Dal Neitzel and his "hot dog."
One advantage I have in the debate on whether to shut down the treasure hunt or not is that I have sat on both sides of the fence. Dal Neitzel has not. I have worked in SAR for over 28 years and have seen the foolish things people do. SAR's motto is "That others may live" but Dal Neitzel would have you believe it is "Thwarting Darwinism for over 50 years." It is SAR's job to just save people and not to judge them. So why is the police chief and certain members of the SAR community asking for the hunt to stop? Well, this is not the first time SAR officials have made stance, Canada did it in the 90s when Steve Faucet tried to ballon across the world and had to be rescued a couple of times and when many people decided to walk to the north pole and required very expensive rescues. The protest was a success and these extreme adventurers now have to post bond or arrange their own SAR services before setting off on their risk taking adventures.
So what is common with the Fenn treasure hunt? Unnecessary risk. People who pay taxes do not agree that their tax dollars be used to rescue and search for foolish people on selfish and risky adventures. I am willing to bet anything that the State police chief didn't come up with this protest on his own. I am quite certain thousands of tax payers have protested to him with their perceived "waste of resources." The SAR leadership does not like to see their member's lives endangered, for he is aware they willingly and unselfishly risk their lives to save yours.
Treasure hunters are like a cult, I have witnessed the extreme selfish and slanted views they have taken. They often have only one thing on their mind, money and self. They are like gun lobbyists, who still would stick by their biased opinion even if someone came in and mowed down their family with a machine gun. So when Dal Neitzel speaks, he is preaching from the pulpit to his flock of zealots. He speaks in contempt of authority and exacerbates the problem rather than listening to opposing voices in ways to make the Chase safer. He has now posted the Police Chief's email and phone number on his website and encouraging searchers to let him know how they feel. I am quite sure the Police Chief is about to have his suspicions about treasure hunters confirmed. Dal sure knows how to make the Chief's point.
Like-minded treasure hunters will cheer Dal on, but outside that bubble, the world sees things differently. They question whether this treasure hunt is a hoax and they wonder why people blindly follow Mr. Fenn's words, they see very slanted and selfish motives and they see greed. Dal has a vested interesting in keeping the Chase alive, for he receives revenue for each of Forrest's books he sells. He has even admitted that the latest publicity has only brought attention to him and his blog. He loves to be in the limelight and anyone who dares to disagree with him are no longer allowed to voice their opinion on his blog. I have seen him go out of his way to shut down my cancer charity just because he doesn't get his way. So is Dal is trying to keep the latest interest in the Chase high for purely profit reasons? Is money and fame more important than the safety of his bloggers or treasure hunters?
Sure both parties will agree that getting into he mountains with family to smell the sunshine, is a wonderful thing, but it is the motive, that many will disagree on. If Forrest Fenn wrote a poem and encouraged many to get out into the mountains with their families but had no treasure as the reward, it would fall flat on its face. I believe the State Chief is correct when he says money and greed clouds the judgement of those who adventure into the mountains. Treasure hunters need to stop listening to Dal Neitzel and he needs to stop pretending to be a "hot dog" and be more responsible, or the next Chase death will be on his shoulders.