He’s not willing, though, to part with the treasure’s secrets and the clues that led him to it.
Fenn’s infamous treasure hunt began 10 years ago, when the author published a cryptic poem in his autobiography meant to lead prospective explorers to the spot in the Wyoming wilderness where his treasure chest was hidden. Fenn estimated over 350,000 people searched for the chest, and a few even died on their journey.
Stuef spent two years searching for Fenn’s treasure, which included gold, jewelry and other artifacts believed to total over $1 million. He finally found it in the Wyoming wilderness in June.
Fenn kept Stuef’s identity secret then, at Stuef’s request. He described Stuef only as a man from “back East.”
Stuef denied the charges to Outside magazine.
Since finding the treasure, Stuef said in his Medium post that he moved to a “more secure building with guards and multiple levels of security” to protect himself. He doesn’t have the treasure, either — it’s in a vault in New Mexico, where it will remain until he sells it.
Stuef said he’ll never reveal the location where he found the chest to preserve the wildlife there and prevent other explorers from following his trail, which could be dangerous.
Unlike Fenn, who welcomed the attention from fellow treasure hunters, Stuef said he’s not looking to meet with anyone regarding his find. Despite the lawsuit and the potential for a negative response from his fellow explorers, Stuef said he’s “optimistic that this experience will still be a positive chapter in my life.”
CNN’s Alicia Lee contributed to this report.