has his hands full under increasing pressure brought about by important issues like wildlife protection, invasive species, and a growing threat from grazing and drilling and mining just outside the park’s borders.

But if what I hear is correct, Ranger Reid is about to embark on a policy of discrimination in Yellowstone that is unnecessary and unethical. I have heard it claimed that the park is about to tell us that we are “unwelcome” in Yellowstone. That very soon, if you declare yourself a “searcher for Forrest Fenn’s treasure” you will be a persona non grata inside the gates of YNP. It appears that we have made ourselves unpopular because we come to the park to search and some have found themselves needing aid. Others have broken laws. Therefore we are all “unwelcome”. This sounds quite a bit like profiling.

Congress established the National Park Service in 1916 in part due to a recognition that the American people “wanted places to go that were undisturbed and natural and which offered a retreat from the rigors and stresses of everyday life.” It became the Park Service’s responsibility to insure that Yellowstone and other National Parks offered that retreat.
In 2013 over 3,188,000 visitors came to Yellowstone to relax and enjoy the greatest National Park in the world. That same year rangers responded to about 700 emergency medical calls from tourists. These emergencies included bison gorings, auto accidents, hot water scaldings, near drownings, falls, scrapes, heart attacks, fights, poisonings and on and on. Yet the park has not decided that tourists are “unwelcome” because 700 out of 3 million needed aid.

According to bestplaces.net violent crime in YNP is rated 3 out of 10, where 10 is extremely violent. The national average for violent crime in the USA is 4. So the violent crime rate in Yellowstone is just a bit less than normal. The violent crime types committed by tourists in YNP include murder, nonnegligent manslaughter, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. Yet, once again, no one is suggesting that tourists are “unwelcome”.

According to the parks own statistics, during the 32 year period from 1980 to 2011 there were 32 human injuries caused by bears in the Yellowstone backcountry. Yet I hear no movement suggesting that grizzly bears are “unwelcome” in the park.

The number one animal in the park resulting in human injury is not the bear, but rather the bison. While stopped in a line of cars on the loop road waiting for a herd of bison to cross I watched in amazement as a woman confidently stepped out of her vehicle, approached the herd and posed next to a large bull for a selfie photo. The bull waggled his big head at her and then lowered his horns to about goring height which caused the onlookers to yell at her to “stay away” and “get out of there”. Yet, I hear no outcries that bison should be declared “unwelcome” in the park or that visitors unaware of the dangers of wild animals as big as their cars should be “unwelcome”.

Providing a place for the retreat from the rigors and stresses of everyday life is precisely the purpose of our National Parks. Searchers for Forrest’s treasure come there to take advantage of the escape offered by these lands. We come looking for places where warm waters halt and where Brown might live and to find a blaze. None of this is illegal. It’s not even unethical or irreverent. While there we hike the trails, admire the wildlife, learn about the history, the geology and the botany contained in this ranger protected paradise. We bring our families and our friends. We eat at restaurants, stay in motels and purchase books and souvenirs. Yet, the Chief Ranger wants to tell us we are “unwelcome” in his National Park. Could this be possible?

Well Ranger Reid, the park is MY park. Congress and your boss say so. It belongs to every American. Not just those who don’t search for dreams. On this blog right now, some 6 thousand people every day come looking for ideas to help them search for their dream, placed somewhere in the Rocky Mountains by Forrest Fenn. Many believe it is nowhere near Yellowstone National Park. A few hope it is. Some of those who do decide to look in your park will come and break laws already established and vividly posted. By far, most of us will not. Some will take chances and get into trouble and need the help of rangers to get out of their jam. Most will not.

You have no right to suggest that “searchers” are unwelcome in our own park Ranger Reid.

Perhaps soon the rangers will find it more expedient to simply collect money from us and ban everyone from their park, but in the mean time to declare that a single group of visitors to the park are unwelcome because they “search” would be despicable and discriminatory…the same as discrimination based on politics, religion, race or gender and I hope it is not your intent to make such a declaration.

There is no evidence that searchers break more rules, cause more problems or require more resources than any others who visit the park. So get a grip Ranger Reid. Your park is already laced with rules enough that everyone must follow, not just searchers.

There are already regulations in the park to prevent digging, boating, collecting qualifying artifacts and using a metal detector. Forrest’s high regard for Yellowstone and all beautiful and wild lands suggests to all of us that in order to find the chest we must respect the land and wildlife as he has, no matter where he has hidden it. But to hear that Ranger Reid wants to “unwelcome” a group of visitors simply because they plan to use the park as the retreat it was intended for and to pursue a dream…is irresponsible, and I hope only a rumor.

In the meantime I would like to suggest that if you, dear searchers, are heading to Yellowstone to search please be aware of the rules that are there for everyone and for goodness sake don’t spit or take the name of Smokey the Bear in vain.


133 thoughts on “Unwelcome in Yellowstone?….

  1. Dal – One need only look at what took place last fall in Yellowstone when the government shut down to see the stupidity that the government can enforce on the people to who these natural resources and wonders rightfully belong. One of my favorites was the barricades set up around old faithful that prevented people who just happened to be in the park from seeing the magnificient geysers eruptions. Maybe they will come up with a way to cap and turn all the geothermal features off for the next time the government shuts down. Stupidity at is finest.

  2. Dal..Where and from whom did you hear this rumor? Have you been able to corroborate it? And what has Ranger Reid said to you directly. If true, we will have to take stronger action. But, lets find out the facts first.
    Thanks for all your efforts to provide a clearing house for this obviously popular outdoor recreational activity. I commend you.

  3. Do you have a link to this rumor about Ranger Reid? I’m shocked the NPS would be so foolish. They are by nature -& need of the job- the kind of people that think ‘hands off’ is a better policy than ‘control freak’ ( see 88′ fires, as one example; wolf management is another)
    Recommendation: I’d add that in addition to learning the rules of what you can’t do, learn also what you CAN (and print it out to carry with you when searching).

    This is all of course presuming that the chest might even be /inside/ the bounds of YNP.. ( I know plenty disagree, and some like me, think it’s a good place to Start .. But not necessarily end).

    But nice write up! and great debate piece. Very nice job indeed and here’s hoping no one needs to use it. 😉

    • Couple of followup thoughts :
      Chief Ranger Reid does indeed have a track record of user exclusion- he turned Rich Buchanan and a winter touring group away because they were on snow bikes – because there’s no provision specifically allowing snow bikes (even though, as human powered vehicles, they’re so much better for the park than snowmobiles & snow coaches and arguably , horses. ).
      On the other hand, he’s a rockclimber and mountaineer, a former search & rescue guy , and is raising his 3 girls in the park, so obviously gets how special it is. Also, he’s kinda understandably wound up tight right now with the govt shutdown from Fall and ESPECIALLY with the in-park illegal bison hunting that’s been going on the last couple months. Be respectful (& refrain from calling him Ranger Venus Flytrap) – here’s a neat interview:


    • Mapsmith,

      With rumor of the four individuals getting arrested in Yellowstone last week I called and asked about the Indiana Jones in the River with possible charges being pressed against them. This was curious because I fish the area every month in the summer and was going up last weekend to plan my late May fishing trip, so I would walking along banks and look for new fishing holes. Because I don’t want to get pick up for crossing or walking along the rivers.

      They were very open with me and told me a great story about four young, maybe college age, guys taking a canoe and pick ax down the river, somewhere around the Madison river, got into trouble and had to be rescued. The Public Affairs Rep said the story should be posted on their website in the near future but not sure when. He said they have had a few instances dealing with “these treasure hunters” and that their news release coming out “hopefully should deter treasure hunters” and that “Treasure hunting was illegal in the park”. I asked him what the treasure was about and he said “some guy in Arizona wrote a book and buried a treasure and some people think its in the park”.

  4. How ironic this is, and to think in this day and age we are faced with another bureaucratic rambo who thinks he is sole owner of the park in question.
    Mr Ranger sir know this We The People own the park and we pay you for watching over our property. IMO anyone that reads this blog needs to send a letter / email to their congressman and express their dismay at this Civil servants actions and words. Maybe he needs a vacation to the big city for about a year. Then he might understand what it is to crave an adventure.

  5. Its best is hunters don’t go around telling everyone what they are doing. Someone if it involves the government is going to tell you to leave or charge you or worse. Personally I never tell. Just a hiker sir!

    • Exactly how I would handle it Lou Lee. Just play dumb. Forrest who ??? And if you don’t dig holes, then you ARE just a hiker admiring and discerning the scenery.

      Of course, Dal is probably on the FBI / Homeland Security watch list by now; his photo is probably plastered at every national park entrance along with S**Offenders. They always go after the “dangerous” leaders first.

      But your point is well taken, Dal. Those in government positions do tend to get carried away with power. I was detained with my kids and dogs by a power-hungry newbie park ranger for not getting back to my vehicle by official sunset time in a day-use-only NRA beach area. Did a background search and everything, 10-4 roger, roger.

  6. How long will it be before we have checkpoint charlie at every trailhead so they can rummage through our backpacks to see if we have searching materials? Or the chest on he way back?

    • Soon enough, Ken. Some wilderness areas and a national park in Colorado are requiring for 2014 that all hikers register at trailheads. One wilderness area in Montana has been requiring hikers to register since 2012. This is going to spread folks.

      We all know how that goes. First you’re required to register at the trailhead, and then next, we we limit your access, and then we charge you to enter, and then we raise the price… If they’re already talking about limiting access, which they are, then the plans are most likely in place to do so.

      Wake up people. Here’s how the US Forest Service operates. They set new rules that affect each and every citizen’s rights throughout the US , but then only want to hear discussions about their current and future plans and enactments on a local level so the rest of us don’t know what they’re up to, and only learn of it after the fact.

      Bloggers aren’t the only ones whispering. Our government is, and we’d better give an ear and a voice, and demand accountability
      not just to the residents of a particular state, but to every citizen in every state.

      • Re: “First you’re required to register at the trailhead, and then next, we limit your access, and then we charge you to enter, and then we raise the price…”

        I do hope you know these are already (past-tense) things in play in the NPS. ?
        Yellowstone, and most federal parks actually, record each license plate into a database as you enter the perimeter. They charge $30 to enter ($50 a head for an annual pass) and that price has been climbing. Access is obviously limited for both safety and for preservation of unique geology and flora/fauna (think; bison breeding grounds, for example). Access also is already limited in where you can lodge or camp, and if you go backcountry overnight there’s yet another fee/permit. Likewise there are fees/permits for research, fishing, boating, weddings, and filming. There are over 200 nps cameras recording activities at Yellowstone alone post-9-11, and a robust-yet-antiquated 911 dispatch system. And YNP has the controversial ‘free speech zones’ for 1st amendment activities like protest. There are also 250+ staff in that park alone NOT counting the Xanterra /concession staff.

        • Free speech zones? No controversy here. They’re unconstitutional.

          As for my earlier comments, what I was mainly considering were our wilderness areas. I realize the parks charge for usage, and there are fees for this and that. I’m just concerned about rules being made for all where only localized public hearings are carried out.

  7. Thanks dal,
    Writing letters is an awesome way to help these people make better choices.
    As we all know people sometimes say things they maybe later wish they hadn’t…maybe Ranger Reid just needs to rethink what might be in the best interest of the park and public… 🙂

  8. Many park rangers (probably most of them, and mostly outside of Yellowstone) at some point start thinking of the park as their own private property. And it’s extremely common that they strive to limit access. I’ve even known a few rangers who became obsessed with limiting access, and for no good reason.

    • Like all else, there are good rangers and bad ones; I’ve seen plenty of each. Part of the problem is when you get a bad Superintendent who enacts overly restrictive rules in the name of preservation or safety when all they’re really doing is trying to cut down on their work load, e.g. close things off, that’s less territory the staff has to cover in their patrols. Worse, some of those restrictions become permanent, so even if more intelligent people come later, they’re stuck enforcing stupid rules.

    • Soon nobody will have to worry about that ranger. The chase will be over before you know it.

        • morecowbell, I will say by the end of July. That’s what I have said to others. I believe much sooner than that though. A curve ball has a way of making one take an eye off of the target.

  9. It’s hard to believe that the park service would even SAY anything about treasure hunters not being welcome in YNP. There’s really no way the rangers would know anyone was searching for Forrest’s treasure unless someone saw you doing something wrong, like digging a hole. They can’t “ban” us from going to YNP to hike/search. Just stay safe and legal out there people!

  10. This will not affect me because I already know the chest is NOT IN Yellowstone N.P….(IMO), But it is bound to be the majority opinion of all government land management agencies as the hunt moves forward. it is a sad state of affairs when the decisionmakers forget who their bosses really are….all of us! IMO folks would be more likely to find the chest NEAR Yellow stone, rather than inside the N.PS. boundaries.

  11. There are some good people that work for the park service and other government agencies. But they are quickly being replaced by radical big government czars who think they know what is best for everyone……Just ask them. And don’t you dare cross or disagree with them, they will use any means necessary to destroy you. What the law says does not matter to them.

    We no longer have public servants, we have public overlords. The government knows what is best for us. “We The People” are nothing more than a commodity to be managed by all powerful, corrupt, government bureaucracies. We voted for big government, get used to it.
    Government rant over.

    On the other side of the coin the amount of stupidity, disrespect, narcissistic entitlement, and outright meanness I have seen displayed by the public in over forty years of living and working in the Rockies is mind boggling and disgusting.

    It seems we have become a fat, lazy, brain dead, society who deserves everything for nothing with no personal responsibility. Big brother needs to make us all the same to be “fair”.

    With personal freedom comes personal responsibility and respect. There are no free rides.

    • “We no longer have public servants, we have public overlords. The government knows what is best for us. “We The People” are nothing more than a commodity to be managed by all powerful, corrupt, government bureaucracies. We voted for big government, get used to it.
      Government rant over.”

      That has to be one of the most correct and precise statement I have heard in a very long time.

      With that said, I have to agree with most that, regardless of why these 4 knuckles were in YNP , they would have found themselves in the same or another pickle, because they lack respect and common sense.
      My worry about all this is, What will happen if YNP and other Parks enact a policy of an “Unwelcome” sign for a person or a group? What other restriction will come about, if this one is allowed to be put into place in anyway shape or form… It possibly could cause a landslide effect on “our” public lands.

    • Well said, GGuy!
      Dal’s next job = politician for the people.

      I still would like to see Dal made a searcher-of-the-month.
      I heard a second to that motion, do I hear a third?

      • OK Dal, must we put this to a vote?

        We would like to see you as our next “Searcher-of-the-Month”. Seriously!

        • I’d like to see ANY searchers of the month continue, Dal or otherwise. Thought it was a neat concept.

    • “We voted for big government, get used to it.”

      the founding fathers of this gov’t understood that human govt is inherently evil and did not trust it.

      they also understood it was necessary, so a necessary evil as they called it.

      this meant that by necessity they saw that to maximize individual liberty, which was crucial for this republic to prosper, the necessary evil needed to exist but remain as small and in check as possible

      they painstakingly put together a constitution and bill of rights and a supreme court among other things to keep politicians from passing into law things unconstitutional (thanks john roberts) to try and protect the republic from ever going the way of big gov’t, big govt programs, then towards socialism or marxism/communism.

      but unfortunately there really was never a way to 100% assure protection of this republic, it has always been in the hands of the people and what they choose.

      in the words of John Adams “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. “

      • Chris you are correct……our founding fathers understood that an all powerful central government is inherently evil.

        Government agencies are now used to silence political opposition, the IRS making decisions based on political views, the law does not matter.

        The bureaucracies exists for their own benefit, Veteran Affairs letting vets die so they look good. It doesn’t matter that vets are dieing to the bureaucrats, it only matters that they look good and get their bonuses. Welcome to big government health care.

        It seems we are our own worst enemy.

      • Really? 45 years ago half these places that Fenn mentions where operating on shoestring park services, much less had a porta-potty handy. The government eventually capitalized on tourism, hence a Corporate mentality. But only after they responded to
        the American Indians in the mid-70’s…which, not sure that everyone didn’t capitalize, including the Indians. One hand, they were respectful of their prior lands, yet still dysfunctional and after 150 yrs. on the reservations were still poor.

        It was a double-blade sword back then. Tourist flooded in, still with the memory of a grandparent that blazed their own trail into the frontier. I myself watched the moon landing with my grandma who walked to Kansas along side a Conestoga Wagon.

        Respect. This isn’t about the government, the good people that are in the parks doing their jobs, are tied to the land, and as Goofy said, need protection from the masses, and often from themselves where nature is concerned. There are clues a plenty way up north if you can find them. Not to say one way or another, the clues and the solutions are/aren’t bound by a common idea. Thats the hard part.

        But in my humble opinion, respect your local Rangers. Don’t put yourself in harms way, that was never Mr. Fenn’s intention. Especially during “Rutting Season”.

        My personal rule of thumb, and best advise from the Master? I would not fly a plane through that hole, at least without taking measurements first.

        Goofy..Here, Here!

  12. Funny thing is it’s supposed to be in disturbed land but there is a hotel and restaurant in the middle of YNP so they need to practice what the preach. In the last 4 years they have seen a increase in attendance thanks to TTOTC but there might be a select few that might do something not warranted.

  13. Thank you for the attention to the matter Dal. My kids, husband, an I, are dedicated seachers. We live in the beautiful state of Montana an have been out “hunting” several times. Never in the park but very near. We usually keep our copy of TTOTC hidden and our mouths shut, but after reading this, we will put our book on the dashboard and proudly visit the park on our next trip. We have deep respect and strong admiration for Mr.Fenn. We have gained too much to say through all this and I wouldn’t think twice about teaching my eight year old son a large lesson,
    the difference between right and wrong. If they let us in, we will find a nice spot to sit down and enjoy some Dr.Pepper and the true treasures Mr. Fenn has taught us to love:-) Thank you for all your hard work Dal, keep us posted on your searches an maybe we will run into you out there, I’ll pack extra soda just in case:-)

  14. My opinion on this matter probably amounts to zilch in the grand scheme of things in relation to how the government seems to lean these days. My experience through many years of government interaction both stateside and out of country has taught me that what we as citizens have been led to believe, and what is the harsh reality, are two completely different things. It is no surprise to me that once again the few will or already have ruined a good thing for the rest of us. The frenzied rush of careless searchers, will undoubtedly make it more difficult for those who have a good plan and know what they are doing in that type of environment. If ranger Reid sees environmental damage due to any cause, it is his job to rectify the problem before it gets out of hand. Safety issues are a no brainer in my book. Improperly equipped hikers(or clandestine searchers) need to be schooled no matter what; just for their own safety and those who need to save their butts when they get lost or hurt. In an ideal world it would be nice if all of these issues just solved themselves, but they do not. Hence, there we are, right back to Ranger Reid and what his job is. And, I believe that is to protect the park he is assigned to. Do not kill the messenger. Instead, maybe he needs all of the help he can get. Oh boy, should I hit the post button? Yeah, what the heck !!…….

  15. Everyone is allowed in any State Park, as long as you follow the rule’s. If you leave the area, the way you found it, not destroying anything there should be no problem. You can’t take anything from the park, artifacts etc., but if you found the treasure, that’s different. If, individual’s, has broken any law’s, they should be punished accordingly. But, they can’t single out individual group’s such as Forest Finn’s Fan’s, as long as you follow the same rule’s everyone is suppose too.
    Good hunting, everyone!

  16. Dal,
    I agree, I do not believe that Ranger Reid has the authority to tell us we are not allowed in there. Notice the quote ” in there”. It does make me wonder though. What if a person did find the treasure inside Yellowstone Park, would you be allowed to leave with it or would the rangers try to confiscate it? I for one would not care to let the chest out of my sight if I found it, or hand it over to some ranger. Who’s to say they wouldn’t confiscate the chest and then try to claim that they found it. It would be your word against theirs. If I should find the chest inside any national park. I will quietly sneak out with it, even if I have to wait until dark and walk through the woods, bypassing the ranger stations. Maybe that’s why Forrest said” just take the chest and go in peace”. In other words quietly leave the area and announce it to the world when you are safely elsewhere. And thats all I got to say about that?

  17. Seems to me Forrest mentioned somewhere that it would be interesting to take a look at changing land use laws.

  18. Good point 23. I wonder if Forrest was the reason behind this post? Dal?

  19. Re: YNP yanks the welcome mat

    So Yellowstone is yanking the welcome mat on the FennFolk, eh? Sounds perfectly unbearable, Booboo. Time to find a friendlier forest. In the interests of making our searches less of a hassle, I offer a “Home of Brown” interpretation that may help focus the hunt on the one state to rule them all, New Mexico. (You know it’s true, stop arguing.)

    George Leslie Brown was an all-around good American, born July 1, 1926, in Lawrence, Kansas. He was a Tuskegee airman during WW2, trained to fly the top-o’-the-line warcraft of the day, P40 Warhawks and P-51 Mustangs. George was a Democratic member of the Colorado state house of representatives, 1955-56; a member of the Colorado state senate, 1956-75; and Lieutenant Governor of Colorado, 1975-79, the first Black American to hold the position of lieutenant governor of an American state. He also worked for Grumman Aircraft Corporation for many years. George died of cancer in 2006.

    George’s short biography helps us in two ways.

    1) It turns the HOB clue into a real human being with a face and a family and a place in American history. Compare this to a Brown Trout that, while fun to catch, and tasty in the frying pan, does nothing to narrow the search down to something less than a quadrillion square miles. Granted, other Persons of Brown have been proffered as clues, but none of them brought us this close to the Orbit of Fenn. I’m pretty sure Molly Brown never flew a Mustang.
    2) Putting in below the home of Brown now makes choosing New Mexico much more defensible, and logical, and closer to Forest’s home. The proximity factor alone makes the George Brown hypothesis very strong. If we fudge a little and let Brown Trout occupy a lesser babka, I mean a lesser role, it still works if we get the WWWH step correct. Apparently this step is fairly important.

    What the heck is warm water anyway? I’ll bathe in it but I won’t drink it unless it’s deeply brown (ha!) and I have miles to go before I sleep, whoa baby, we’re mixing our poets here. I consider warm water to be any water above the freezing point; ice can’t move (easily) so it can’t halt. Thus, warm water can move until it’s halted by something. Like a dam! A hot dam! Hmmmm, so where does that put our warm water? Where is there a dam that halts warm water and simultaneously lets us put in below the home of Brown? Is such a nexus even possible? Does it involve time warps and worm holes?

    It’s got to be Navajo Dam (and Navajo Lake, and the environs thereof, the San Juan above). This area has been fairly important in a Native American history context; not so much now, but in the old, old, West, before cowboys, before cavalry, before smallpox and diabetes, before the “canyon down” was flooded, before “new riches” of natural gas wells pocked the landscape. Google “Navajo Dam sacred sites” and see what comes up. I found one item that would put me smack in the middle of the lake.

    I probably wouldn’t jump out of my boat to investigate because I’m so meek, but a brave, robust woman might. And hey, this might also make more sense of the blaze clue. Say you’re traveling down the lake in your outboard (because it’s too far to walk and you’re not paddling up the creeks and branches) one bright sunny day, fishing poles hung out for diversion, and you happen to look quickly down through the wavy light-bending water and see a shiny GPS coordinate on the bottom. Wouldn’t that make you drop anchor and trouser for a quick dip to investigate? Especially if you did this in December (cold) when the water levels are much lower than Spring runoff levels (still pretty darned cold). Remember, Forest promises your effort will be worth the cold as you pull that heavy load off the bottom and wrestle it safely into the boat. You might drown of course, but I’d be alive, in all my meekness and poverty. I’ll see that your estate gets every last nougat, I mean nugget.

    Hunting the shoreline would be more my style. I’m sure there are hundreds of spots that bear a blaze of some kind, near nooks and crannies that could hide a modest bronze box. The shore is sunny and warm, just right for eating sandwiches and napping, and there is LOTS of shoreline.

    So FennFolk unite! And come on down! Bring us your fives, your tens, your wrinkled twenties yearning to breathe free. Eschew the fens and forests of Wyoming and set your sights on the Land of Enchantment, where the buffalo are friendlier, the bears smaller, and the huevos rancheros are ‘el desayuno del paraíso.’ Bienvenidos a Nuevo Mexico, pardner!

    • Wow !!! Aren’t you generous (or is it generic) with clues?!!?
      Just kidding. I like your solve. So if my Colorado solves don’t work out, I just might swing down to NM on the way home. Where is Navajo lake, anyway? Don’t reply. I will find it. And spend some cash down there. Thanks for being brave and in the words!! Refreshing !! And , , , if I find it there, we’ll split.

    • There’s another legendary George Brown (now deceased) related to Cody, WY that might also make some sense in researching. See Buffalo Bill Center trustees list, e.g. Hoodoo Ranch manager. I’m chasing some thoughts focused around Buffalo Bill Center at the moment. Ranch is above 5K feet, and founded by artist AA Anderson.

      When driving between Meeteetse and Cody in the early morning hours, try to dodge the bunnies that seem to feel it’s important to wander onto the road. Hwy 120 has several straight lengths that tempt drivers to push 90 miles an hour (in my experience).

  20. OK, I am going to give you more of my Tips on Hunting for the treasure, Or any Treasure. I will never tell you where I think the treasure is. Only hint of it. LOL
    Be Sly Like a FOX!

    I was in a State Park, Using my metal Detector, A Park Ranger saw me, digging
    With a little shovel. He ask me WHAT are you doing? I said…….My Grandmother told me that years ago she lost her wedding ring by this tree! I told her I got a metal detelctor and she said I should go look! The ranger understood. And told me I should not be doing this, but left and told me to fill in any holes I made.

    Be ready! Be Safe……

    and always have your story straight, when you are bulling your way out of a ticket.LOL

    • Thanks Dal…Bulling? Is that a word? Or Bluffing….is what I meant. anyway…thank you!

    • Be Prepared! Scout Motto! As Forrest would say, tell the truth…just not the WHOLE truth. 🙂

  21. (Standing on soap box, waving a WWFFD banner…)
    This is MY land. I pay for it’s continued integrity with each paycheck. I will not destroy it, nor let others destroy it’s pristine oppulance. I will not be shut out of my beloved country. I will proudly proclaim my unfettered right to occupy MY park, no matter what the reason. I hearby proclaim my citizenship to the United States of America and that includes YSNP or any other National Park. I will be free…
    Just one word…secrecy! Nuff said!

  22. Thought maybe that’s where you got the information was from him. Is it? If not, where did it comes from? Just can’t believe they will keep us from there if they find out we’re searching in the park.

  23. Could this put a damper on it being found this year (As many have been predicting)? 😉

  24. Ain’t nothing or no one gonna stop me from being in Yellowstone as long as I’m doing what is not illegal. It is there for the people. Me Reid, you will have a very hard time keeping me out.

  25. When I visit places like Yellowstone Park, it reminds me of an old Indian proverb:
    “Everyone is a house with four rooms, a physical, an emotional, a mental and a spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time, but unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person.” That’s what it is like to experience places like Yellowstone, even if for a brief time.

    • german-
      That’s an interesting philosophy..
      I like it a lot but am having trouble with the “mental” state.
      Physical is easy..I enjoy the beauty and the exercise of the hike..smell the pine scented air..
      Emotional is also easy…I love the place. I let myself become attached to it.
      Spiritual is a bit more challenging for me personally..but I get it..I embrace the ground of my ancestors and the beauty of the wild places untouched by human hands.
      Mental…I don’t understand that part…How is it different than what I have already done..
      I guess I need a guide..You be Yoda and I will be a disciple..
      Help me understand how the 4 rooms work.

      • Lol, Dal…
        Mental- figuring out the poem and finding the treasure!
        Sorry…luvs u!
        Guess none of us clean that room often!

        • Donna,

          Sorry to say, but I have to clean that room more than I would like to.

      • I guess you weren’t aware of my PTSD. When you experience stress and bouts of depression, a secluded spot off away from the crowds is a wonderful place to be.

          • german-
            I have no interest in testing your bear theory unless it’s a game of checkers.
            Bears are smart folks..but I might beat them at a board game..

          • Then again, isn’t this what it’s all about? A game. Who can outwit who in finding the chest.

      • The mental room… That’s the room where the deep thinking gets done. Dal, I suspect you go there often, even if you don’t realize it. 🙂

  26. i Was Just In Yellowstone Last week searching… I Didn’tHave a Problem. I Followed All The Rules

    • BJ…Yet Fenn tells us to break all the rules. Walk off the path? Which may be everywhere except Yellowstone in a four state region! Go figure, 4 guys to ruin it for everyone! LOL.

        • I would say carrying a pick-axe could be a tip-off, then having to be rescued….

        • I’d like to see an official report, but the buzz on comments here was that they were rafting on madison river (which is only allowed near Lewis lake). Then got stuck and needed help.

  27. Perhaps Forrest has, but could further, nip in the bud this Y.P. problem…i.e., by further emphasizing that the location of the treasure will only be found with your thinking and analysis leading to the exact location! You’ll not be wondering about in any “possible” area of the great outdoors. No one, no animal, no tree will be aggravated by your presence!

    • Mary…don’t we all wish it would be that easy…just one more clue…
      “Uh, yes…the treasure lies in …uh…naw! Just kidding!”

  28. President Theodore Roosevelt laid the cornerstone to the Roosevelt Arch honoring the world’s first national park in 1903. The Arch offers the welcoming words “For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People” to all who enter YNP through it’s main entrance.

    Discrimination towards visitors of YNP of any kind sullies the spirit the park was created in. Just because someone is treasure hunting or engaged in some other activity that Ranger Reid finds offensive does not affect one’s legal right to visit a national park. By the same token any park visitor, treasure hunter or not, is bound to obey by the park rules and regulations; breaking these laws would obviously be grounds for legal repercussions.

    What I find most surprising is that this has come to light. I could see this being an unwritten policy adopted by the local Rangers but to be so overt about it could severely tarnish the reputation and legacy of Chief Ranger Reid. History will judge this discrimination in a very bad light.

    We treasure hunters are just some “of the people”. Ranger Reid, your job is to be a steward of the park for future generations “of the people” to enjoy the park. Your job is also to foster the “the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People” who currently visit the park. It is not part of your job to pick and chose segments “of the people” and suggests that they are no longer welcome at YNP.

    But, pssst. The treasure is not in YNP.

  29. I’m wondering why anyone would think they needed to carry picks, shovels, ropes, or anything else with them – since all you need to do is look down, pick up the chest, and carry it away.

    While the chest may be just sitting in the wilderness waiting to be picked up, I believe Forrest is a clever old fox who won’t want to place the discoverer in jeopardy. As such, he probably left a smaller (pocket sized) item containing details on the treasure’s whereabouts in the great unknown wilderness.

    Be careful what you seek, when you paddle up your creek.
    For frantic searching in your bed, will not find glasses on your head.
    And as you scan the ground for gold, your conciseness become quite cold.
    To other colors plainly there, clearly scanned yet unaware.

    • Forrest has made it clear that it isn’t some note somewhere that leads to the treasures whereabouts, and the poem isnt leading you to a note or any other type of proxy

      the poem if followed precisely leads to the treasure, and Forrest has reiterated and confirmed this with follow up statements afterward that the poem leads to the treasure and nothing else

  30. In my opinion, this talk of Mr. Reid is really of no consequence really. As far as we are concerned, such talk of discrimination in the Park will do him no good.

    Forrest in all his wisdom can’t possibly have overlooked possibilities regarding his stashing of the chest. Simple because he wished for the chest to stay put for quite some time to come. He is a brilliant man. He is not one to underestimate.

    In my estimation, it is unlikely he would select a place which over time would undergo changes no one could foresee. He would more than likely pick a place that he knows has become a paragraph in history that has been neatly tucked away.

    For me, I found the most revealing line in the poem to be “Look quickly down, your quest to cease”. I say this because it indicates a ‘spot’ not a ‘location’. After all, what good is a map without an “X” to mark the spot. Also, his comment that when the person solves the poem, “they will go with confidence”. This can only mean that the exact “X” has been found. I don’t think I would have “confidence” in only locating an area (or location). But then again, these are only my thoughts. What do you think?

  31. Does anyone have a link to an article about the 4 men who had to be rescued from the Madison River and/or an article that talks about Tim Reid saying Fenn searchers might not be welcome in Yellowstone? I always like to see the original source if possible. Thanks! 🙂

  32. What if ranger Reid happens to find the treasure……should he be handcuffed and removed from the park? How is he going to carry the box with his hands handcuffed?

  33. I guess nobody sees that the Park officials can do whatever they feel like is right for the park. Get over it and don’t have a heart attack. Personally, I think if it was in the Park it would have already been found by now. It could be other authorities follow this, FS, BLM. It’s all a police state nowadays. I don’t think anything is going to change that until this country gets taken over by a foreign power. Maybe the Chinese will buy out the govt.

  34. I agree with others who have posted here and believe that the “chest” is not in YNP. In fact, I do not believe that Forrest was (is) a fool and did not anticipate the problems of officialdom which might be encountered by searchers he himself solicited to go probing about the wilderness, seeking the whereabouts of his treasure chest. Some locations are too obviously off-limits simply because of the published rules , regulations and encouragement against tracking through the environment and disturbing the extant natural resources, historic artifacts and archeological resources of the area. I believe Forrest placed the chest in a site where persons are free to search without fear of harassment by Government representatives, nor by deeded landowners. So, this would rule out National Parks, National Monuments, designated Wilderness Areas, private ranches, cemeteries, outhouses, structures, etc. Forrest himself excluded, and other State and National areas generally described as heavily protected and patrolled. Indian lands are naturally excluded due to the requirement to obtain permission for traveling on and across such lands. Forrest knows, and respects, these requirements and restrictions. If given Indian permission, there would be a record or recollection, and these lands would be overrun by Indian searchers.
    So, where do we search? I don’t know, but suggest BLM lands, National Recreational lands. National Forests, National Refuges, abandoned military bases, State and Federal rights-of-way adjacent to roads and bridges, and other natural areas open to the public for recreational use. I can’t name all the possibilities, but, from reading the blogs and comments, searchers are smart and resourceful and will identify areas within the four states which are only subtlety mentioned, or not at all mentioned, in TTOTC. If the mention is stressed it’s not subtle. The Poem is in the book, not subtlety, all other hints must be subtle, according to Forrest. Forrest has said the Poem contains no Riddles. For a long time I thought it did. I foolishly concentrated on the “hidden meanings.” How stupid of me. I’m now convinced he hid the chest in a site where one has to “put in”. There must be water involved. Forrest may not (or maybe he did ) have made two trips in a canoe, raft or boat, but I’ll bet he stepped into the water and waded a short ways before secreting the chest. That’s the “put in” part to the Poem. And then he “walked back to the car.”
    One thing I do know…the chest is in one of the four States he said it was in.
    And you can bet it has a “tile” or flat rock place atop it, not needing any sort of tool to dislodge the topping.
    Stay safe and please do not tempt nor bait the Rangers entrusted to keep safe the public’s interest in these lands.

  35. And a “funny” for the day: Don had shingles.
    Those of us who spend so much time in a doctor’s office should appreciate this!

    Doesn’t it seem more and more that physicians are running their practices like an assembly line?

    Here’s what happened to Don:

    Don walked into a doctor’s office and the receptionist asked him what he had. Don said: ‘Shingles.’

    So she wrote down his name, address, medical insurance number and told him to have a seat.

    Fifteen minutes later a nurse’s aide came out and asked Don what he had….
    Don said, ‘Shingles.’ So she wrote down his height, weight, a complete medical history and told

    Don to wait in the examining room.

    A half hour later a nurse came in and asked Don what he had. Don said, ‘Shingles..’ So the nurse

    gave Don a blood test, a blood pressure test, an electrocardiogram, and told him to take off all

    his clothes and wait for the doctor.

    An hour later the doctor came in and found Don sitting patiently in the nude and asked him what he had.

    Don said, ‘Shingles.’ The doctor asked, ‘Where?’

    Don said, ‘Outside on the truck.

    Where do you want me to unload ’em??’




    • Dal, I have one question to ask. Do you really think there is a chance that Forrest would have ever hidden the chest in YNP?

      I have always considered that Fenn would know the rules regarding these spots and would take the necessary steps to avoid any complications in his setup of the search. Why would he want to tempt any of the federal agencies? He knows they would bring a dark cloud over the whole idea of his chase. But, this is obviously just my opinion. What do you think?

      • This might pertain to your question. I remember reading that when Forrest was trying to get the Russian art work here for a Fechin Exhibit that there was all this red tape in regards to bringing these items into the country. I believe he ended up just doing it and was visited by some secret service guys over it and he just basically didn’t care and was able to do what he wanted to do. I wish I could remember where I read that story. It might be on chasechat.com in the Forrest Research articles section or maybe in one of his books. I can’t remember, but it told me that he just didn’t care when it comes to things like that. He believes this is his country(it is) and he should be allowed to do things like that, that seem obviously ok to do.

        • This land is your land, this land my land. This land was made for you and me…..

    • Big Brother has spoken……….The chest belongs to the government. We voted for big government get used to it. Will the government confiscate the chest and compel you to prove it was not found on government property? It no longer matters what the law says, the government does as it pleases.

      I wonder if Fenn will come out and say it’s not in Yellowstone?

      • And this attitude by big government is precisely why no-one should ever reveal the location of the treasure chest when it is found if there is even the slightest chance that it could be confiscated! Forrest could tell us it has been found and the finder could reveal their identify if they wish, but it might not be wise to say more than that.

      • Goofy – perhaps you should look at that abandoned property statute before jumping to conclusions.

        • Wolf…..In the video at 1:50 the ranger says if you find something you can’t remove it. At 2:10 in the video the reporter shows us it’s illegal to remove a rock from Yellowstone.

          As I said in my earlier comment the laws no longer matter, our government can do whatever it chooses.

          What’s the matter the girls at chasechat not keeping you busy?

          • Hey Goof – read the statute about after you report the find – you know the one about “abandon property”.

            Actually Chase Chat is going just fine – one big happy family – in fact we just started a new threat where we discuss how Goofy is actually an alien sent to steal the finders soul” you should check it out – its a lot of fun!- lol

      • Goofy, all FF needs to do is to come out and say is that he’s “thought of everything”…

        Oh wait, he already did 🙂

        • Well maybe not…….he seemed a little surprised about the guy that got arrested for digging.


          Here’s an excerpt from his comment:

          Now, what if I wanted to secret a can of Dr. Pepper under a rock in the cooling waters of a rivulet somewhere in my allotted public acreage? If I did, I would not need to use all of my area, I would need just 7.5 fluid ounces and 90 calories of space. And I would still have about 2.08555 acres remaining. Seems fair to me but would I have broken the law? Yes or No? If yes, then let us change the law because who knows where that nonsense could end. If no, then why are we getting so excited about the little things?

  36. I personally think that he didn’t hide it in YNP. Personally I think it’s in NM but if it is found, how much do you owe the government (tax rate)? Them again I think if I did find it, I would call an attorney and FF for advice. Good luck to all.

  37. Forrest never said anyone needed a shovel, metal detector or to dig. We need to remember what he did say, not what we believe he said.
    I think when its all over we will all be smacking ourselves in the head! LOL

  38. Ok, this could never be over!!!! For one thing…..

    Here is my take on Yellowstone…….It is were you begin. Than take it down. The directions are in the books. Now I just need the time. And Some money HONEY.

  39. You know I love poker, have played some big tournaments in my time. When I look down and see AA, I immediately think pretend you have J10 and proceed to create layers for a story that ultimately deceives most players, even the best.
    The book is a great place to create layers and mislead by telling a story that makes sense and is believable by even the best. But in telling this story f left a tell. I think on purpose, for this poem could not be so obtuse that it be impossible to solve. In the poem there is one key line it seems almost everyone spends so little time discussing, yet nmypinon completely divulges the proximity location.

    I guess I will just say; its not in ynp, it’s in NM, the blaze is a water, and and wwwh is NE NM. so there are my quads to ff full boat.

    gl searchers,

    • The Blaze is a water? Is Blaze a boating term? never heard that. I think of a blaze as a FIRE or A Trail marker.

      Lou Lee Chased by Brown Bears in Jellystone Park….
      Formerly know as AKA and LOU LOU BELLE……

    • With all the discussion about the “blaze” over the years, it always amazed me how when Forrest put the “blaze” right in front of people, they never understood it.

      In one of Fenn’s first scrapbooks, he put the “blaze” right in front of everyone and yet people started looking for trees, rocks and other monuments with his “FF” either carved or otherwise marked on it.

      In reality (mine at least), Forrest himself has always been the blaze. You see, there can be no “blaze” without a “trail blazer”. The two are one and the same. The line “If you’ve been wise and found the blaze” makes complete sense. Think about it. He’s telling you to find the “trail blazer” and you will find the “blaze”.

      In my solution, this was exactly the case.

  40. Do not get me wrong, the blaze is completely a trail marker LL.
    I like your imagination GG btw.

  41. It seems logical to me that a wise man with the name ‘Forrest’ would hide it on Forest Service property where regs. allow for Geocaching. He once stated, “The government works for me.” (forest service)

    • I think that geocaches set a precedence that the park service allows for people leaving something and taking something. Only the cache owner I believe has to file for a permit I believe. So maybe if it’s there, just say Forrest has bad aim and it was supposed to be included in the closest cache to where it’s found lol. If being a lawyer wasn’t so boring..it would be fun to try and work around laws.

      • Steph–Your on point because whether a particular law applies to a given situation will depend on the Legal definition of the words used in the law and whether the situation fits within those definitions. In this case, whether the chest has been “abandoned” can be argued either way. The Yellowstone ranger in Dals tape clearly concludes without any supporting analysis that the chest can’t be taken if found, because its been “abandoned”. That’s a legal conclusion that is simply not supported by the evidence. If confronted with the issue, I’m sure any good lawyer or treasure finder would argue that Mr Fenn never really abandoned the chest anymore than his family abandoned their tents and other stuff in West Yellowstone at the end of summer when he was a boy. Would the Gov really hope to convince a judge or jury that the Fenn family were prohibited from picking up their stuff the next year because it had been “abandoned”? They put it where they did, because they knew they would be back the next year to get it. As for the chest, Mr Fenn put the treasure where he did knowing only someone who solved the secrets of the poem will find it and he has gone to great lengths to encourage folks to look for it. He has written books, maps, blogs, hints, done interviews, that are obviously not the actions of someone who no longer has any interest in an item. The poem even states that Forrest will “give title to the gold” to the finder—clearly not the words of someone who has relinquished all claim to an item. This whole chase is predicated on the assumption that the solver of the poem will be rewarded with his generous treasure. Until then, its his and not the governments. If he wanted to go retrieve today would anyone seriously argue that he has no right to do so? Maybe the government will try to claim the treasure when its found — maybe they won’t. If they do, it doesn’t mean they will win.

        • i agree Raven. I don’t believe he’s relinquished his rights if his intention is to pass on ownership with the title. So therefore I don’t believe it can be considered abandoned. I’m surprised this Reid guy wants to play “arrogant bully”. It would behooooove him to say…come one come all…don’t dig, but bring your binoculars and compass and search away. Oh and your tax dollars to fill my government pockets.

          • Good point–they could use this opportunity to their advantage instead of being the bully. I also forgot to mention the bracelet that FF wants back. I’ve thought all along that he has said he wanted this back for various reasons: to know when its been found; and as an indication the box and contents have not been abandoned.

          • Found this link on the nps site.


            Here is the part I’m referring to. Interesting that Forrest has used some of the wording…not in a cemetery or structure. It sounds like you need a permit, and then you don’t need a permit.

            – Establishment of geocaches is allowable with the issuance of a permit. No
            burial of containers, movement of natural items or other manipulation of
            the natural environment is permitted. Caches cannot be established in
            rockshelters, cemeteries, structures either historic or in current use,
            arches, or environmentally sensitive areas such as bogs, creeks, streams
            or rivers. The establishment of virtual geocaches does not require a
            permit. Virtual geocaching is defined as the activity in which a location
            is marked or specified by means of Global Positioning System (GPS), map
            or any means other than a physical marking or object placed at the site
            of the location, and which is done with the intent that such locations
            will be searched for or sought out by others.

            Justification: Physically placing geocaches in the park without
            consulting with park management leads to the risk that sensitive or
            threatened resources may be damaged either by the individuals placing the
            geocache or by individuals seeking the geocache.

          • Steph, I think you are on to something with the geocache info posted above and below….Its interesting that the guidelines you posted were issued in 2012 and before that it appears that geocaches were not prohibited nor required a permit. I found some “guidelines” that the parks folks followed back in 2009-2010 and there was no mention of permits. Even then the guidelines say that in a situation where geocache was in a bad spot that they would ask the person who placed it there to move it (no mention of confiscation etc). I agree that its interesting that FF has followed some of the language in the regs you cited (no structures, not in cemetery, etc.) Good detective work Steph!

          • Thanks Raven, I think regardless of what the law is now…that is publically posted on THEIR site and I think if it’s on any nps land…that would be a viable grandfather claus to the finder being the keeper. They might need to leave the chest and toss in a few pop tops and pieces of string though lol….

          • ah, but at $1000 per fine, he’s already made $7000 on ‘those wascily tweasure huntwrs’. Even 233 visitors at the normal rate would be less profitable, plus those 7 violators create buz&PR, the regular folks don’t.

            Might be Chief Ranger ‘Flytrap’ Reid is running a reverse psychology on us though: get more PR for the treasure hunt , in order to help get it over with faster, regardless of where the chest actually is?
            .. Nah.

            of course, maybe he took this onion article seriously: 🙂 LOL

      • Perhaps its time to contact the United Nations since they have control of Yellowstone National park & ask them what their rules are for the park.

  42. I did not say it was in Yellowstone, But I said to begin there. Its in the book. Its at least 20 miles away….LOL

  43. Hum…interesting comments concerning the blaze. I have a few logical observations to make…all IMO.
    1. A blaze could be several trees connected together by a common root system, forming a protective “hobbit hole”.
    2. It could be a marker on the ground, covering a natural or man made depression used for storage, like a cache spot.
    3. A shaft of light shining on a certain spot on the ground caused by the sun filtering thru trees, rocks, etc.during a certain time of day.
    4. A group of trees that have blazing leaves and stark white bark, growing among darker foliated trees.
    5. An odd colored area of ground not typically found in the area.
    I could go on and on. Besides the typical “carved” blaze, these are a few that you may want to keep in mind as you search.
    I think the main reason those searchers walked right past the last 7 clues was because they didn’t keep an open mind on their clue options. You need to take off your adult blinders and actually SEE the world around you. Think with an open mind.

    • Donna, I will go with option 2, very Raiders Lost Ark, a tomb with a ray of light that only shines on summer solstice. That is how I’d hide a treasure that will last for centuries. Nice Blazestorm!

  44. Navy, you are on the right track. 6/24 (6 stanzas, 24 lines) is Midsummer’s Day, celebrated in many cultures by bonfire blazes. Many hints to fire in the book. Find the right place and time and look quickly down.

    • I wonder if FF ever played with Google maps to where he used the sun feature that has a slider you can drag to see how the sun rises and sets. Throughout the year.

    • Jack, are you suggesting Casper Mt and the Crimson Dawn Ranch?
      (‘Crimson Dawn’ was also a plot point item in Marvel’s Xmen)

      Midsummer can vary between the 20th to 25th, can’t it? though the feast of St John is fairly reliable on 6/24.

  45. According to my research, the treasure is legally deemed as “Mislaid” and is the charge of the property owner to guard it until the party that “mislaid” said item returns to claim it. So, in by giving those that find it the “Title”, they then become the rightful owner no matter where it is found.

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