Stop This Nonsense……

New Mexico State Patrol Chief, Pete Kassetas


The New Mexico State Patrol Chief wants Forrest to stop the chase. He called it “nonsense” and suggested that Forrest should go get the chest “if it exists”. Pretty insulting, don’t you think?

Pete Kassetas is the chief’s name and he seems to be pretty full of himself. He also believes that no outside agency should be called in to investigate his boys when they shoot somebody. The chief says they can do it themselves. Maybe that point of view should be extended to all folks who shoot somebody. Let’s just have them all investigate themselves. What do you say chief? It would save the State Police a lot of time and money and apparently that’s why you want Forrest to stop the search. You claim your boys spent too much time and taxpayer resources looking for Randy Bilyeu and Pastor Wallace. Nice attitude chief.

I would suggest that Pete doesn’t seem to grasp the value or the popularity or the positive rewards of the chase. It was just a few years ago that True West Magazine honored Forrest with their True Westerner Award for his contribution to and preservation of America’s Western Heritage. Some of that was for his writing but it was also for stoking “the national media fires with his $1million hidden treasure hunt”. In 2012 he received the Rounders Award” from the New Mexico State Department of Agriculture for “Individuals who have lived, promoted, or articulated the Western Way of Life.”  The Mayor of Santa Fe proclaimed May 29th, 2015 “The Thrill of the Chase Day” for Forrest’s philanthropic endeavors and increased tourism due to his treasure hunt, And finally, The State Tourism folks chose to include Forrest’s treasure hunt in their very popular New Mexico Tourism video.

There are swarms of problems in New Mexico that are responsible for a great deal of death among the citizenry of your state…some are even in your direct purview.

Here’s one that you might care about chief, motorcycles. I see that there were 37 motorcycle fatalities in New Mexico in 2015. Maybe you could have everyone turn in their bikes and ban motorcycles on the State’s highways. That would save your boys a lot of time and money chief. Why don’t you suggest that to the news and see what happens?

What about pedestrian deaths chief? In June of 2016 the Albuquerque Journal wrote that New Mexico is number one in the nation in pedestrian deaths…Holy cow chief, There’s something you and the boys could work on.

By my rough statistics…assuming there were about 35,000 folks out searching for Forrest’s treasure in 2016. One died.  That’s a one in 35,000 chance that anyone will die while looking for Forrest’s chest. A whole lot better than my chances of dying while walking along your roads chief..

I note that New Mexico experienced a nearly 24% increase in pedestrian fatalities between 2015 and the first half of 2016. That’s not good chief. I hope you can address that.

So you see chief. There are a lot of activities that are much more dangerous than hunting for Forrest’s treasure. Do the research chief. There is a tremendous interest in looking for Forrest’s treasure…because it’s fun and for many it has an even greater meaning:
Previously estranged family members are reuniting and joining in the search, and thousands of children are learning about nature first hand. In a time when the world is full of problems, Forrest has provided some hope and excitement. Sure, there have been some losses, and those tragedies cannot be over emphasized, but you lose many times more hunters each year in your state. Look it up chief. Do you want New Mexicans to stop hunting?

Right now we are experiencing about a thousand new visitors per hour on this blog. This is just one of many blogs and web sites that provide information about the chase. The chase is growing and your whining about the treasure hunt on national media is certainly helping to widen that interest. Did I say thanks for that?

Speaking of information Chief, Forrest has done a lot to inform searchers that they don’t need to do anything foolish to locate the chest, to wit:

“The chest is not located in a dangerous place.”

“I want all the people looking for the treasure chest to understand that they should not go looking anyplace where a 79 or 80 year old man could not carry a 42lb box.”

“The chest is not located in a tunnel, cave or mine.”

“Hunt prepared and go safely.”

“The chest is not in a dangerous place. But any place can become dangerous for anyone who violates the common sense rules of the chase.”

“I hid the treasure in a place that is not especially difficult to reach.”

“I’ve said over and over not to look for the treasure when there is snow on the ground.”

So you see chief…Forrest has warned folks to be safe and has eliminated several particularly dangerous locations as hiding places for the chest.

As far as “nonsense” goes..

I can think of a lot more senseless activity than hunting for the chest. It’s an activity that gets me outside into the smells and colors of nature. It has given me exposure to western history, prehistory, geography, culture and lore. I’ve slept under the wide open sky and hiked among the sage and juniper of the sub-alpine regions of the mountains. I’ve seen bear and elk and sheep while out looking for Forrest’s hidden chest. I’ve fished for dinner and found relics of ancient civilizations. I’ve walked many of the arroyos, creeks and trails of the lovely mountains between Santa Fe and Glacier. I have not found it yet but I’ve had a great time trying and I have no intention of stopping.

Chief, I doubt that you will read this blog so I am providing your contact information, and urging those who have an opinion on this subject to contact you and tell you what they think. You probably already know what I think.


Contact information for New Mexico State Patrol Chief Pete Kassetas:


phone: 505 827-9300 or 505 827-3476

Street Address: 4491 Cerrillos Rd., Santa Fe, NM 87507-9721

Twitter Account:

Facebook Account:


187 thoughts on “Stop This Nonsense……

    • I looked at all the comments made here and it made me stop and think. There are times, I am sure in each of our lives we are meant to be to a reason and then we move forward. Many times we leave with no explanation or insight of what has just happened. Yet, down the road our subconscious will take grasp of what was and what will be that will make us who we are. New Mexico State Patrol Chief, Pete Kassetas has his hands full everyday with everything I have been reading. He is a distinguished officer among his peers. We don’t live in a perfect world and he is always mindfully to protect and serve.
      I don’t have control on many things I do. It just happens but it does get me thinking. We take most things for granted and therefore sometimes we just roll with the dice. I am sure each moment those who’ve met their perils were actively thinking the what if’s. Some think they are 10 feet tall and bullet proof, but those are the ones that fall the hardest to convey to the weak to learn and understand their own mistakes. Sometimes it is just too late to those who don’t listen. Just stop and think.
      I am not a man of lengthy words or elaborate sentences. I try to do my best to be the best I know how. I would give the shirt off my back to help those who really needed help. At the Lure showing, Forrest said something that really plays in my mind almost every day. I listen to what he says and many times it takes me days just to understand what he really meant.
      Forrest and Pete are good men and so are those who follow in their footsteps as well those here on this blog. It is not my position to say who is right and who is wrong. It is not my position to ridicule someone for their mistakes. It is only my position to teach those whom want to listen from this old guy who has been down that road once, ok, maybe a few times. We all break our own rules don’t you think?
      To most of you, it may seem I am just shooting from the hip. I have a strong conscious of what is right from wrong and safety is always at the top of one of my lists. It is human instinct to survive for the next. All I have left to say is to stand your ground and be strong. Live a life of courage to show the one who seeks to explore.

    • I say to all this quest saved my life it made my brain work when i had a stroke it always remembered the poem I will say this to the world thinking is a good thing I still have brain issues but i keep thinking so be wise and careful when searching

    • Ummmm….how about all the people The Chase has helped? Not to get too personal, but I was/possibly still am dealing with severe depression after the unexpected loss of 3 close family members (all within 8 weeks) just this past Spring.
      Finding Forrest’s poem and map to work on has given me a welcome distraction to all the other stuff swirling around constantly in my head. It has given me actual joy in a time I didn’t think joy was possible, and I want to thank Forrest so much for that. As he’s said before, perhaps folks should learn to leave other folks alone to some degree. Leave Forrest and his searchers alone! We’re having fun…and there are way worse things we could be doing/or dwelling on with our time.
      Of course, it’s always sad to hear of a loss, and my condolences go out to any lost searcher’s family and friends. But when you’re an adult, you (hopefully) make adult choices, and consequences aren’t always in your favor. Sad but true. Personally, I’ve never understood why mountaineers climb Mt. Everest b/c it’s so dangerous, but I’d never tell them to stop. It’s their business and their pleasure and their risk.
      I’d think it’s rather time for any police department to concentrate more on helping youths or elderly or abused or anyone who is truly not capable of helping him/herself and let adults who decide to participate in The Chase–and Forrest, of course–alone. After all, I thought we lived in The Land of the Free. I, as a veteran myself, didn’t serve my country so that one citizen (even a police officer) has the “right” to tell another citizen what to do or not to do based simply on the fact that he/she “doesn’t like” it. Calling it “Nonsense”? If you ask me, that type of attitude is nonsense; it’s not, IMHO, what our country’s freedom is all about. Enuf of that.
      Anyway, Happy Birthday Forrest—and thank you so much again for The Chase!

  1. He should focus On the rampant heroin epidemic killing the youth’s of new mexico.but that would mean real police work. What was I thinking carry on chiefly.

    • I don’t think Fenn should call it off. He said it’s not in a dangerous place. But there is no need to ridicule police officers saying they need to do real police work. Police officers risk their lives for our safer everyday. Show a little respect.

  2. I don’t really think the treasure is in your state anyway chief so I won’t be stopping in to see you anytime soon. Besides. As I hear it it’s safer out in the woods than in the areas protected by your department.

  3. So now if someone drowns in a pool, we should drain it instead of teaching them to swim? If someone shoots their friend or their person, stop hunting? Gets into a car accident, then not let them ever drive a car again? This guy sounds like a real winner. We all have to take our safety and be accountable for our own actions! IMO

  4. Wow,, in the last 2yrs, by actuarial, i have dumped,,, $ 2, 672.39 into the NM
    economy, ( and i am basically a pobrocito from S. Colorado).
    ,, Hey Chief, I was planning another week trip
    NW of Espanola after the 4th had settled down.. GUESS WHAT???
    I LIKE Pindale, Wy better anyway, chest or no chest.

  5. Very, very well said Dal….. I agree with ya 110%……. until next time… see ya

  6. Great message, Dal. I hope it penetrates Kassetas’s skull, one way or
    another (perhaps via messages from other searchers to him).

    Regardless, it looks like FF won’t be “pulling the plug” on this, but I
    certainly don’t want some “authorities” or “legislators” trying to rein in
    any of my searching activity . . . at least this year. Or ever, actually
    (of course).

    All IMO.

  7. Great message, Dal. I hope it penetrates Kassetas’s skull, one way or
    another (perhaps via messages from other searchers to him).

    Regardless, it looks like FF won’t be “pulling the plug” on this, but I
    certainly don’t want some “authorities” or “legislators” trying to rein in
    any of my searching activity . . . at least this year. Or ever, actually
    (of course).

    All IMO.

  8. Maybe we should contact the gov office and bitch about this guy. What a jerk. He has no idea how fun this is. People need to look out for them selves. No body is forced out in the sticks. If they are out of their comfort zone… then stay home. Thx Dal

  9. Chief Pete buy a copy of TTOTC. Use your super cop skills to figure out the poem find the chest and put a end to this Chase. Legend has it fenn put a ever lasting doughnut in there. GLHH.

  10. Nicely done Dal. My reaction was very similar – I sent an email a few days ago. It is easy to get angry (I am), but that would be counterproductive in a phone call or email. I think that just expressing how the thrill of the chase has changed so many lives would be a great way to start, like you so poetically did.

  11. Saw this on the local news in Idaho. Apparently safer to hike the mountains than NM streets.

  12. I’ve sent my email to the chief…. thanks Dal for the address…. see ya my friends

  13. Hello Chief Kassetas, I’d just like to remind you that citizens of this country contract out for emergency city services such as police, fire department and ems to provide the respective services to the communities they serve. These emergency service providers are expected to perform the duties that they are trained for without bias, indifference or politicization. Does the Coast Guard complain about having to rescue stranded boat crews or recover bodies in the aftermath of hurricanes or boating accidents? Of course not. Providing rescue services to the boating community is one of their primary functions.

    I certainly understand that an increase in search and rescue requests can put a strain on emergency services budgets. If this is at the heart of your concerns, then I would suggest that the state of New Mexico adopt a program similar to that of Colorado. Here it is from the website…

    Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue card a good investment for outdoor enthusiasts

    DENVER – Tuesday May 24, 2016 – The Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) reminds Colorado residents and visitors that summer means more people will participate in the wide variety of outdoor activities our state has to offer. Now is the perfect time to purchase your Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue card (CORSAR).

    County sheriffs department volunteers conducted over 1,655 search and rescue missions last year in Colorado – an increase of over 400 incidents. These dedicated volunteer teams work throughout the state year-round to aid people who are in distress or danger and the cost of each mission is often in the thousands of dollars. By purchasing a CORSAR card you are contributing to Colorado’s Search and Rescue fund, which reimburses these teams for the costs they incur to provide help. This is not an insurance card – search and rescue teams will always come to your aid.

    The CORSAR card enrollment costs just $3 for one-year, and $12 for five-years, and can be purchased at over 300 retailers in the state. Or, you can purchase them online at:

  14. Next chiefy wil be petitioning the State to keep any of us from going on state and forest service property for recreational purposes . The chief would rather be called out for domestic violence or suicide when nobody is able to do anything that might put a person in danger.. I’d bet the percentage of those would increase dramatically. Maybe that would be a better excuse to ask the state to increase there funding. I thought the major essence of the state police was based on Emergency response. Maybe the chief doesn’t need a job .

  15. In general I’m a supporter of the police. Most of them do an incredibly difficult job with honor and distinction. I grew up on the bad side of the bad side of town, so I saw first hand the slimeballs and degenerates they have to deal with on a daily basis. That experience gave me a lot of respect for the police. On the other hand there’s not much I detest more than a fat headed corrupt cop. It’s a tough job but if you don’t like it quit. A bad cop should be taken straight to the gallows.

    I know real cops, and Chief Kassetas is not a cop; he’s a politician. His stupid statements are embarrassing to real cops, making a laughing stock out of the state police. Only an politician would make these incredibly stupid statements when there are very real problems he should be dealing with. Here are just a few:

    New Mexico had the third-highest violent crime rate and second-highest property crime rate in the nation in 2015, according to new data released by the FBI, which also shows an increase in Albuquerque’s crime rates. And New Mexico was second only to Hawaii in terms of property crime rates with 3,697.4 per 100,000 people. Both violent crime and property crime in Albuquerque also increased last year, by 9.2 percent and 11.5 percent, respectively.

    One of the cops from the chop shop, APD Officer Matt Griffin, has since been sentenced to life in prison for multiple bank robberies and murder of a witness.

    Former Albuquerque DA Calls APD a Criminal Enterprise Admits She Refused to Charge Cops

    ABQ Cop Files Lawsuit, Claims Coverup, Abuse And Corruption:

    Can New Mexico Break Its Cycle of Corruption? The recent resignation, conviction and incarceration of former Secretary of State Dianna Duran for embezzlement and money laundering has already prompted calls for major changes to the state’s ethics and campaign finance laws.

    Former Colfax County Sheriff’s Deputy Pleads Guilty to Federal Drug Trafficking and Theft of Government Property Charges:

    • Goofy, I understand your frustrations with the NM State Police Chief. However, do not stoop to his level. This blog has rules you yourself enforce through police-ing. I respectfully request that you pull your comment and edit it so we keep name calling off of this site. I saw that you called the chief an idiot and clown. Though many of us hold that opinion, we can not go around degrading others by using name calling on this blog. If you choose to not edit your own comment, then please nuke yourself as you have nuked others in the past for name calling. I believe a simple edit is not too much to ask for. My be at least add the ever so popular “IMO”. Other than that, your comment appears to be a good one. I only glanced at the rest when I noticed you breaking the rules.
      Maybe you can call the chief a carny because he does work in a circus of sorts, but I do not believe he goes around wearing clown make-up or clown wigs in public. What say you, Goofy?
      Thank you for taking the time to read this and for whatever response you choose.

        • Yikes…I actually thought the usage of clown and idiot were mild. I might have to go back to chase chat where I can swear like a sailor!

        • Thank you, Goofy.
          Cynthia, I believe you have earned honorary sailor status. You can tell everyone you talked your way into that status.

  16. Yes it was a thorough tongue lashing, but as he said…the police chief doesn’t care to read these boards. I’ll refrain from insulting him because Forrest wouldn’t want us to…no matter how much I want to call him a BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP. 😉

  17. If you sell me a sports car & i wreck it driving recklessly are you at fault? No a course not.
    Good post sir

  18. This is Crazy ! Everybody Is Warned that exploring the wilderness is Dangerous ! We All Know it and Except it !
    This Chief is No Longer a Chief – He’s a Wimp that wants to destroy Tourism !
    Leave the Treasure hunters ALONE !
    (PS – Some Redneck III’ers Shoot Back at Idiots !)

  19. Dal,
    Thanks for posting this. I thought about posting something similar, but thought it might not go over so well. Good to know we’re on the same page.

  20. So, what if Wallace was on his motorcycle on his way to look for Fenn’s treasure and died in a motorcycle accident? Should the search be called off?

    What if Wallace was on his way to the store on his motorcycle and died in a motorcycle accident?

    I think more people die in motorcycle accidents each year than people searching for Fenn’s treasure. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    Do away with New Mexico’s State Income Tax, Motel Tax, Gas Tax, Restaurant Tax, and then order Fenn to remove the chest because it is costing the state too much money to look for missing people in the Rockies.

    See, they don’t mind charging us all kinds of Taxes when we enter their states, they just don’t want us to ask them to do anything in return for the TAX money we hand over to them. That means raises, or should I say, more treasure in official’s pockets.

  21. $116 million budget? Time to create a Forrest Fenn search and rescue budget line item Chief.

  22. People that think like Kassetas are not uncommon. Trust in the fact that this will all come around and bite this idiot right in the backside…and no one is going to be there to save him. Rock on Searchers !!

  23. STOP THE NONSENSE. ….STOP Hot Air Ballooning…STOP Boyscoting…STOP Hunting and Fishing…STOP Tourism…STOP everyone from visiting National Parks…STOP Sightseeing and Exploring….STOP THE NONSENSE!

  24. I think we can do better. I don’t think it’s a legitimate argument to say there’s riskier activity, or that people die while hiking, hunting, swimming, or boating all the time. It is not the same thing as treasure hunting, and that is the argument that Pete Kassetas is making. He’s saying there’s a risk versus rewards aspect to the treasure hunt that makes it different from other accidents that occur outdoors, and I think he’s right.

    Brain: “I don’t know. That water is cold and it’s rushing pretty fast.”

    Brain on gold: “It’s a million dollars, fool. What would you do for a million dollars?”

    For most of us, reason wins out and we make it home OK.

    There is a problem, but I don’t think Mr. Kassetas is approaching it the right way either. “Stop this nonsense,” he says. It isn’t nonsense. There’s a large body, substantiated by thousands, representing the positive effects of the treasure hunt going back seven years. It’s been life changing for so many people. He sees these relatively few avoidable tragedies, missing the greater positive influence. His is an “appeal to desperation”. Something must be done. Ending the treasure hunt is something. Therefore, ending the treasure hunt must be done. We can do better than that.

    I think the onus falls on us. The game was designed for us. We’re the ones who want to play it. We’re the ones who want it to continue. It’s our responsibility to make it safe, just like any other sport.

    I think we should start by rejecting the tired excuse that “you can’t fix stupid”. You absolutely can. You can educate.

    I think we should stop saying other accidents happen. We should note that treasure hunting is different, and acknowledge the mental health risks associated with treasure hunting.

    I think we should keep hammering home what Forrest has said about the treasure not being in a dangerous location. That’s where we’re doing good work. We should repeat over and over that it can be retrieved in any weather. We should reject any uncertainty of what that means. We should stop the “when Forrest says this, he really means this” when it comes to safety statements.

    This isn’t an exhaustive list of things we should do. It’s the start of a larger conversation.

    Finally, I think we need to get over the idea that there’s bound to be casualties. We should view any death as unacceptable. Whenever I see a statement that implies that it’s simply going to happen, I think, “Thou hypocrite! You would take the man’s money if you found the treasure, but you won’t accept his words!” Remember, friends, that Forrest has given you the wisdom and experience pounded into him over eighty-years. He wrote: “We are all here only for the pleasure of others, everything living, only for the pleasure of others… each one is as important as the all, myself no less than any of them, and no more.”

    Every life matters. Let’s be decent pirates.

    • I agree with you Jeremy 99% . But I think that one of the searchers needs to end the chase by finding the T.C . and i am not a pirate .

    • Jeremy,
      I just have to disagree with one thing you said “You can educate”. If that were true everyone would put their seat belt on when they got in their car and every motorcyclist would be wearing a helmet. You can spend buckets full of money and an eternity of time trying to reach 100% of people. You will not be successful. There will always be a certain percentage of people that can’t be reached, and that’s not me giving up , it’s just facing facts.
      Both men were 50ish as am I. They took what they considered to be a calculated risk and it turned bad. Sometimes even a good plan can turn bad. No one is to blame and changes are not going to prevent things like that from happening again. Mr. Fenn could tell us the chest is located below 7000′ and to get there you do not need to exceed 7000′. If so, I assume it wouldn’t surprise any one if a searcher were to then get lost or killed above that elevation.
      Free will comes with a price, sometimes it’s huge and that’s sad. But, sometimes we have to accept things we cannot change.

      • The message I’m promoting is “We can do better”.

        I’d argue that helmet and seat belt advocates have done better, by far, in recent times than when automobiles were first invented. In every sport, education decreases accidents. I don’t think the takeaway should be that because we can’t prevent every act of stupidity, that we can’t fix stupid. We can do better.

        • Your right Jeremy, we can always do better. I guess I just feel with all the safety instructions Forrest has already clearly stated, he has reached the 99% that is reachable (IMO).

        • Jeremy,
          I can see both sides of the fence… as you said; we can do better. The problem is not about “we” as much as it is about “I” ~ individual decision making.

          You argue helmets and seat-belts are basically a good thing. I can also argue the reasoning we need them is the increase in speed, horse power, etc. and the manufacturers advertisements showing spinning and smoking the tires, telling of 500 ponies under the hood, etc. doesn’t help [ actually hinders ] in the same aspect and reasoning of those safety devices needed.

          While it would be great, in the perfect world, that all would heed the advice and education of anything… there will always be those who just don’t, won’t, or care…
          “The lure” of riches, or any other wants, a person desires is not the reasoning… that’s simply an ‘excuse,’ period. Using that excuse as; “to stop the nonsense”

          My sad example is; an adult, stopping at a store to buy an item they want… to lazy or forgetful to take a child from a car-seat with them.
          Unfortunately with all the horror stories we have heard and read over the decades in our lifetime… all the warnings and laws to help and remind and even attempt to say; you will legally be punished for doing so… doesn’t stop it from happening every single day.

          The idea, “we can educate” is great for the perfect world concept. Unfortunately it’s a wet dream to reality in the real world.
          The thought will put a dent in the some of those problems… “this is your brain on drugs,” “just say no,” “click it or ticket,” “buzz driving is drunk driving” etc. etc. etc…
          But you’ll never get all to listen.

          I don’t disagree with your attempt and thought… I’m saying, no matter how hard anyone tries there’ll be those who will never get the message. The lure of anything [ gold, fame, bride etc. ] is not the problem here. It’s simply lack common sense, which is the endanger species in today’s world, BUT not an excuse either.

          And no matter how hard we try, something bad will always happen. Sure, we can attempt to learn from that as well… Yet, we also need to “accept it as fact”… it has and always will happen.

          • Jeremy –

            You are correct. and you are right.

            The people commenting on this post are all well know searchers. People have read what we say thousands of times. What we say counts.

            We are all responsible for the deaths, injures and lost fortunes of chasers. We are not each responsible but we are all responsible. We should act like it. We should endevor to Do Better.

            Fenn can take the Rio Grande out of the chase. He can take rivers out of the chase. He can say don’t enter any body of water alone. People justify what they are doing in pursuit of the prize.

            Fenn says don’t go anywhere a 79 year old can’t go. The chaser says But this 79 year old is Superman and so I will hang off a cliff, raft a river, climb rocks, climb trees, explore caves and mines, violate property property and Sacred lands.

            Fenn can make rules and give clues and maybe people will listen and maybe they won’t. We don’t need Fenn to do it. We can except responsibility for the things we publish.

            We can do better friend

    • Jeremy, You said “It is not the same thing as treasure hunting, and that is the argument that Pete Kassetas is making. He’s saying there’s a risk versus rewards aspect to the treasure hunt that makes it different from other accidents that occur outdoors, and I think he’s right.” I think you are full of crap…Yesterday I drove to my search area in northern New Mexico. About 20 miles of that drive was up along the Rio Grande river from Velarde to Taos. It was a beautiful weekend day…the river was covered with rafters…all from the many Rafting Companies that take tourists down the Rio Grande every season. I bet I saw a couple hundred rafts, each raft contained 4 to 6 tourists. Last month a rafter fell out and drowned. 2 Kayakers not with the rafting companies got stranded on the west side of the Rio Grande gorge and there was an overnight strategic rescue that was planned. It took many folks and man-hours, and a helicopter to put it together. I’ve lived in NM for 25 years. EVERY year someone drowns in the Rio Grande, some are rafters / kayakers and some fishermen. In the last 7 years, only 2 were searching for Fenn’s treasure. What is the “risk versus the rewards” for those tragedies? There were no million dollar rewards hanging in the balance for those playing on the water or for those fishermen enjoying a day on the river… It is called LIVING…ADVENTURE…THRILLING… or maybe just PEACEFUL when you are the only person fishing your spot along the river. Police Chief Kassetas is a politician and Grand-standing…Fenn is an easy target for a piece of crap like him!

      And by the way, I believe he works for ME…and every other tax paying resident of New Mexico!

      • “I think you are full of crap…” 🙂 Wouldn’t be the first time!

        I’m pretty positive there’s a difference between accidents, like falling out of a boat, or getting stranded, and intentionally risky behavior like taking a boat down the river in the middle of winter because you’re trying to beat someone to a treasure chest, or trying to cross a river with a rope. I don’t know why that’s controversial.

        You know I like you Cynthia, so let me add: With all due respect.

        • Ha Ha…I really like you, too, Jeremy. OK, I concede, your argument is better than mine!

          You should have heard what I said about the Chief in front of an NBC TV news camera! They didn’t use my words on the Nightly News but used them on the local NBC affiliate, well, after they asked me to remove the “f” word and the “s” word and repeat what I said. Nothing gets me more fired up than critics of Fenn and the Chase!

          • Haha, that is funny! 🙂

            I should state for the folks that might get the wrong idea: I’m not criticizing Forrest Fenn when I say the community should step up and make things safer. It’s not Mr. Fenn’s responsibility to do it. He’s an 86 year old war hero, even without hiding the chest. He don’t owe nobody nuthin’.

        • Jeremy,
          What is an accident?
          If a perosn want to scale a shear face of a mountain using ropes and climbing gear…some thing happens and falls to his death… Is that so different than someone doing the same [ even that mountain climber ] because they think that is how the must go to find a trove?

          I dare say, many professional archeologist do just that. Or dive into the abyss with sharks and other things that could go wrong to find those troves [ whether gold coins or an underwater cave that use to be dry in the past ]… Are their historical reasoning’s for doing those things, more noble, than what we are attempting.

          In a 1000 years, would you say the same about those archeologist or history buffs, and writers of such, like Douglas Preston, looking for the Monkey God [ or whatever the place is called ] and someone going to look for “the mystical treasure of Forrest Fenn” in the year 3009?

          I don’t agree with the way Cynthia stated her opinion about your comment… but I see her side of it, as well as yours.
          I’m just wondering with all the intelligence floating around here ~ that this is turning into a Democratic and Republican BS line of thinking, it’s my way only… line of thinking.

          I applaud your sense of humanity and advice. I also think, { I’ll add for clarity, imo } your being too hopeful in the quest. In reality, over the course of time, someone else could die or seriously be injured.

          If we really want to talk about this subject of safety vs. obsession vs. being the one vs. an easy pay day vs. logic an common sense vs. educating vs. interference by government officials vs. right and wrong etc. etc. there really needs to be middle ground by all.

          When have you ever seen that happen when involving the masses??
          Seriously, good luck in your goal… But as you can see by the postings… that’s going to be a difficult / maybe impossible row to hoe.

          • I’m not seeing where you’re going with this. It sounds like you’re saying it’s OK to risk your life, because that’s what people do when they go climb a mountain or explore the oceans deep. It’s all in the thrill of the chase.

            The problem with that is that you don’t NEED to risk your life to find Forrest Fenn’s treasure. That some people THINK you do is a communications problem, one that we as a community can improve.

            This is actually a good example of where we can improve as a community. Just like we should stop saying that treasure hunting is comparable to going hiking, or fishing, because it’s not, we should stop saying it is analogous to climbing Mt. Everest as well. It’s not. We should check ourselves on false comparisons to extreme physical challenges.

          • Jeremy,
            I’m really not looking at this as a problem as far as the “chase community” is concern. To be honest, I’m just a guy who chats with others about the same interest [ be it on the WWweb or in a coffee shop ], I’m not a member of any community other than the human community.

            The problem I do see [ which is really unrelated to the chase itself ] Is a person who voicing his “opinion” and using his “authority figure” to do it.
            IF this was John doe from east bunville making the same comments [ and you know, others posters have on this very blog ] Would those comments be pickup by national news?? Would be having a week or more discussion about John Doe’s post? There isn’t any legal reasoning for such a high ranking official to the Uniform, the Badge, the position, the influence of the office he sit in for, what is seemingly, nothing more than a personal opinion…

            Has any laws been broken to which give him reason to ask for any request? Any legitimate legal reasoning for his position to act in that capacity?
            Don’t you think he might be overstepping that very position he holds simply to get his own personal feelings out?

            I mean, the man sat at his office desk, with national media cameras rolling, on duty, in uniform to call a private citizen and voice his opinion that, fenn should put and end to this nonsense !!!
            Do you know the meaning of “playing to the jury means?” This is exactly why many courts will not allow officers to testify while in uniform… it automatically give the impression of being right and just.

            That’s the problem here… and you can’t separate the “chase community” as needing to education because of things that have happened… to the reason why we’re here for a week or more talking about it.
            Other with little or no influence have voiced the same concerns, with little or no affect at all.

            I attempt twice, to get a conversation going about the possibility that fenn may have placed warnings in the poem itself… giving an example of one; There’ll be no paddle up your creek, with a possible explanation… lol one person responded. [ i’m really surprised anyone did to be honest ].

            If we don’t look at the comment “I thought of everything” Including what has been stated in the book itself, as a thought process… Like “at age almost-eighty” I figured or was time to act, and add that with, ‘hints-after the fact’ don’t go where an 80 can’t… being possibly one in the same and correlating with the poem? Maybe we’re not thinking at all and only enjoying our brilliant solves way too much.

            LOL.. even if i’m all wet about that thought… At least I thought about it.
            Most here are venting about gov. interference, or they wouldn’t have the chase to get them out of the house and blah blah blah… Self included… voicing my thoughts.
            I’m just wondering what will happen when the chest is found?
            I personally could careless either way. I’m simply interested in how the solve all comes together and not needing or worship the ‘lure’.

            People die everyday… it’s as natural as being born. Even is a civil world with all the knowledge we have and share, it’s still dangerous to just go to work… if you really think about it.

            Time for me to take a vacation…….

        • Hey Jeremy,
          You seem unusally emotional about Paris’ death. Was he a personal friend?, if so my condolences and understanding . I don’t recall this level of concern about searchers when they found Randy. It almost seems like you feel personally responsible. I hope that’s not the case, but if you need someone to talk to
          You have my email address .
          Take care

          • Sorry, there’s a lot of comments here and I just got around to reading your eaglesbound.

            It may sound nerdy, but I subscribe to the Gandalf philosophy of life: “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

            I want to be the type of person who gives a crap. If you missed me giving a crap when Randy went missing, my apologies, but you weren’t paying attention.

      • Like the poem and like life its all how we look at it. My daughter and I love river rafting, nothing better than a class 5. Our first raft trip was while we were searching for Mr. Fenn’s treasure. Yeah all sorts of paper work involved telling us of the dangers and stories of “accidents” where rafters loose they’re lives. It’s all about personal responsibility, something that is becoming less and less common in our society. It’s always someone’s else’s fault except the individuals. Most people would never understand many of my decisions in life, I know they are rather carefree and maybe risky. But they were MY decisions and mine alone, no one to blame but me, period. I signed the rafting waiver, I swam across the river and I climbed the mountain. What I can’t seem to understand is how ANYONE can put any blame on Mr. Fenn. That is absolutely ridiculous IMO.
        And Cynthia, you touched on the politics? Ok you slammed it down and did so without any B.S. Which I respect, perhaps there is a lesson to be learned here about political agendas, unfortunately.
        And while I’m here, I respect both Cynthia and Jeremy’s opinions, both excellent writers. Without Mr. Fenns foresight I would have never had the pleasure of meeting you both.
        Cynthia, without a doubt you have ALWAYS put yourself out there and contributed way beyond what was called for. From the first day we met your loyality and unselfish style set an example of what the Chase is all about, and made me all the more proud to be a part.

      • Very well said Cynthia, I am a big Fan of Law Enforcement in General, but in this case it does very much seem like Chief Kassetas, is using this unfortunate incident as a Stage to maybe become the next Sheriff Joe Arpaio type media star. I can guarantee you, that if the hoard of HOD utilize the information provided by Dal, to voice their opinon on this matter, to his Superiors, (Especially the Honorable Govenor S. Martinez), I would bet he would get a phone call…. Further, the notion of, it also puts the lives of Search and Rescue members in jeopardy needlessly when they have to respond to a lost searcher call is pure B.S. You get the call for “anything” you go period! That is the oath taken and what the job calls for 24/7.. heck for that matter, I guess mandate all Proactive policing and traffic stops immedietly cease in New Mexico as it puts too many officers lives at risk.. Forrest keep your chin up, more than once in awhile you do a good thing…and this Journey that many of us are on is a very good thing..

    • You sir are a man of wisdom. Common sense & safety are not taught these days. We have tried to put our searches in perspective. When we search we know if we even get a minor injury that requires medical treatment we have hurt Mr Fenn’s reputation. When we go on searches its totally different than when we go birding or on vacations and we do a lot of planning for those trips. But searching for the TC its different we go real slow, plan, check equipment, & discuss everything to point of boredom. On two days of our last search with our grandson we didnt go search. we had communication problems between him & us. “Just let’s go! We will figure it out later” “NO! We work this out now” And the rules! We have to wear sunscreen, wear long shelves to protect from torns & poison ivy (some protection) & wear boots. Not sticking hands in dark places or under stuff instead use walking stick. We had to train to carry the weight of TC & the ton of water we carry. We took our grandson out for 3 or 4 months hiking getting in condition to carry our packs. I am a 300 hundred pound lady so hiking can be tricky. I hiked up Clear Creek in Cimmoron Canyon our first trip. I remember the park guy shaking his head telling us how dangerous that trail was & that a lady fell breaking her leg. He said it took 9 hrs in the dark to bring her down. For me it was more dangerous hiking Palo Dora Canyon because of all the loose rocks than Clear Creek. i always wear boots that i walk in for weeks before a trip to be use to them. I cant feel loose rocks under them like i can with my tennies because i know if i get hurt it will be. “You had no business hiking.” We work hard NOT to get hurt ruining our fun trips or Mr Fenn’s reputation. My family thinks i a pain but so far we have stayed safe. be careful but have fun.

    • I disagree completely. There are big rewards at many competiitons, incluing racing, fishing, and even rock climbing. There is FAME to be gained, and big money depending on the competition.

      The fact is both deaths were due completely to making stupid mistakes.

      By the way, me and my family are all part of S&R, FIrefighting and EMS. So I earned the right to say what I said. If the chief and his men cannot handle the heat, they need to get out of the kitchen before THEY put someone’s life at risk.

    • I think the message that searchers have to communicate to one another is that the treasure is not in a dangerous place. Jeremy is right, any chase related death is unacceptable. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

    • I am struggling with the idea that comparing a treasure hunting death to other outdoor adventure deaths is a false comparison.
      In either case a person accepts a level of risk that ultimately costs them their life. There is a lure attached to most any adventure just take your pick, mountain climbing, sky diving, surfing, snow skiing, … and there are many deaths each year.
      I agree on finding ways to do better, but you can quickly get on that slippery slope of rule making where the masses lose freedoms, no matter how small, in exchange for a new perception of safety. Once you start down that path how do you define acceptable risk? Do you keep moving that bar with each death or injury in a never-ending pursuit to keep others from harm?
      It is quite possible that this treasure hunt has saved more lives than it has claimed. Unfortunately there is no way to find that out.
      Quality of life matters as well.

    • As with any treasure hunt…be in on land or in water or in some remote part of a mountain chain like the Lost Dutchman Mine, you are right Jeremy, the onus is on us…..

      TO BE SAFE…..CAREFUL….and know your surroundings.

      Isee that certain deaths could have been avoided…especially if a searcher is not alone.

      “As I have gone alone in there”

      …is not a direction to the seeker to take, but just a introduction to an adventure.

      We owe it to Forrest to acknowledge that he placed safety features into the construction of the mystery.

      It appears that many are not looking at it in the simple way it was constructed…..thus we have those “abberrations” occuring.


  25. Maybe…Kassetas is an avid treasure searcher and is just as stumped as the rest of the gang. Maybe he is trying to influence the hunt from his position to get Fenn to narrow things down….Probably not true; but there are folks out there trying to get Fenn to tip his hat in their direction.
    All NM searchers or potential NM searchers are now subject to “profiling”. If you have out of state plates and hiking/camping equipment on your person or in your vehicle beware the troopers. HIDE your worn out copy of TTOTC, don’t leave it on your dash board ! That would be considered paraphernalia.

    • We search under the guise of bird watching. Yes its not good to mention TC. And carrying all the extra gear gets heavy.

  26. Thanks Dal, I’ll be sending him an email today about his duties as a tax payer funded employee.

  27. American FREEDOM would dictate that citizens can travel and enjoy any lawful activity that they choose.

    FREEDOM would dictate that Chief Kassetas can make any comment that he chooses to about those citizen activities.

    RESPONSIBILITY would dictate that those citizens make wise choices about their personal safety and the safety of others.

    RESPONSIBILITY would dictate that any citizen who makes poor choices will be accountable or even possibly assisted by the appropriate authorities, including Chief Kassetas and staff.

    The BALANCE of FREEDOM and RESPONSIBILITY makes me happy – otherwise known as my PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS.

  28. Just five minutes’ “green exercise” can produce rapid improvements in mental wellbeing and self-esteem, with the greatest benefits experienced by the young, according to a study this year at the University of Essex.

    Free and unstructured play in the outdoors boosts problem-solving skills, focus and self-discipline. Socially, it improves cooperation, flexibility, and self-awareness. Emotional benefits include reduced aggression and increased happiness. “Children will be smarter, better able to get along with others, healthier and happier when they have regular opportunities for free and unstructured play in the out-of-doors,” concluded one authoritative study published by the American Medical Association in 2005.

    Our world only benefits from The Chase.

    • Maybe the Chief should find a group of underprivileged kids share the chase and change some lives. I am sure he can assure they search safely!

  29. Yes, over 40,000 people die on the highways every year and a large portion of them are driving to or from work. That’s too many deaths, too large of a risk so I propose that we unite and eliminate this travesty by everyone to all stop working. I will begin tomorrow.

    • We are working on this problem. Self driving cars will greatly reduce fatal car accidents.

      • But, self-driving cars will also greatly reduce the ‘adventure’ of driving. What’s after that…self-driving motorcycles / ATVs / speedboats? What about self-flying hang-gliders? Gee, I wish I had one of those when I was foot launching off Ellenville Mountain in the mid 80’s. What a sissy (oops – is that word not PC?) world my grandchildren are poised to inherit. Lets keep doing our thing and let the meek and mild wallow in their need for safety and convenience.

      • Reminds me of some of the stories of cruise control in vehicles…like the one about the guy in his new Winnebago. He set the cruise control and went in the back to get a cold beer for the road. Crashed into a bridge abutment…
        How about the recent failures with the Tesla self driving? There still needs to be human oversight to be successful. Like there aren’t enough problems on the roads these days !

    • Good point. Both sides have made their views known. I believe it’ll calm down.

  30. Right on Dal! Very well said! While it is very sad and unfortunate that another person died, that is in no way Forrest’s fault. He is not forcing anyone to go out there and search in dangerous places. People choose to make their own stupid decisions.


  31. Thanks Dal,
    Sitting here in my $100 a night hotel room and reading stop this nonsense …thats a fact. Thinking back on my time searching for Mr. Fenns chest made me realize that I now have hundreds of hotel keys in my collection which represents quite an investment. Its a beautiful thing to be an American living freely in a country so rich with history, culture and natural resources. The search has enriched my life beyond my wildest expectations and it couldn’t have without the outdoor lab class. With out this challenge I probably would have been living remotely up in the wilds of Alaska a hundred miles from the nearest road with no outside communication and big bears being my only friends. Who knows what lies ahead just around life’s next bend. Unfortunately we all make mistakes and accidents happen, they usually happen when we aren’t fully aware of the situation. The one thing I do know is that when my time comes it will be by my rules and not by some one else’s opinion. I support law enforcement, they have a tough job. And much like New Mexico State patrol Chief, Pete Kassetas, perhaps I should have thought this statement through before stating my opinion.

  32. Hey Chief why not proactively stopping the “nonsense”? Round up your posse and go find the treasure yourself.

  33. We can throw all the statistics up, for all to see, to argue a point… It won’t make a difference, at least not the the chief. There is no justification for his request, nor a responsibility on his part. What I see is, a uniform authority figure throwing that weight to impress, and use the media, in a negative way for his personal feeling about all this. There has been no law sited against, no claims of a law broken, nor even told of complaints filed…
    This appears to be action of a person who is using his position as a high ranking law official to intimidate, for his own personal reasoning’s. I’ll second Goofy’s comment; ‘In general I’m a supporter of the police. Most of them do an incredibly difficult job with honor and distinction.’
    However, I’ll add, that some have let the badge go to there heads… not unlike a Doctor with a god complex… and the more gold and authority in the badge, the larger the personal ego becomes.
    Something is amidst here, and it seems that the chief is attempting to create a negative atmosphere by using his authority figure [ and media ] to accomplish… when there seems to be no legitimate legality involved.

    On the flip side, as Dal pointed out… over the years fenn has constantly reminded folks, who voluntary take up the challenge to solve the clues to his poem, use common sense and any more fundamental safety tips .
    We [ the folks who took up the challenge ] need to use common sense, to heed the warnings of practicing safety and awareness etc. even when the practice of hiking, exploring, boating, snowmobiling, swimming our lakes and waterways… enjoying nature, dictates… it’s our responsibility to observer those common sense rules.
    Yet, no matter how hard we try to… policing for wrong doers, or using measurements to play it safe when we are at play… there will always be those who throw mud at the fan. Sometimes, ya just can’t fix stupid.

  34. There is some nonsense that I would love to see come to a stop.

    We live in a society now where there is an inherent need to blame someone else for any problem or mistake. How about we go back to individuals taking ownership of their life and their decisions. Or better yet, look to get involved in solutions rather than jumping on the gripe wagon. Everything that you are is a direct result of decisions you have made or have neglected to make.

    And now there is icing on this cake. You can make whatever ill-informed or biased opinions/ judgments that you care to and broadcast them to the world through social media.

    The wilderness is the one place to escape the nonsense.

  35. I propose the pastor knew exactly the danger he was about to face. That is why he didn’t buy the rope until after he left the house. And also why he didn’t take his spouse with him on this particular trip.

  36. I emailed the Chief. I am usually a very nice person, but I admit, not so much today. Here is what I said:

    “Chief Kassetas,

    I just want to say how utterly ridiculous it is to blame Forrest Fenn and his treasure hunt for someone dying and suggesting he stop!! That is like blaming the car manufacturers because someone got in a wreck and died, when there was nothing wrong with the car, the person just made the wrong choice in driving!

    Forrest has said numerous times that the treasure is not in a dangerous place! He has said numerous times for people to be careful and be safe, and he has several times given safety precautions to everyone. He has said that a little kid could walk up to the treasure, that is how safe a place it is in! He has said do not go there in winter with snow on the ground.

    How dare you try to smear his name and put out there that basically he is doing something wrong by having this treasure hunt! He has GIVEN SO MUCH to a lot of people!

    And, wow, OMG, you actually are complaining because you have to get up and do your job!!!

    It is not his fault because people are making their OWN stupid decisions and having to face the consequences!

    Get a clue about people because it is obvious you do not have one.”


    • Maybe I should not have said “stupid” decisions since I was not there and do not know all of the circumstances of what happened, but it was still each person’s decision to go on the search in the first place, and make the decisions they did which led to what happened to them. Very sad what did happen, but still, ultimately their choice., not Forrest’s.

    • I love that stubborn, determined look on Forrest’s face in the picture that says no way am I stopping!

    • Good article, I read it this morning. Looks like the chief is interested in working with f. I was reminded by all this talk of motorcycles that I’ve lost as many family members and friends to motorcycle accidents as the Chase has lost searchers…

    • Article in part; ~ Even if Fenn wanted to stop people from following clues published in a poem at the end of his memoir, The Thrill of the Chase, there is no way to make that happen. No one dedicated to the hunt would listen, ***he said,*** unless he retrieved the treasure himself and posted a photo of the gold on the internet, all covered in mud from the wilderness where it is hidden.

      While not in quotes… the article claims fenn saying, covered in mud from the wilderness…
      In keeping with the discussions of safety and thoughts of the poem’s solution, Does this seem to say the chest might not be submerged?
      As well as other comments, such as fenn saying; while I’m not ready to say the treasure is not in water… [ fenn talking about the process of sealing the glass olive jar ]
      Could fenn be hinting, without actually saying, the chest is not in a watery grave?

      Just thoughts…….

  37. Dall,
    Thank you!
    For pete sake, it’s about time!
    I will give him a call and email!
    I love it, go Mr.fenn,!
    Great job Dal so refreshing¡!!!!!(

  38. “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”
    – Muhammad Ali

  39. Dal, GREAT post…you said it better than anyone, except maybe Goofy! Thanks for posting the link to this morning’s Santa Fe NewMexican.

    • Hey Cynthia – your letter to the editor of the Santa fe New mexican ran yesterday, in the same issue as the story about Forrest. So did Desertphile’s. Good timing!

      • Thanks for letting me know.

        I heard that Dorothy owner of Collected Works Bookstore sold 200 copies of TTOTC over the weekend. I think each and every one of us should take time to thank Police Chief Kassetas for promoting Forrest and his Thrill of the Chase! Hearing this just made my day!

        • Yes Cynthia…up thread I stated that this all may come back to bite Kassetas in the backside. By going public with HIS OPINION he has unwittingly given the Chase a major boost. I say…too bad for him…and YAHOO for US ! Rock on searchers !

  40. Dal, thanks for all the information that you have posted and for your support of Forrest and the chase.
    I guess the police chief thinks that we should all just sit on our hands and watch re-runs of I Love Lucy!!!
    I have a saying that I have lived by for most of my adult life “To be alive at all involves some risk”!
    I am sorry that I don’t live in New Mexico so I could be searching on a regular basis with my BFF!
    Thanks again, Cynthia, Dal, Goofy and everyone else that is supporting Forrest and the chase!

  41. My response to “Pete Kassetas” is as follows:

    The state of New Mexico has serious crime issues related to homicide, drugs, missing persons, illegal aliens. You need to start working on issues that matter, do your job, your job has nothing to do with dictating what your citizens (or the citizens of the USA) can and cannot do! You are sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong, and you (along with the fake media) are making a huge mistake once again. The citizens are not blind to all the problems you have, and none of them have anything to do with Forrest Fenn just like a Bass Pro shop has nothing to do with causing fishermen and women to die when they take risks.

    In addition to all that, it has many people dying by drowning, mountain climbing, hiking, rock climbing, rafting, fishing, and a host of other “sports” including cash reward fishing tournaments. Stopping any of these things only infringes on our rights as legal citizens of this country. Your job, along with the politicains is to work for US, you do not tell us what to do provided we are working within the laws of this country (and state + local laws).

    People are going to die, it happens every day and nothing can be done about people who take risks that they should not have taken. My entire family is with search and rescue, most are not even paid for it. We assume this task knowing that we will face danger because of risks OTHER PEOPLE took, it comes with the territory. If the NMS&R workers cannot handle the heat in the kitchen, perhaps you need to get people who can. I have very high respect for S&R workers, firemen, EMS, and even the beach life guards. It is a hard job, it is not easy, but unless you strap people to their couch you will never prevent Forest fires, drowning, falling off cliffs, arson, car accidents, and a host of other ways people get into trouble.

    What you CAN do is work together to stop things, like illegal drugs coming into your state. You can help prevent crime, that is your job, and I feel the Tax Payers would appreciate it if you did your job instead of something you have no control over.

  42. One suggestion, if anyone is going to comment on Facebook or directly to Pete, it would hold more water if you use your real name. He is not going to listen to a coward who emails them using an alias from the blogs. So if you really do want to respond, grow a pair and do so as a man or woman, not like a coward 😀

    • so.. define a ‘coward’ in any relevant relation to this modern media era, if you’ll be so kindly forth-right ..??

      ( ‘WyMustIGo’ sir 🙂 )

  43. Wonderful article, Dal. I copied the article into an email I sent to the Chief. Food for thought for him and anyone else who doesn’t support FREEDOM and SELF DETERMINATION. Keep up the good work!

  44. Wow – With this Chief’s Mental Attitude – I am Surprised He didn’t immediately contact Yellowstone and say hey need to shut “THAT” Area Down too – Seeing as recently , one person fell into the boiling springs and Never surfaced (Known to have died) and even more recently another person fell in the boiling springs and was severely Injured . . .
    And Not to mention the Fact that – OMG – People are standing on the Dome of a Super Massive Volcano – Huh – wonder what the Danger of that is ???
    That Caldera could decide to play POP Goes the Weasel AT ANY GIVE SECOND !
    Does that Stop People from wanting to go there – spend money – Hike around . . . . .
    I Didn’t think so !
    Same Theory applies to simply going to your Nearest Lake to go Boating – – – Are You 100% Proof Positive that Boat Won’t Sink while out on the Water ????
    Sheesh . . . . . . .
    Don’t Leave Your Homes People – Stay Locked Inside forever ! – and use Extreme Caution when Getting Out of Bed – You May slip an Fall an Bump Your head – and maybe even Die . . . . . .
    Life Goes On With Little Dangers EVRYWHERE . . .

    • i like your hyperbolic humour Wolf, and totally agree, that society has become far too insulated of late.. 🙁

      [note to self: immediately invest in the cotton-wool industry!]

      [ ..before Donald does 🙂 ]

  45. Chief K is great.He’s reminding us all of why we should be out there looking for treasures like this.Chief K’s phone call was also great publicity for the Chase.Win win.I would love to see ten million copies of TTotC sold before I retrieve the chest.Thanks for a great article, Dal.

  46. Thanks dal,mr.forrest ,this is not your fault. People don’t heed your many times do you have to say it over and over. None.its been said, and that settles it.its the choices people make in life.i don’t care what it may be.wrong choices get us in trouble .there are good choices and bad choices. We all make them in life.thats how we learn.but it is appointed once for man to die.we don’t know how or when. But god knows. So we have to live life and enjoy it while we have it,and not be afraid to step out of the house.i might die.yeah one day we will, but can die in the house also.prayers to this mans family.

  47. Jeremy, I have posted many many times about the dangers of going into the mountains over the years, Dal and many others have done the same thing. We have the “Fundamental Guidelines” page at the top of this blog that is permanently affixed and shows up on any and every page anyone brings up while visiting this site.

    If you want to set up your help center for folks on the chase go for it. CALL JEREMY AT 1-800-FIXSTUPID before going out looking for the treasure. Actually, I think you should expand your subject matter to include anything done in the wilds of nature. You may have been able to save this woman from the dangers of taking selfies.

    Florida Woman Trips, Falls to Death at Grand Canyon:

    Or maybe you could have saved this group.

    Waterfall Victims Hugged Tightly as They Went Over Edge:

    I was a witness to this tragedy. An editor sent me to take pictures of the massive summer run off we had that year. The rivers were raging. There was a group of people right on the waters edge, me and another fellow went out there and told them to get back. I lied and told the man with the little girl that I was a US Marshal and, using language that would make Cynthia sound like a choir girl, I told him he was going directly to jail for child endangerment if he didn’t get away from there immediately. The other guy laughed at me and told me to go away. I saw the looks on those folks face when they went over the falls.

    Like I said, if you want to set up your hotline go for it. But government officials intimidating and coercing private citizens is a completely different matter. The biggest danger, by far, the citizens of this country face is not the wilds of nature, but from an oppressive, all powerful government that can do anything they want to us for our own good.

    • If we can bring the conversation back to practical suggestions for improving safety, I have some recommendations that may make a difference. These require very little effort.

      The Fundamental Guidelines page can be updated to include other statements made by Forrest Fenn regarding safety. Emergency contact numbers, mental health service links, and cautionary statements about the two who have been lost can be added as well. There are a number of high-quality tutorials for keeping safe in the wilderness that can be linked to. Remember, many searchers have no experience in the wild at all, and we shouldn’t assume that everyone has read everything Forrest Fenn has said because there’s numerous example to the contrary in the discussion threads daily. Essentially, what we have is great, but it can be expanded and should.

      We should make the page more prominent. We should link to it from the Cheat Sheet, and maybe have a very visible banner in the sidebar. The idea is that when people fire up Google and learn about the search for the first time, this information should be one of the first articles that they read.

      We should reach out to the other sites for the treasure hunt and encourage them to cross-post the page to their own site, and make it highly visible as well. This includes MW (no safety info), ChaseChat (no safety info), and even The Thrill of the Chase Resource Page (no safety info). We can do better.

      Again, this requires little to no effort, but the result can save lives. If safety info is tied directly to a searcher’s first experience of the Chase, we’re way ahead of where we are now.

      • Jeremy,
        I think your efforts to want to help are great. But you seem to take this as, ‘our’ responsibility… suggesting listing of mental health care services information, etc. Are we to have a volunteer groups to go to someones home and twist their arm as well? Maybe an intervention group?
        Reach out to other sites [ privately run and owned ] and tell them they should do the same.

        What you are asking is, for an individual site owner to make them responsible, or even possibly negligent, by not listings these type of suggestions.
        All this is, is a discussion forum about a particular interest… not the USA department of health and services. Or even the boy scouts of America.

        If a person can sue McDonald’s for serving hot coffee, and they place that between their legs and drive, only to burn themselves… and claim they should have warning labels that hot coffee is actually hot??? What are these site owners walking into… especially if that information was not ‘complete’ or have an ‘error’… What you are asking is for us [ folks involved with a simple interests ] [ blog owners ] to become the yellow pages, and to police a ‘community’ as you call it, that has many unknowns about the visitors to that blog to start with.

        These may seem like simple request and even logical to you… but I see a landslide of problems. Lets get real for a minute… so far all the searchers that have been lost, stranded, and yes died…YET, not one had any locator device… even though this ‘community’ has been discussed it every year for as long as I can remember and is offered by fenn as a should have as well.
        Wasn’t the main beef of the chief’s about time, money, effort etc. for S&R to do their jobs?
        This is an example of asking for an inch, but really want a mile.

        my opinion only…

      • One other comment, then I’ll give it a rest…

        “Anyway, I keep picturing these all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody’s around–nobody big, I mean–except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff–I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I’d do all day.”

        Read a book if you’re willing to take his money. That’s all I’m saying. Peace out, folks.

        • Jeremy, I’m curious.

          You sound like a nice guy, have you ever donated your time as a volunteer fireman, ems, or similar for a few decades or at least a few years?

          If not, you might want to do so, you will then understand why what you are suggesting doesn’t work.

          Note: I am not trying to be sarcastic, I am serious, instead of talking about protecting people acutally do so by putting your life on the line for them. Its not a pretty job, but it sure feels good when you do save a life.

          • “you will then understand why what you are suggesting doesn’t work”

            What I’m suggesting is an aggregate page of all the statements he’s made regarding safety, bumped up and made prominent across sites visited by would-be treasure hunters. No one knows if that would help, because it hasn’t been done. Currently these statements he’s made are buried in news coverage, in scattered posts across at least two web sites, entirely missing from key entry points where the public learns about the Chase. It undermines the argument that comes up whenever something bad happens, that we’re doing all we can.

            I have a very comprehensive knowledge of how websites work, how people use them, and how Google consumes them.

            I’m a nice guy in the real world too. I do volunteer, but none of that is relevant to what I’m talking about.

            I’m not here to talk about me, politics, what’s wrong with the world today, stupid people, or any of that. I’d like to talk about simple ways we can do better regarding public safety in regards to the treasure hunt.

          • I have a comprehensive background in computers and software engineering, 35+ years.

            I also have decades of experience in S&R.

            What you are suggesting will not help.

            And yes, being a volunteer is relavent to the discussion. I walked the walk, that qualifies me to back up my statements as facts.

          • w.m.i.g – given your confessed ‘decades’ in SAR’s involvement, surely you’ve become renowned in your selfless efforts to save so many innocent lives by now..

            maybe you could generously offer (for publishing on HoD) at least two publicly recorded accounts of your honour, gallantry and (self-confessed) bravery ..??

            ..i, for one, would def benefit (through education) to read of your said accounts.

          • WyMustIGo, with respect, I am always baffled when people try to talk others out of doing good work by relying on anecdotes from their own less than happy experience. It makes no sense.

    • Goofy – I agree with you 100%. You can’t warn people against taking stupid risks. How many people know what a stop sign is, or what a speed limit is? Every single person who drives knows what they are. But a small percentage still run the stop sign or drive twice the speed limit and make unsafe lane changes. Awareness of braking at a stop sign or red light doesn’t stop the ones who still risk their lives, and others lives. If someone has their mind set on bringing ropes to repel with or rafts to float down icy rivers in the middle of winter, a mountain safety link on a website will not stop them.

      Before I ever went into the Rockies (I am from the east coast) to look for the treasure, I researched for weeks about how to be prepared without anyone needing to “warn” me of the dangers. (Of course I am still an amateur mountain hiker, albeit a very safe and cautious one.) Forrest and Dal and Goofy have got it covered 100%. Long before I got on a plane to Denver, I knew with absolute certainty NOT to go where an 80 year old man could not go(safely and twice in one afternoon) and I knew with absolute certainty that the treasure was NOT in an inherently dangerous place. All the safety links on all the treasure blogs in all the world will not stop backwards-walking selfie takers or amateur spelunkers or scuba diving treasure hunters from doing their “thing”.

  48. Kassasetas,said he wants to talk to forrest to give him some advice for the outdoors. Does this man even know who forrest is.he knows the mountains and survival like the back of his hand.forrest has put down the safety rules time after time.stay away from mr.forrest ,chief he really knows more than you.thank you for being a police officer tho.

  49. I got back from my trip into the Wilderness about an hour ago. Been sitting here eating a burger and baked beans thinking about what I saw and what I didn’t see. Found evidence that I am not the only one going alone in there. I got a late start so I had to endure a little of the heat. Anything above 75 degrees tends to make me mad. So I decided to start earlier next weekend and see where I get. The cop down in New Mexico is trouble and I believe he would do better to promote outdoor safety than to admonish people for getting out in the Wilds of this beautiful country. I was out there for a few hours and I did not see a single person. Dal hit it in the money. Stop this Nonsense! Let the Chase continue as it was designed!

    • I have some fantastic pictures and video from today’s foray. Marvel Gaze doesn’t always have to be a box filled with golden goodies.

  50. Regarding the NM Police Chief asking Fenn to stop the Chase due to 2 deaths in the Rio Grande in the past 18 months, one of my first suggestions to Forrest was to make an announcement on The Today Show, or Nightly News that the treasure chest is not hidden in NM. That means no more dead Fenn searchers in our state so Kassetas is happy, the Chase continues in the other 3 states where the cops and politicians are not whining, and all treasure hunters are happy. It’s a win, win for everyone… Hmmm, Forrest never replied to my suggestion… Ha Ha…just trying to help you other searchers in the other 3 states out a bit. I’d cross the 37th parallel and start searching with you all if ff ever makes this statement. BUT, IMHO, he can’t make that statement because the chest is indeed hidden in Kasseta’s jurisdiction so I will try to ignore his grand-standing, politician-like behavior by not watching the news.

    • Cynthia, I thought the same thing, but maybe it’s FF’s way of blowing him off. What bothers me a lot are those people blaming FF when others do stupid things.

      • How did your trip through the wood go?
        I know you’re a capable hike alone searcher avoiding nonsense & using uncommon sense.

        I may join you this year in moving there.

        • It’s a wonderful state. Wintertime is a bear. I had a good time up in the mountains. My creek is worth the cold in these warm temps. Don’t think I will be searching if it tips over 75 degrees like it did today. Having a blast! I carry two cans of bear spray, a whistle, and my cell phone has service even when I am alone in there. Verizon works here pretty good. AT&T okay from what I have heard. The rest not so much.

  51. I’m guessing Dal has no further reasons to be in New Mexico ever again. Haha

    If Trooper Kassetas adds an N and rearranged the rules, he could almost play Canasta with himself. Watch out at Fennboree next year, all Fenners are likely to be profiled as hippy troublemakers. I have no problems with johnny law, but there are times when it makes sense to remind people who they work for and send them a copy of their job description.

  52. How about we all let go of the reins a little! Take a few deep breaths. Fenn could say something like, Google Earth will not help you find the blaze or HoB and maybe that would help with some of the risky treks. I want people to keep searching NM, the other states can’t handle 40K more people all at once! IMO! I do feel crossing a small stream and getting a little wet is part of the deal, just like Rusty his dog went where ever he went even if he had to cross a stream, just not white water! IMO

  53. Thanks for saying all that Dal and Goofy and Cynthia! Thank you Forrest for the Chase. My family has enjoyed it and will continue to enjoy it. I emailed the Police Chief, though I don’t think it will do any good. I don’t think he cares if I spend money in New Mexico or not. We all have FREE WILL to do what we like and we are responsible for our own actions, be they stupid or smart. Thank God my actions in the wild have been actions I haven’t died for, but I would have done them all again. I am the type of person who rides a motorcycle without a helmet when I see fit. I will continue it and nothing anyone could say would change that; the same goes for the Chase. I hope to make the right decisions and choices, but if I make a mistake, it is I who have to live with the consequences. If something was to happen to me, I hope my family members would continue to go out and enjoy themselves and think of me when they are out there. We listen to what Forrest tells us to keep us safe and we don’t look in the winter. As a matter of fact, we have only looked in the Summer and early Fall. Best to all of you and be safe. May the Chase go on forever.

  54. Great post, Dal. (You might want to disguise Esmeralda a bit on your next trip to New Mexico. I think you might be on his radar now.)

  55. I suspect that the state police may have exaggerated a little. When I was at the search and rescue site there was one state police officer in his car. And the helicopter flying around. The rest of the people were with Taos search and rescue, and volunteers. I don’t doubt that he is sincere and honest. My opinion and experience differ. Especially when the chase is concerned.

  56. Somebody has died; a family lost a father; a parish lost a pastor..

    Forrest is handling this in a confident and level-headed manner. For me, to get angry about the possibility of losing this fun activity just seems selfish. I will respect whatever Forrest decides is the best thing to do and I will not deride the Chief of Police for his role.

    Many of us have put in years of work and money– but at the same time we have been saying that we’re having fun and doing it for fun. Is our outrage about losing the Chase as a fun activity, or is it actually about the possibility of never winning the treasure chest? Somebody could find it tomorrow and the affect on everybody else would be same as if Forrest retrieved it himself.

    Mrs. Wallace was in a way paraphrasing John Donne when she bravely responded that the time we spend together is the real treasure. I think there are many ways we can continue to do that with or without the chest being still out there. The bell tolls for all of us.


  57. It is really nice to see all of TTOTC searchers pull together and support Mr & Mrs Fenn. Our hearts go out to the families loss and a tithe should be dealt to them by the finder of the chest, but twice the amount going to the Wallace family because of their continued support of the hunt. OH!…….

  58. Lots of valid points raised in this thread.

    After my own five trips to the Rockies, though, I have to acknowledge one fundamental point advanced (perhaps inartfully) by law enforcement: this massive treasure hunt is having consequences (albeit wholly-unintended ones), and searchers are, in fact, winding up lost and dead. Their own fault? I suppose so. Should they all have been smarter? Absolutely. But whether searchers bear 100% of the responsibility for wising up (as I think they do) or not, I’d suggest that there’s another probability to acknowledge: so long as $2 million-plus in motivation is dangling out there and the Rockies remain dangerous, this is going to happen again. I hope not, but I pretty much know so. And, basically, that’s law enforcement’s fear (and, to some extent, its problem to deal with).

    Nobody intends that, nobody wants that, and I’m not necessarily ascribing any blame to anybody but the searchers. At this point, though, I can’t really say that it’d be a responsible, or an adult, approach to just say “too bad about the dead people, they should’ve known better, game on.”

    And I can say this: there just isn’t enough information available in the poem (and the available clues) to narrow the search to a 10″x10″ square.

    So here’s what I’d propose: instead of calling off the search (boooooo!) or completely turning a blind eye to a small-but-mounting death toll, perhaps the wise thing for Mr. Fenn to do would be to offer a bit of information that might help keep searchers safer? Or, one that might even enable a discovery that would end the whole thing honorably?

    For instance, a bit like “you don’t need to cross a river to get there” might prevent a drowning. Or, something like “it’s in a hollowed-out tree stump” might prevent searchers from digging out junk cars (and, say, slicing a wrist on a piece of glass in the process, as I did last trip).

    I’m not saying “tell everybody where it is and be done with it.” I’m just saying that searchers are getting themselves killed, that’ll probably continue until this thing’s found, and the current set of clues is simply not sufficient to bring all this to a less-dangerous conclusion.

    • Hi, Lance,… I’m a Vietnam era, US Navy veternan. I’ve inhabited the planet for 70 years as of a few months ago. I ((respectfully) disagree with your suggestion, and here’s why.
      Our freedom and ability to self-determine the degree of effort and responsibility we apply to every moment of our lives is undermined whenever someone acts (preemptively) to protect us from ourselves. My motorcycle helmet (I wear it at all times when out on my bike) has a sticker on it that says, “Helmets…Let those who ride decide.” When people and govenrments suggest or legislate ideas that ‘protect’ us from ourselves, they erode the very foundation of courage, sense of adventure, and daring that drives the human spirit to go where timid souls fear to tread. Just like all the other beings inhabiting the Earth, I want to be free to develop and use my body, knowledge, skills, instinct, and common sense when adventuring… without someone else prejudging / protecting me from my own self-determined experience. The fastest way to suck a free adventurer’s sense of joy and satisfaction out of his / her life is to interfere with their freedom to self-determine their own fate. Would I visit Yellowstone if every bear was caged so I wouldn’t get eaten when hiking? No. Would I visit the hot springs if every spring was surrounded by chain-linked fence so I couldn’t fall in and desolve? No. Back to motorcycling.. do you know that there are people who believe motorcycles should be outlawed? Can you believe it? There are people in government who want to outlaw motorcycles to help keep people like me from being killed while I’m riding! FREEDOM means,… LEAVE ME ALONE, and let me do the best I can while creating my own path through whatever life happens to offer up. Don’t pad my path with 6″ of playground foam, or surround it with fences or unbreakable plastic bubbles. I think the amount of joy, satisfaction, and degree of confidence one experiences in life is directly proportional to the natural obstacles one overcomes.
      I hope Fenn never adds 1 wit to the poem with the intention of protecting me from myself by eliminating obstacles that could cause me harm. I’ve lost many people in my life through war, disease, accident, murder, suicide, and just getting old…aging out – as it goes. That day arrives for all of us, so lets not suggest managing how others may choose to arrive there. It’s a very presumptuous attitude, if one really takes the time to think about it. I’ve know people who have died doing what they loved, and doing it against the advice of others. I imagine they would think it was the best way they could exit. With that said, I wish you many safe and exciting hunting adventures. Peace, and be well.

      • Good words. I totally agree. Like you, I’m a fellow Shipmate from the Vietnam Era myself.

        • You are very welcome, Carolyn. Thanks for saying, “Thanks.” Very much appreciated.

      • ” I want to be free to develop and use my body, knowledge, skills, instinct, and common sense when adventuring… without someone else prejudging / protecting me from my own self-determined experience.”

        Also, “FREEDOM means,… LEAVE ME ALONE, and let me do the best I can while creating my own path through whatever life happens to offer up.”

        Thanks for saying that.

        • You’re welcome, SD. It’s the only way I want to live,…free to bring my best to each moment, without ‘Big Brother’ getting in the way. And, the hunt goes on. Good for Forrest.

  59. I appreciate your comment, Dal. There have been two tragic deaths in the past two years and no one wants to minimize those losses, but Forrest has been very clear about putting safety first. Unfortunately sometimes people make bad choices or accidents happen. The rest of us can use their passing as a reminder to stay alert and safe, and do our best to carry their memory, passion, and learned lessons with us.

  60. It’s apparent to me that that Police Chief Kassetas has doubts that the TC exists. I’d understand a pessimistic reaction from someone taking this perspective. To him, lives may have been lost under a deceptive guise.

    So it seems to me that Forrest’s meeting with him may help illuminate Forrest’s integrity and hopefully instill some confidence that the Chase is real.

    Um… it’s still real, right Forrest? Ha!

  61. Hi All,
    It’s nice to read the posts and feel the passion Forrest has stirred in all of us.The thought of ending the chase is heartbreaking!! I can understand how it can become incredibly frustrating for the authorities to even begin to understand how most of us feel. The answer IMO is not to ridicule the New Mexico police department, nor blame the searchers who perhaps used poor judgement or came upon unforeseen circumstances. The answer, IMO is to educate searchers. Searching for Fenn’s treasure is a unique experience and people shouldn’t be denied the chance of finding it. When someone dies, there are no winners or losers. We can all agree on that! Lets find solutions so this doesn’t happen again. Thanks, and thank you Dal for the opportunity to post on your forum. Pam

  62. Some people grow up MR LAW… Some people live for dreams like “The thrill of the chase”…. thanks for your concern…SEARCH AT YOUR OWN RISK PEOPLE… Is all you needed to say. Have a blessed day Chief.

    • Goofs! – ya better publish my recently disappeared (long-winded) comment supporting Dals stance..
      ..or i’m ringing ‘mr. police-chief sir’ immediately!

      ( ..& you’ll certainly be in BIG trouble if i do, bucko!!)

      ( ..jus sayin’ 🙂 )

  63. Dear Forrest, I hope this message finds you well after all the negativity. I would first like to say that I applaud your efforts to bring families outdoors and closer together. My family and I have been out searching and the adventures are too numerous to mention. I hope to tell you all of them. Growing up, my mother used to sit at the kitchen table with me and my three siblings putting huge puzzles together and just talking. We had limited funds and so were the adventures. Since her passing I have realized she taught us many things, most of them came from a book. Lean not unto your own understanding. Where your heart is, there will your treasure be also. People should not just think of themselves. If I die doing what I enjoy and being with the people that I love, than whose to blame? I believe I know where your treasure lies Mr Fenn, and my family and I are still safely looking for the gold. Don’t let others discourage. Life is short.

  64. An open letter to an ambiguous pre-columbian civilization:

    Dear sirs and madams:

    I demand that you call off the ludicrous treasure hunt! For countless millennia, various treasure hunters including Mayans, Aztecs, Spaniards, Mexicans, Britons, Frenchmen, Russians, Americans, and members of many other nationalities have died in the search for your so-called “El Dorado” or “City of Gold”. Have you no heart?! I demand that you retrieve your “precious treasure city” at once and stop this romantic adventure for the search of fantastic treasure immediately! The blood of everyone who has accidentally slipped and fell while searching the American wildnerness for a chance at euphoric riches and splendor is ON YOUR HANDS!!!!! I demand that you retrieve your fabulous city of gold and immediately snuff out all imaginative pursuit of adventure post-haste!

    Sincerely (and furiously) yours,

    P.S. – Harrumph!!!

    CC: Captain Kidd, Forrest Fenn, office file

      • Oh shoot! What was the giveaway, CH? I did not realize that the sound of one’s tongue in one’s cheek could be detectable through text! 😉

      • luckily, i possess a very acute sense of hearing Blex 🙂

        ( ..btw, your kettle’s boiling.. )

  65. I’m a little late to the party, but as a brother of a captain in a large city’s police force, I’ve heard of a lot of political footballs being thrown around in the town he works in concerning what his chief says and why it is said. I am not going to bat for Chief Kassetas, by any stretch of the imagination, but I know from my brother’s experience that sometimes a chief will say what his supervisor’s want him to say, knowing full well most folks could care less. He then takes the heat for bad publicity, which goes with the territory.

    Maybe he does really think the hunt should be called off, but he knows in his heart of hearts, there is no way to police that. If he truly holds to that opinion, we all know what those are like, right? “Opinions are like a**holes, everyone has one and sometimes they stink.” (Hope that is not too coarse to get me nuked by Goofy.) I suspect, he is simply parroting the “party line” and knows there is no way to call off the chase – but he does his duty, to the best of his ability, knowing it will all blow over eventually.

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