Bigfoot and Legislation - why and where?
Updated: Oct 6
I wasn't alive in 1969. I can only imagine the year was filled with uncontrollable sniggering about the innuendo, each time a newspaper was opened, a page dated, or calendar shifted. Indeed, as April Fools day rolled around, you can only imagine the shenanigans that may have been afoot on this most chuckle worthy of years (nevermind all the bad stuff, or even the moon landing).
But in Washington, everything was very serious as the first of April came about. You see, in Skamania County - contrary to popular belief not a place for addicts of the band Madness- legislation was passed that would, on the surface atleast, be one of the more interesting pieces of legal documentation to drop that year.
Skamania county was to introduce legislation that would protect the local sasquatch from harm by humans. The legendary beast could now sleep soundly in its bed knowing that if a wanderer popped a long-shot between it's eyes, alteast they'd be facing a hefty 5 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine. Phew.
if there is a mythical beast prowling the Northern United States, then I doubt that it could have found much comfort in the law, but atleast there was something, right?
But why was there ever any legislation to protect something whose references are questionable at best? I mean, there's no definitive proof that Bigfoot exists,as is neatly summarised here.
I suppose the first option is just in case. If there happens to be something stomping around there, then it's clearly endangered and needs protecting. Get the legislation in early, and when the 'squatch is found out to be real, you're the protective county that chose to keep it safe. But do we now expect our legislators to create laws for other 'just in case' animals? Are there laws regarding the Mongolian Death Worm? it's an expensive way to cover a lot of what is most likely myth and fiction.
The second reason is a much more credible explanation, tourism. We're talking about 1969, a mere two years after the Patterson Gimlin film dropped. Bigfoot is the talk of the town, crashing all the top parties, sleeping in hotel rooms free of charge like an instagram influencer. He's the talk of the town, and the town wants you to keep talking. I mean, lets be honest, i'm talking about this 40 years later, and it's quite widely reported across other media. If you're even the slightest bit of a believer in sasquatch, then you may be seeing a place that is actively legislating about your top monster-bro, then it may be near the top of your list to go and visit.
Finally, and most boringly, is the most practical and probably most accurate answer. If you have a load of people stomping around with guns hunting for a beast that probably doesn't exist, whilst simultaneously having a load of mischievous pranksters, riding the hypewave, and donning their monkey suits up in the forest for their own amusement, then you can probably see how that might just end up going horrifically wrong. So, why not attempt to kill the bird dead with one stone that bonks fatally off the head of one, and directing the second into its deadly crosshairs. In making killing Bigfoot a bad thing, we can protect the light hearted jokers who want to frolic around causing life changing experiences in local folk.
1969 though is not the end of the story. You see, the legislation was in fact amended in 1984 to include a new and exciting term "Sasquatch refuge". The document now describes sasquatch as an "endangered species". Clearly the county was just getting more and more of a bigfoot safety zone. Mankind and sasquatch shall walk hand in hand through the forests, dancing merrily around the maypoles, toasting to a beautiful future together. Wonderful.
Or atleast it would, but in the same law, they reduced the potential sentence for a bigfoot killer down to a single year in prison and/or a $1000 fine. I guess Skamania county was just tripping over bigfoots a mere 16 years later, and that would comfortably make the fine much lower, I mean they're not that endangered, right?
What do you think about legislating to protect cryptids? is it a waste of time, or are there any other uses I missed out? Let me know!