SANTA FE – A Pennsylvania man was cited in late May for digging on Heron Lake State Park land in search of a treasure that Santa Fe author and antiquities dealer Forrest Fenn says he’s hidden somewhere in the Rocky Mountains region.
Scott Conway, 47, of Howard, Pa., pleaded guilty to three petty misdemeanors; one for “unlawfully mutilating or destroying sign, guidepost or work in State Park,” one for metal detecting in a state park, and the other for littering. He agreed to pay about $329 in fines and fees.
“Mr. Conway admitted to digging a large hole on park property in search of (the) Forrest Fenn treasure,” says one of the three State Parks citations issued to Conway on May 29.
Conway is one of many treasure-seekers who’ve traveled around the West in search of a chest of gold, jewelry and other valuables that Fenn says he hid in 2010. In his “The Thrill of the Chase” book, Fenn included a poem said to have clues on how to find it.
The treasure hunt has had a high national news profile. And since 2016, four people have died while, according friends and family, they were searching for Fenn’s treasure; Randy Bilyeu, Paris Wallace and Eric Ashby of Colorado and Jeff Murphy of Illinois. Others have been arrested before for digging on public lands like the national forest.
Conway told the Journal Friday that he thinks he was within three feet of finding the treasure – according to his metal detector – when his location was disclosed by someone he and a friend had brought from Pennsylvania to help with the dig.
He said he first started exploring Heron Lake State Park, west of Tierra Amarilla in Rio Arriba County, five years ago in search of the treasure. He has returned nearly 20 times since to dig up the same location. He said his digging area was 14 feet deep and 30 feet wide.
This year, Conway said, he decided to go “all out” to finish the job. Because he believes he’s correct about where the treasure is located, Conway said he was compelled to continue the dig and find the loot and people “will quit killing themselves trying to find it.” He hopes state government will take over the job at Heron Lake park.
In a June Santa Fe Reporter interview, Fenn was quoted as saying he did not bury the treasure and that it is still out there to be found. Numerous people, on line and in calls to New Mexico newspapers, previously have insisted they know precisely where the treasure is, should be or was formerly located.