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Yellowstone treasure hunter's appeal of $2,880 rescue restitution order fails

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Yellowstone treasure hunter's appeal of $2,880 rescue restitution order fails

An unsuccessful Yellowstone treasure hunter is now on the hook for more than $2,800 - but at least he didn't die in the wilderness.

An appellate court last week upheld a 2019 decision finding Mark Lantis guilty of reckless disorderly conduct after he got lost on a day hike, according to The Washington Post. 

The fortune seeker who hiked into Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park in an effort to uncover eccentric millionaire Forrest Fenn’s hidden 13-century treasure chest in August 2018 quickly found himself overwhelmed by the elements. 

In 2019, he was ordered to pay the $2,880 cost for his helicopter rescue and banned from the park for five years. 

"Mr. Lantis ensured he would be lost in the dark in an area of the Park with a substantial grizzly bear population without adequate clothing, food or water in wet and cold conditions. Such conduct is not simple negligence, but recklessness of the highest magnitude," the judge said. 

Lantis was one of thousands who have tried to find the treasure and at least four have died in the attempt. It was successfully found last year by a man named Jack Stuef in Wyoming. 

Lantis began his Aug. 2 hike intending to just go for the day. He wore a T-shirt, jeans, windbreaker and brought no food and little water. Later in the day, he abandoned the trail for an unmarked one after he saw signs of a bear on the trail only to realize he was soon lost. He spoke to a ranger the next day – after spending the night "wet, cold [and] scared," according to the court –  who tried to guide him out of the "extremely rugged country … heavily populated with mountain lions, bears, and wolves." 

It was an area rarely visited by rangers. 

He eventually realized he was at his limit and needed to be rescued. 



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I read that in the news this morning.  The judge should have just offered him a double or nothing.  Offer to take him to the spot where they found him, drop him off with a bottle of water, and see if he was willing to take his chances.  

My guess is, he would have pulled out his checkbook and wrote the check, no questions asked.  

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