Sasquatch is everywhere nowadays, and I’m not just talking about in the woods. You can see sasquatches on billboards, commercials, and everybody’s favorite reality TV series. Strangely enough, though, there is not a single mention of the creatures in the state laws of Washington despite the tourism dollars brought there by the hairy hominoid (though there are a couple local ordinances). That might be about to change.
Senator Ann Rivers who represents the 18th Legislative District in Washington has proposed a bill to make sasquatch the official state “cryptid,” or undiscovered animal. This was brought on by a letter from “Caleb,” a boy who lives in her district.
Some might complain that this sort of thing doesn’t belong in the solemn halls of legislative government, but I would strongly suggest otherwise. A very large sum of money is spent in Washington every year by bigfooters coming to conferences, paying for campsites, buying gasoline, buying souvenirs, and going on paid expeditions looking for evidence of sasquatches. These bigfooters therefore use the public lands set aside by the state, thus ensuring their protection for future generations. Clearly, bigfoots have played a small yet significant role in Washington’s tourism and public lands.
I predict that as bigfoots become more prominent in the minds of the public, and especially after academic acceptance of the species, they will play a huge economic role in Washington and other states. How will they be protected? What, if any, rights will they be granted to ensure their safety and autonomy? Will they be viewed as threats or assets? How will our own views of the lands they live on be changed? All these questions and more will surface, so it’s a good thing to put sasquatches on the minds of Washingtonians now, before they are proven as a real species, so some of these questions can be pondered before answers are demanded.
Here’s a snippet from the press release:
Child’s letter prompts bill to designate Sasquatch as state ‘cryptid’
OLYMPIA… Washington’s Legislature has adopted more than 20 state symbols, from a state tree to a state folk song and, most recently, a state oyster and a state waterfall. But the state doesn’t have a designated “cryptid,” or cryptozoological creature – meaning an animal not proven to exist, such as Scotland’s Loch Ness Monster.
Nor does state law make a single mention of Sasquatch, also commonly referred to as Bigfoot and sometimes Forest Yeti, even though an organization of bigfoot researchers rank Washington as the national leader in sightings of the legendary being. Skamania and Whatcom counties adopted Sasquatch-protection laws more than a quarter-century ago.
Enter “Caleb,” a boy in Sen. Ann Rivers’ southwest Washington legislative district, who wrote a letter suggesting official status for the being that was once the mascot of the long-departed Seattle SuperSonics professional basketball team and the focus of a major 2010 exhibit at the Washington State History Museum.
Rivers, R-La Center, couldn’t resist what she views as a teaching moment. The result is Senate Bill 5816, through which lawmakers would designate Sasquatch as the state cryptid, and recognize Sasquatch’s “immeasurable contributions to Washington state’s cultural heritage and ecosystem” and the “importance of preserving the legacy of Sasquatch.”