PAT NEAL: S.O.S., Save Our Sasquatch

IT’S TIME TO stop the endless media barrage of negativity and celebrate what’s right with America.

We should remember the words of that great American philosopher Merle Haggard who said, “When you’re runnin’ down our country man, you’re walking on the fighting side of me.”

For example, these days it’s popular to bash our state, federal and local politicians and public servants that were enabled by the tiny fraction of registered voters who bothered to turn in a ballot.

Our nation’s leaders might not be able to balance the budget, deal with climate change or fund education for the next generation of unregistered voters, but that’s OK.

It’s like we used to say down on the farm: Sometimes it’s better to do nothing than anything at all.

I can think of no better example of this timeless observation than the recent failure of our state legislators to pass Senate Bill 5816, which would have made the Sasquatch Washington’s official state cryptid.

These are creatures, such as the Loch Ness monster, which have yet to be proven to exist by modern science.

I and many other right-thinking Sasquatch empaths feel their designation as the official Washington state cryptid would have endangered the future of these beloved forest people by giving them the dubious honor of, among other things, their own Washington state license plates.

It is a well-known documented fact that despite countless sightings throughout our history and around the world the Sasquatch, Bigfoot, Skookum, Stick Indians, Yeti or whatever you call this iconic representation of the ubiquitous wild-man phenomenon has never been observed by a credible witness to be operating a motor vehicle.

We need only examine the fate of other beloved iconic creatures that have received similar symbolic honors from the state of Washington, such as our official endemic mammal, the iconic Olympic marmot; our official state fish, the iconic steelhead; and our official state marine mammal, the iconic orca, to identify the clear and present dangers these designations represent.

It is indeed fortunate for those of us who consider the Sasquatch our friends that the courageous inaction of the state Legislature allowed the lovable Bigfoot to dodge this bullet.

You’d have to be living in a cave not to know our Puget Sound orcas are in trouble.

We’ve wiped out the main item of their diet, the iconic chinook salmon, and polluted their waters to the point where the orcas are so burdened with pollutants they would be toxic waste dumps if they weren’t endangered species.

Our official Washington state fish, the steelhead, is not far behind the orca on the pathway to extinction.

The corrupt mismanagement of these state fish that subjects them to an industrial fishery with no corresponding mitigation to increase their numbers through proven, environmentally responsible enhancement programs have made them so rare it is against the law to lift native steelhead out of the water if you should happen to catch and release one.

Consuming a wild steelhead has become an illegal act of environmental terrorism unless you should happen to order it off the menu of a high-end restaurant.

Washington’s official endemic mammal, the Olympic marmot, shares the uncertain fate of our other celebrity state symbols.

These beloved rodents that have delighted generations of high-country adventurers with their piercing whistles and playful antics are disappearing at an alarming rate due to everything from climate change to coyotes.

Fortunately, the inaction of our state legislators has spared the iconic Sasquatch a similar fate and for this we should be very grateful.

We’ll thank ourselves later for doing the right thing now.


Pat Neal is a Hoh River fishing guide and “wilderness gossip columnist” whose column appears here every Wednesday.

He can be reached at 360-683-9867 or by email via patneal