Treasure hunt underway in Santa Cruz mountains after someone hid $1,000

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. -- Remember hidden cash? It's back! Sort of.

Someone apparently hid $1,000 cash in a box in the woods in Santa Cruz, California.

An account called "The Official Treasure Hunt" popped up on Instagram, promising to post clues of where the money is hidden. New clues are set to be posted on Thursday, the organizer told our sister station ABC7 News.

"We were just thinking what's a great way to get people together and bring people to the outdoors, our favorite place," Co-founder Joe Rattay said. "Brendan and I always love a good treasure hunt. What gets you more excited than actually going out in the woods with a purpose to find something cool."

So far, all we know is the cash is supposedly on public land, somewhere in the forest and in a box.

Well, there's also a map with its approximate location circled. The circle includes a massive swath of the Santa Cruz Mountains, so we're hardly qualifying that as a hint.

"What we're going to do is post clues on our Instagram @TheOfficialTreasureHunt so follow us there," said Co-founder Brendan Ruh. "You'll get clues leading you in the general area where the box is hidden. So you can get closer and closer. Follow for weekly updates. It's publicly accessible, it's easy to access and it's not in any dangerous spot. Anybody can find it."

If this is a publicity stunt, it's not yet clear what's being publicized.

$1,000 isn't exactly chump change, but for locals, getting people outdoors is priceless.

"After COVID kind of relaxed and people were starting to get outdoors again, we wanted to do something to get families outdoors and get them exploring these beautiful parks," said Ruh.

"In a place like this, where people may get out and do a quick walk and not mess things up, yeah I think it's a good idea," said Evan Huntzinger of Daly City..

"We were actually saying that the actual treasure is the mountains and the ability to come out here and just explore," said Sunnyvale native Anita Lee.

"The actual value is just here already," said Martin Lee of Sunnyvale. "But, 1,000 bucks would be great."

:"The weather is fantastic, it's summer time and it's pretty much the perfect time for a treasure hunt," said Rattay.

The account posted a message saying, "We wanted to do something fun to encourage everyone to get outside and explore our public parks and land! Gather some friends and find your treasure!"

Also, please don't fall off a cliff.
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