As the poem has it, there’s a $10 million treasure hidden somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, and some people are asking strangers to support them in their search for it.
“Probably not,” said Billie Turrieta.
“Absolutely not,” said Irving Uffer, when asked if he’d donate his money to help someone find Santa Fe author Forrest Fenn’s treasure.
However, some people — treasure hunters themselves — were more supportive.
“To get the dream? Yeah, I think so,” said Alicia Quintana.
“Definitely, we would for sure pitch in,” said Tony Olmos.
On the crowdfunding site, GoFundMe, there are about two dozen campaigns asking for money to help them find Fenn’s treasure. They say the money will go toward outdoor equipment, mapping supplies, and housing during the lengthy search.
“I think they’re on their own,” said Turrieta.
There is also a GoFundMe for the man who broke into Fenn’s Santa Fe home last week, during his search for the treasure. Though, his page is to help him get out of jail and back onto his feet.
Most of the accounts are empty, but there are some that have raised thousands of dollars.
“If we become really obsessed with the end goal, the ‘I’m going to put everything aside, whatever — quit my job and leave everything I know and go find this treasure,’ I think that might be a little bit of self-deception and dangerous and lead to suffering,” said Dr. Jeff Katzman, the Vice Chair for Education and Academic Affairs at UNM’s Psychiatric Department.
Katzman says there are good parts to the treasure hunt, like it creating a sense of community and inspiring people to be active with their families outdoors. However, he thinks fundraising for the search crosses a line.
“If people say, ‘We’re going on a Fenn adventure and we’re going to decipher these clues and really find the game of it,’ that’s something that’s really different than, ‘We’re the ones who are going to find the money,'” said Katzman.
Most of these accounts are just asking for money, but there are a couple that promise a percentage of the treasure if you donate.