Americans are adventurers at heart, are they not? We are the nation that, for better or for worse, plowed forth through the period known as Manifest Destiny, hastened by the journey of Lewis and Clark, which were born from the opportunity that settlers found in the new world.
We then gave birth to the gold rush and the cowboys, and all manner of rumrunners and anti-establishment rebels. We are a people born of conflict, always looking for another fire to put out.
It is in this spirit that we find the treasure hunters among us. These intrepid explorers have been hiking and digging, (and hiking and digging some more), in search of elusive lost or hidden riches out there in the American landscape.
Unfortunately, some do get carried away, and they pay the price.
A Utah man busted for illegally digging at Yellowstone National Park in search of the Fenn Treasure has been sentenced to six months in federal prison and ordered to pay a rather hefty fine for the series of ill-conceived excavations. According to a press release from the Department of Justice, back in late 2019 and early 2020, authorities caught Rodrick Dow Craythorn shoveling holes, such as the one seen above, throughout a cemetery located on a former U.S. Army fort situated within the national park. A subsequent investigation found that he was responsible for a staggering “seventeen sites of illegal excavation, including damage to a historic grave.”
Craythorn’s reasoning for the illegal dig was that he was looking for a cache of riches that had been hidden somewhere in the Rocky Mountains by eccentric art dealer Forrest Fenn. Suspecting that the treasure was located somewhere in the cemetery, he set about digging, but ultimately only wound up unearthing a sizeable amount of trouble. Charged this past September with “excavating or trafficking in archeological resources, and injury or depredation to United States property,” Craythorn pleaded guilty to the crime earlier this year and, this week, finally learned his fate.
For what it’s worth, Craythorn was very apologetic for this actions, stating that he was seeking forgiveness from not only the National Park Service, but from the American people as well.