The New Mexico State police chief wants Forrest Fenn to stop the treasure hunt but has no authority to enforce it, yet State tourism loves the treasure hunt. The State of New Mexico feels the treasure hunt is endangering searchers lives and costing them millions to search for lost individuals and it puts their SAR folks at risk.
So what can the State do to appease both parties? Well like anything one must look at the problem. If you listen to searchers and in particular Mr. Fenn he says, "If someone drowns, we don't drain the pool, we teach them how to swim" and "Is the person issuing deer hunting licenses responsible if someone is killed hunting deer?"
I see his point, but with all analogies they are not as clear as the person presents them. First of all, we recently had a death in a swimming pool in Canada and they did in fact drain the pool, no one wants to swim in water that had a dead person floating around in it and the pool needed to be made safe to ensure no one else dies while the investigation is underway. As far as deer hunting licenses, I believe the issuing agency accepts a certain amount of responsibility and would administer changes to make deer hunting safer. Mr. Fenn knows full well that flight safety rules were written in blood and after every accident, rules are reexamined and changed or added if necessary.
As I mentioned before, gold fever attracts unprepared and untrained amateurs into an unfamiliar and dangerous environment where they will often take unnecessary risks. Mr. Fenn feels we need to teach searchers how to "swim" and I agree, but telling a target fixated, thrill junky to not go where an 80 year old wouldn't just doesn't work. In any system involving teaching, there needs to be license and certification. You can't climb Mount Everest without proper training, you can't deer hunt without proper training and a hunting license and most people have swimming qualifications or require a minimum level before taking on risky water related adventures.
The State Police Chief has no authority to stop the chase, but the State certainly has the power to enforce treasure hunting licenses. It might even bring in additional revenue and help offset the SAR costs. It will definitely reduce the risk, if a certain level of experience and training is required to hunt for the Fenn treasure prior to entering he State. For those who feel they will ignore warnings and licensing efforts, the State has the power to punish. Fines and jail time, go a long way whine comes to curbing risky behaviour. The State and Mr. Fenn need to work together to find a solution and educate new searchers. Other States should follow suit as well to ensure all four possible States are protected.