A man who needed rescuing after getting lost in Yellowstone while searching for Forrest Fenn’s legendary treasure has been sent the bill for his $2,880 helicopter rescue.
Mark Lantis was properly convicted of reckless disorderly conduct, an appellate court ruled Tuesday, and must pay the National Park Service $2,880 to cover the helicopter rescue bill.
The point of contention was whether Lantis’ behavior qualified as “reckless.” The court ruled it did, saying he “consciously disregard[ed] a risk that he was aware of.”
Lantis began looking for Forrest Fenn’s treasure on August 2, 2018, when his mother dropped him off at the trailhead for Mount Holmes, WY. He wore only “a T-shirt, jeans, a light windbreaker, and tennis shoes.” He carried a daypack with water, a shovel, a phone, a GPS unit, and several cans of bear repellent spray.
Having seen bear scat on the trail on his way out, he decided to avoid that area on his return. In doing he got lost and ended up spending the night in the wilderness.
Lantis’ mother alerted authorities to her missing son. Rangers managed to contact Lantis who told them that he could not continue and needed help. A helicopter was sent to recover him.
Lantis was then cited for disorderly conduct: “knowingly or recklessly creating a risk of public alarm, nuisance, [or] jeopardy.”
The magistrate judge and the appellate judges agreed that Lantis knew he was putting himself at risk when he left the trail so late in the day. As well as the helicopter bill, the judge banned Lantis from Yellowstone for five years and sentenced him to five years of probation.
Hundreds of thousands of people attempted to find the treasure chest hidden by Forrest Fenn in the Rocky Mountains a decade ago, and at least four lost their lives in its pursuit, but the search is now over. One lucky person located the chest and claimed its hidden treasure for themselves.
It all started when art dealer and former air force pilot, Forrest Fenn, revealed in his self-published 2010 novel, “The Thrill of the Chase”, that he had buried a lockbox full of about 2 million dollars worth of gold, gems, and artifacts. The clues to the whereabouts of the treasure were hidden in a 24 verse poem that is included in the memoir. Many people have quit their jobs and spent their life savings in the quest to find the buried treasure.
THE TREASURE HAS BEEN FOUND
It was under a canopy of stars in the lush, forested vegetation of the Rocky Mountains, and had not moved from the spot where I hid it more than 10 years ago. I do not know the person who found it, but the poem in my book led him to the precise spot.
I congratulate the thousands of people who participated in the search and hope they will continue to be drawn by the promise of other discoveries.
So the search is over. Look for more information and photos in the coming days.
– Forrest Fenn, June 6th 2020
Mr. Fenn stated that the Treasure was located in the 1,000-mile stretch of the Rocky Mountains from New Mexico to the Canadian border and at least 5,000 feet above sea level, in an area that an 80-year-old would not have trouble accessing. Fenn estimates that over 100,000 people have attempted the search for his treasure, and originally said that he hoped the hunt would push more people outside to enjoy the wilderness. Asked how he felt now that the treasure has been found, Fenn said: “I don’t know, I feel halfway kind of glad, halfway kind of sad because the chase is over.”
- Related: Police Warn of ‘Deadly Pursuit’ as 2 Have Died in 2 Years Searching for Buried Treasure in Rocky Mountains
In March 2020, two Coloradan snowmobilers were searching for Forrest Fenn’s elusive treasure when they became stranded and one died in a Utah park. In June 2017 New Mexico authorities found the body of Paris Wallace, a Colorado Pastor who had joined the hunt. A year previous to that Randy Bilyeu disappeared while searching for the treasure, his remains were found in the Rio Grande seven months later.