The Adirondack region has a long and storied history of mysterious phenomenon. From the numerous haunted hotels, frequent unidentified flying object (UFO) sightings, a breeding mountain lion population and an unending horde of black flies, the Adirondacks have its share of paranormal curiosities. One of the most interesting and beloved of these is Bigfoot, the large, hairy hominid, with enormous feet that allegedly lurks within many of the most remote areas of North America and beyond.
Unfortunately, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently played the Grinch just in time for Christmas, stealing this beloved beast from the entire state when they officially designated Bigfoot a figment of the imagination. Instead, they should be looking at this as an opportunity to generate some economic activity in an area of the State where it is needed most.
The DEC issued a letter explaining their view of the massive biped in response to an inquiry from Peter Wiemer, a Bigfoot enthusiast and founder of the Chautauqua Lake Bigfoot Expo. The missive was apparently a response to an earlier letter from Mr. Wiemer inquiring about designating Bigfoot as a protected species in New York State. The necessity of designating a protected status on a creature never definitively photographed, yet alone captured or killed, was unfortunately unaddressed by the original inquiry.
The DEC response, allegedly written by Gordon R. Batcheller, Chief Wildlife Biologist states that, referring to Bigfoot, “does not exist in nature or otherwise” and “no program or action in relation to mythical animals is warranted.”
Instead of exposing the mythical nature of this creature, perhaps the State should look at this situation as an opportunity to bring a much-needed infusion of economic activity within the Adirondack region. Capitalizing on this opportunity may make the controversies surrounding the Adirondack Club and Resort project and the former Finch Pruyn property unnecessary, as a furry savoir could deliver the area from its current economic woes.
Numerous industries could get a boost from Bigfoot tourism. Legions of the easily deceived may flock to the North Country in search of the legendary creature. The guide industry would flourish, as hundreds of rubes journey into the backcountry, searching for the elusive beast. An interactive state-of-the-art museum, much like the Wild Center, devoted entirely to the smelly biped could fleece the curious. Local business could incorporate Bigfoot into their names to exploit the new marketing opportunity.
Unfortunately, this opportunity has been lost with the DEC’s declaration. A video has even documented that Bigfoot is leaving the state. It is unclear whether this is due to high property taxes or insult from the current controversy about its newly designated mythological nature.
Although I have never seen Bigfoot, or for that matter, any sign of its existence, I have seen some weird things in the Adirondack backcountry. I watched a white-tailed deer’s head mysteriously transform into a moose ear. Many times, I heard a strange humming noise apparently emanating from nowhere. I lived through a violent windstorm, suddenly appearing and disappearing as if it never existed, leaving thousands of acres of forest in disarray. Maybe there is a massive, hairy and smelly creature is out there too, and not just during hunting season either.
Is this the end of the DEC’s pronouncements of mythological status of beloved legendary characters or could there be more? Perhaps, the Easter bunny? Forget any colored eggs for the Forest Rangers this spring. The Tooth Fairy? Throw those teeth out, as they will not help with the State’s budget woes. Santa? Do not expect any new land acquisitions this Christmas.
I would watch your back, Champie. You just may be next.
Photo: Still from a recently released blurry video.