Toward the end of March, the Trinity County Board of Supervisors in Northern California debated whether or not to pass a resolution that protects Bigfoot and punishes any person(s) who intentionally killed the creature. This isn’t the first time Bigfoot laws have been discussed in local politics.
Bigfoot has been a polarizing figure between animal rights organizations and hunters for decades now. Some suggest the potentially-endangered species should be given the same protections as other endangered species, while others want to hunt the cryptid and gain proof of his existence.
The meeting began normally, as the Trinity County Board of Supervisors discussed a potential increase in the animal control budget and a few other issues. Then, Bobbi Chadwick introduced the topic of Bigfoot to the room. She suggested a new bill that punished “any premeditated, willful and wanton slaying of Bigfoot.” The punishment would result in a fine up to $1,000 and/or a year of imprisonment in the Trinity County jail.
Keith Grove wasn’t assumed, quickly asking why this was even on the agenda, but Chadwick held strong. She explained that the increased enthusiasm for Bigfoot throughout Trinity County is enough to warrant consideration, especially with the potential dangers that come with such enthusiasm.
After explaining that she only wants “to help facilitate the well being of the creature,” John Fenley fought back, suggesting his constitutes might be irritated that time was spent discussing Bigfoot.
Chadwick suggested that the bill could potentially help educate the public on the issue, while also generating increased tourism to the county. Members of the public at the meeting responded positively to Chadwick, but Groves quickly shut the idea down.
“I’m not sure if we’re trying to be funny or if we’re trying to be serious or what we’re trying to do here,” he said. “We have spent more time on this than we should.”
After roughly 20 minutes of debating, the group agreed that it would be resubmitted as a proclamation rather than a law. Chadwick’s proposal would become nothing more than an announcement.
The location of this debate is very significant. Trinity County connects to Humboldt County in Northern California, and Willow Creek — the Bigfoot capital of the world — is in Humboldt County.
This mountain town is located in the Six Rivers National Forest, making it the perfect area for Bigfoot sightings. They hold an annual Bigfoot Daze Festival to honor the cryptid, and Willow Creek is also the home of the Bigfoot Museum.
To Chadwick’s point, Trinity is close enough to an area like Willow Creek that Bigfoot could wander over the county line into potential danger. Furthermore, her idea of utilizing the law to help tourism also holds true, as they’re connected to one of the most Bigfoot-oriented towns in the United States.
On March 29, 2019, the Travel Channel outlined the eight most likely states to encounter a Bigfoot sighting, utilizing never-before-released data from the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO). The information was obtained specifically from their Follow-up Log and Tracking System (FLATS).
California (1,697 sightings) ranks second in the United States. Washington (2,032 sightings) leads the country. Pennsylvania (1,340 sightings), Michigan (1,131 sightings), and New York (1,068 sightings) rank slightly behind California, rounding out the top five.
In 1967, filmmakers Roger Patterson and Robert “Bob” Gimlin recorded one of the most polarizing videos in Bigfoot history. The duo shot a short film of an unknown creature, which is now considered to be of Bigfoot.
The encounter took place in Del Norte County in Orleans, Calif. More specifically, it was filmed along Bluff Creek.
Patterson passed away in 1972, maintaining this video wasn’t a hoax before his death. Gimlin often refused to publicly discuss Bigfoot until the early-2000s. Throughout his life, he also denied being involved in a hoax with Patterson.
The film quality is low compared to modern standards, making it difficult to verify this film. In 2019, YouTube user Bigfoot Al posted a stabilized 4K remastered version of the video.
Talk show host and paranormal investigator Jeffrey Gonzalez discussed multiple Bigfoot sightings with Fox News in late 2017.
The sightings near Avocado Lake are odd compared to other sasquatch sightings. A local farmer claimed to have seen six total creatures, including one with a pig on its shoulders.
“One of them, which was extremely tall, had a pig over its shoulder,” Gonzalez detailed. “And the five scattered and the one with the pig was running so fast it didn’t see an irrigation pipe and it tripped, with the pig flying over.”
Gonzalez claimed these sightings were rather common, as he was told of three more sightings throughout East Fresno County over the last five years.
“What are the odds of three people,” he questioned, “three different families, who don’t know each other, within a radius of two or three miles, come and tell me what they witness, and it matches up?”
Two separate families claim to have seen Bigfoot in a local orchard. One of the sightings was a pair of young boys, who claimed to have seen the creature alone. The other was a man who claimed he saw five creatures together in the same location.
There are 43 counties in California that have reported a Bigfoot sighting to BFRO. Trinity County currently ranks seventh of those 43 counties in sightings. Trinity is also directly connected to Humboldt County, which leads all California counties in sightings.
The most recently reported sighting in Trinity County occurred in August 2009. There was a group of four people camping around Big Bear Lake. The creature had picked up a backpack at 1:30 A.M., but quickly retreated once the group of four woke up and started screaming.
While it has been over a decade since a sighting was reported to BFRO in Trinity County, there was a sighting in its neighboring Humboldt County in November 2019, leaving plenty of speculation that a Bigfoot could travel into Trinity without much effort.
It should come as no surprise that the state that features the most Bigfoot sightings — Washington — has already established laws to protect the creature. The state passed a law in 1969, which makes willfully killing Bigfoot a felony. The law passed on April Fool’s Day, but Count Commissioner Conrad Lundy insisted there are some reasons to believe this cryptid exists. It is not a joke.
The law was amended in 1984 to include the possibility of an insanity defense and protection from homicide if one is cornered by the creature.
In 1991, an Agenda Bill was drafted in Whatcom County, Wash., declaring the county a Sasquatch Protection and Refuge Area. It passed shortly thereafter.
Most importantly, the bill speculated on whether or not Bigfoot is a homo sapien subspecies, suggesting the cryptid could be closer to humans than non-human animals.
Unfortunately, Bigfoot is not a protected species in a vast majority of the world. At this time, we need more people like Bobbi Chadwick fighting for the preservation and safety of the species, rather than ignoring the issue at hand because we don’t have definitive proof of the creature’s existence. If we don’t act now, once we do encounter Bigfoot, it might be too late for legislation.