Frame 352 of the 1967 Patterson-Gimlin film, which allegedly depicts a Sasquatch walking in Northern California.

Frame 352 of the 1967 Patterson-Gimlin film, which allegedly depicts a Sasquatch walking in Northern California.

Bigfoot eludes state recognition yet again

A twice-failed bill would have named the mythic creature as the official state cryptid.

The mythical Sasquatch, an integral piece of Pacific Northwest folklore, got another shot at recognition this year with a bill that would name the creature Washington’s official state cryptid. But just as it has done to so many explorers and scientists, the furry, bipedal creature once again evaded legislative capture.

In case you didn’t know, a cryptid is a creature of folklore or myth whose existence has not been verified.

Senate Bill 5816 was introduced last year by Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, but has not made it past the committee stage in either of the past two legislative sessions. The bill is one of two pieces of Bigfoot legislation, along with another Rivers bill that would create a Bigfoot license plate.

The Sasquatch would join other local greats like the apple, the steelhead trout and the bluebunch wheatgrass as Washington state emblems.

Rivers said a third-grader in her district asked her to create the bill, but a public hearing was postponed until the senator could bring the child to Olympia to testify. The bill missed the cutoff date for committee hearings and will have to wait until next year to earn another chance at passing.

Bigfoot’s relationship with the Pacific Northwest has been prominent since long before Rivers filed bills addressing the mysterious hominid.

Native American and First Nations tribes in the United States and Canada have told of various creatures resembling Sasquatch, and the name itself is derived from a word in the Halkomelem language spoken by tribes in British Columbia.

According to the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, Washington state is home to more Sasquatch sightings than any other state or province in North America, by a substantial margin.

Washington has another connection to the popular myth through the famous Patterson-Gimlin film, where Bigfoot allegedly walks across the screen. The encounter was filmed in Northern California by Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin, locals of the Yakima Valley.

Patterson died of cancer in 1972 and always maintained the authenticity of the film, as has Gimlin, 86, who resides today in Union Gap.

Gimlin said he would be excited to see the Sasquatch become an official symbol of his home state, callingit a “special being.” Gimlin today is something of a legend to members Sasquatch believers, as he continues to tour North America, signing autographs and speaking to thousands of attendees at Bigfoot festivals.

Sen. Maralyn Chase, D-Edmonds, cited the Patterson-Gimlin film as “evidence” of Bigfoot’s existence when speaking in the Senate Transportation Committee on Jan. 29. Chase serves as a member of the committee, which heard Rivers’ license plate bill.

Although SB 5816 would classify Sasquatch as the official state “cryptid” or “crypto-animal,” Gimlin said he doesn’t see the creatures as animals at all, and likened them instead to hominid “beings,” similar to humans.

“I’m no scientist,” Gimlin said. “I just believe that we have a ways to go to understand what they really are.”

Washington state has already honored Bigfoot at least once, as former Gov. Dan Evans in 1970 proclaimed “the Great Sasquatch” to be state monster. Evans wrote in his proclamation that Washington was the only state capable of claiming the creature to be its own.

Gimlin made reference to the vast number of brands, images and merchandise in Washington state that utilize the Bigfoot name or likeness, cementing the cryptid’s iconic status in the Pacific Northwest. He said if the state could come together to bring official recognition to the legend, it would put a smile on his face.

“That would make me, as an old man, very very happy,” Gimlin said. “I think it means a lot to Washington state.”

This report was produced by the Olympia bureau of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Northwest

Men serving halal food on Eid Mubarak 2024. Photo By Joshua Solorzano/Federal Way Mirror
Washington state passes Halal Food Consumer Protection Act

Federal Way Muslim activist details how this bill came about and why it is important

t
Head-on collision kills 31-year-old woman in Auburn

The fatal collision occurred May 11 in the area of I Street Northeast in north Auburn.

A screenshot of King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn speaking about a proposed amendment for the proposed $20 minimum wage ordinance. (Screenshot)
King County approves $20.29 minimum wage for unincorporated areas

Councilmember Reagan Dunn and more than a dozen business owners argued tips and health care expenses should be a part of the new wage. The council passed the ordinance without the amendment.

Reyna Hernandez (right) with her mother. Photo Courtesy of Ivonne Carillo-Hernandez
Friends of Renton’s Reyna Hernandez detail her cheerful character

Friends in Renton considered her family and saw some warning signs of abuse prior to her murder.

Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. FILE PHOTO
Man receives one month jail sentence in fatal Renton hit-and-run

2020 crash killed 16-year-old boy on motorcycle along Interstate 405; mother objects to plea deal

t
Investigators bust drug trafficking operation in King County

Thousands of fentanyl pills reportedly were kept at a Federal Way storage facility.

t
Is state school board association seeing a conservative takeover?

Anonymous members say changes in the group’s voting rules are allowing anti-LGBTQIA+ measures

t
Man charged with first-degree murder of Renton businesswoman

Accused Louis Hernandez was Reyna Hernandez’s partner, according to Renton Police.

Food in a foam takeout container. Sound Publishing file photo
Foam coolers, takeout containers will be banned in WA

The prohibition on the sale and distribution of these products will take effect June 1 under a law the Legislature approved in 2021.

t
Federal Way Public Market concept receives $75,000 for study

The home of the envisioned project is off South 320th Street and 23rd Avenue South.

t
Suspected DUI crash in Renton injures three; cars engulfed in flames

Wrong-way driver incident along Interstate 405 on April 14