New Wrinkle in New Mexico Treasure Hunt
New Mexico authorities say no digging without a permit
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 6, 2013 3:39 PM CDT
Should treasure-hunters be allowed to keep their gold?   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A collection of gold and jewels that a retired Santa Fe art dealer says he stashed in the mountains north of Santa Fe has generated so much interest from amateur treasure hunters that some have put their lives in jeopardy or been cited for illegally digging on public lands. But authorities are warning people about more than being careful and following the law. They also note finders may not be keepers.

"If this treasure is buried, you would need to dig for it. And you can't dig anywhere in a national forest without a permit," said Bruce Hill, spokesman for the Santa Fe National Forest. "Even if it is not buried and it is just placed somewhere it becomes public domain." Ditto for state lands, according to a Department of Game and Fish spokesman. The art dealer, Forrest Fenn, was asked if he had considered land rights before hiding the chest: "I'm staying out of those discussions, except to say it may be fun to redefine some of the terms," Fenn said in the email.

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Showing 3 of 34 comments
Apr 7, 2013 7:39 PM CDT
Dig it up, take it home, rebury in your own backyard, and find it 2 years later. Sell it to the Gorilla on the corner with a "We Buy Gold"/"Compra de Oro" sign.
Apr 7, 2013 6:38 AM CDT
The_Old_Wolf has a point here; use a metal detector instead of just digging hundreds of holes everywhere. Then dig at night when no one is looking. Has anybody seen an old movie called "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World?"
Apr 7, 2013 12:24 AM CDT
This is typical government/corporate behavior. Sure, you can do the work to dig up buried treasure, but you have to give it to us if you find any. The University of Utah's president told me this very thing when I was poking around campus with a metal detector in 1969. Scumbags all...