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.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@valleyrecord.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.valleyrecord.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Northwest

King County prosecutor, council member propose hate crimes task force

County leaders say the proposal will give better resouces to prosecute and investigate hate crimes.

Photo courtesy of 4Culture
Local artists wanted to design limited-edition ORCA Cards

Applications due by 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 5.

Photo via Pexels
King County residents needed for first respiratory study using Apple watches

UW study to help find if devices can detect early warning signs of acute respiratory infections, such as COVID-19 and flu.

Photo courtesy of Johnson and Johnson (jnj.com)
Johnson & Johnson vaccine halted in Washington over side effect

Following federal guidance, Washington health care providers are temporarily pausing Johnson &… Continue reading

File Photo
High court ruling spurs effort to retool state’s drug laws

Meanwhile, the Blake decision has gotten people out jail, charges dismissed and possibly clemency for some.

Guns seized during April 7 arrests (photo credit: Dept. of Justice)
More than 20 arrested across the Puget Sound in drug distribution conspiracy

DOJ says law enforcement agencies seized over 70 guns and hundreds of thousands in cash.

T
Sheriff’s office wants help identifying Green River killer victim

Staff reports In 2003, Gary Ridgway, Washington’s notorious Green River killer, pleaded… Continue reading

file photo
King County municipal courts offer limited time warrant amnesty program

The program is intended to mitigate court backlog of warrants during pandemic.

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg. File photo
King County needs more lawyers to attack backlog of cases

6,107 open cases is double the normal amount for King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

Public Health – Seattle & King County staff administering COVID-19 vaccine to a local emergency responder. COURTESY PHOTO, Public Health-Seattle & King County
Starting April 15, everyone 16 and older is eligible for a vaccine

Gov. Inslee said an expected increase in vaccine supply enables the state to open eligibility.

Stock photo
Those who switched to telework have higher income, education and better health

U.S. Census Bureau report breaks down the numbers nationwide

A CVS pharmacist prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at Village Green Retirement Campus in Federal Way on Jan. 26. Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing
Phase Finder for vaccine eligibility to be eliminated March 31

Eligibility verification via Phase Finder no longer required for appointments, vaccinations beginning this week.