Do TV Bigfoot hunters really exist?
Jim Fisher for The Sentinel
STANDING GUARD: A recently completed hand-carved statue of someone’s take on what Bigfoot looks like stands in Glenwood. The biggest “secret” around the area is that TV’s “Finding Bigfoot” is shooting nearby—maybe.
Something strange and eerie may be walking the quiet woods near Glenwood. Legend says the mysterious creatures haunting the hillsides are—gasp!—TV people.
The Sasquatch hunting cast members of Animal Planet’s hit television show, Finding Bigfoot, have traveled the world looking for evidence of the big, hairy myth of an ape. They’ve followed his footprints from the plains of Oklahoma to the jungles of Indonesia, listened for his calls from the woods of Minnesota to the Australian Outback. The four members of the group featured, known collectively as the Bigfoot Field Research Organization (BFRO), Matt Moneymaker, James “Bobo” Fay, Cliff Barackman, and Ranae Holland, have become household names since the show’s premier in 2011, which currently airs Sunday nights at 10 p.m. locally on Animal Planet. In their quest for proof, the BFRO follow Sasquatch’s scent, (a smell one anonymous witness on the group’s website has likened to “being wrapped in dirty diapers”) wherever it is rumored to have been sniffed.
Now, rumor has it that they are sniffing for him in our very own county of Klickitat, poking around the Glenwood area, in the woods at the base of Mt. Adams. (Rumor being a key word, as it tends to be common in many things having to do with creatures of disputed existence.) Calls were made on behalf of The Sentinel to a lodge in Glenwood where the television crew has been rumored to be staying during current filming of an episode rumored to feature Klickitat County. The place of lodging, whose name will not be printed out of respect for privacy, would not speak to newspaper reporters, citing a non-disclosure agreement signed with said but undisclosed television channel.
A visit was made to the Glenwood General Store to attempt to gather more solid information, but longtime resident and store owner Claude McKenzie apologized for having little to offer, despite the lack of any non-disclosure agreement signed on his behalf. He stated that he had heard rumors of a big-name television show working in the vicinity as well, but that was about all. The fairly new, hand-carved, nine-foot-tall Sasquatch statue standing vigil between two antique gas pumps in the parking lot outside was completely unrelated to any presence in the area by BRFO researchers or their camera crews, he said, and was merely waiting to take its storefront place after some long-planned upcoming renovations.
Asked if he believed in the Sasquatch, McKenzie was willing to venture that he had “been spooked in the woods by something a time or two, but you just never really know if it’s actually a Bigfoot.” He added that if someone were to find indisputable evidence of one in the area, he wouldn’t mind the influx of cash-slinging tourists it would most likely bring into his remote country store.
An attempt was also made to interview a group of friendly teenagers outside the store, but they quickly became curiously mum as well, when the show Finding Bigfoot was mentioned. One just shook his head and smiled, saying “No, I can’t talk about that.”
But wait, there’s more. Bigfoot searcher sightings have also been reported in the vicinity of Brooks Park, prompting a drive there not long ago by another Sentinel staffer. Again, close examination showed no trace of the elusive stalkers who stalk the elusive.
The BRFO’s official website, http://www.bfro.net, features no less than nine thoroughly documented Sasquatch reports from Klickitat County, recorded between 1982 and the present day. According to the site, the majority of them are what BRFO refer to as “Class A Reports,” meaning “misinterpretation or misidentification of other animals can be ruled out with greater confidence,” and the sightings have occurred from one end of the county to the other. Places cited include Wahkiacus, BZ Corners, Blockhouse, and Trout Lake, to name a few.
Bobo and his intrepid gang of “Squatchers” have, for all their efforts, turned up very little actual evidence of the mythic creature they seek, but they may have learned a thing or two from him by following in those giant footprints—for they have turned out to be just as elusive as the Bigfoot himself.