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Cryptomundian WVBotanist Offers Insight: Retired US Forest Service Ranger Claims Sasquatch is Real!

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on August 24th, 2011

Cryptomundian WVBotanist offers this insight regarding the Cryptomundo post: Retired US Forest Service Ranger Claims Sasquatch is Real!

Forest service employees are not extraordinary in terms of honesty, knowledge, or scientific ability. They are often, however, exposed to information that the Department of Interior would rather keep as secret. For example, Indian burial mounds in various National Parks. They are there, but are not officially recognized because of the political and ownership issues that would arise. I have seen that first-hand, a number of times.

And, like the spotted owl example given above, the DOI is very much involved in suppression of information regarding some species’ presence and distribution. One solid example I witnessed firsthand involved the Florida Panther. USFWS and the State of Florida have drafted and followed a plan, according to Endangered Species Act requirements, that basically outlines the range of the Florida Panther as extending only as far north as Lee County. No major Federal actions north of this location are reviewed with regard to the potential to impact or result in a ‘take’ of the Florida Panther. Why? Until recently, land development and mid-range luxury housing and ranchettes, planned communities, and similar drove the entire economy of Florida in that area. If you have wetland (Section 404 CWA) impacts, you have a Federal action requiring a USFWS review under the Endangered Species Act. And nearly every land development and road project in Florida has wetland impacts and Section 404 permits. None mention panthers, unless they are in Lee County or south. Follow so far?

Now, see how many state and federal biologists will readily tell you that the Florida panther lives and breeds well north of Lee County. Do a FOIA to Sarasota County Natural Resources regarding panther tracks, trail camera photos, and, in particular, the excellent biologist who brought this to the Feds and the State. What happened? They all sat on it, with the exception of a few stories in the local paper designed to

a) cheer for the land management program and

b) explain that it was a cryptorchid pet or hybrid and not a REAL panther in the photo.

Why? Here are a few names: Palmer. Patton. Bush. Thaxton. String those players together, from bottom to top, and you have a pretty clear story of how and why DOI controls information.

Having established that, consider that despite what you hear about the Forest Service, Park Service, USFWS, USACE, and a number of other agencies charged with implementing and enforcing various conservation and biodiversity legislation, usually it is only the entry-level and field staff that even begin to understand the challenges and the science involved. Above that, most are playing politics, and above that, the appointed Administrators are mostly only carrying out a scripted agenda to placate lobbyists or follow the new President’s short-term needs. In short, actual conservation science or even simple cataloging of biodiversity almost NEVER happens. Most of today’s science and EIS data come from university grad students on bean and rice stipends OR excellent USGS Biological Survey documents from DECADES ago.

OK, that was almost a rant. But from someone who has been through those ranks, seen it firsthand, still loves science and biology, and actively works as a consultant – I routinely ‘re-discover’ organisms and EPA often responds ‘that can’t be, there are no records of that for the past xyz years’ and promptly overrule my findings unless vouchered (I do plants, but rarely voucher animals). Organismal biology and identification (taxonomy) is a dying science in this molecular era. Few know how to do it, and fewer still can get paid to do it, as scientists should. And when they do, the environmental policy wonks (yes you can get a degree in that) hide what they are not prepared to deal with. It is that simple. Small conspiracies, sometimes, but mostly incompetence.

No idea what to make of the interview, it seems believable enough, but I can’t get more than that from it.

~ WVBotanist

About Craig Woolheater
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster.


12 Responses to “Cryptomundian WVBotanist Offers Insight: Retired US Forest Service Ranger Claims Sasquatch is Real!”

  1. DWA responds:

    Well, with regard to the real-world examples he cites, hiding the existence of something that would, if acknowledged, endanger timber sales, second-home developments and mining claims and Wal-Marts nationwide might be a thing certain bureaucrats might want to – even be paid to – do.

    I for one would not be surprised at all if a number of “shoot, shovel and shut up” sasquatch stories eventually came to light.

    Absent that, though, I’d rather not focus on this aspect of the sasquatch issue.

  2. Sasquatch Up Close responds:

    I think you should embed the video of part two, not part one.

  3. midwest mimi responds:

    With all due respect (my husband is from WV), I understand the economic realities of acknowleging the existence of species which might undermine housing developments, mining etc. That said, many Bigfoot sightings are in remote areas which have no foreseeable economic, etc. value. Quite simply, I find it hard to believe that DOI or any other federal agency which lives and dies by its federal budget and is starving for publicity would bury (literally) what is arguably the biggest new species discovery in the past century. Doesn’t make sense. I’m no Pollyanna when it comes to believing the feds keep secrets (I still thing there’s an alien body or two in a storage closet at Wright Pat), but this gentleman’s claims are just too conspiratorial for my taste.

  4. PhotoExpert responds:

    DWA–I could not agree with you more. I have nothing to add because you said exactly what I am thinking!

  5. Surveyor responds:

    This is a 2 sided coin. There are big $ in conservation banking, which was created by the USFWS as a for profit incentive to preserve endangered species & habitats. In conservation banking, a large area of private land is set aside and restored to pristine condition (wetland,etc., but usually several different ecosystems). Then credits for the new “bank” are determined by the USFWS for each ecosystem or species. The credits are then sold at a high price to developers or others who wish to impact land of that particular ecosystem within that bank’s service area. As far as endangered animal species goes, the USFWS determines in advance how many of each species the bank can support, & impacted species are relocated there for a fee. When all of the credits are sold & species slots are full, the bank is given over to public or non profit trust forever.

  6. Craig Woolheater responds:

    Thanks Sasquatch Up Close!

    I corrected the video embed.

  7. jimlyding responds:

    What about the Department of Agriculture which the National Forest Service is actually part of rather than the Department of Interior?

  8. WVBotanist responds:

    All, I had originally submitted this as a comment on the “Retired US Forest Service…” article. And I have to agree with jimlyding about the replacement of “DOI” with the appropriate Ag Department, when referring to the Forest Service. I worked closely with Forest Service Rangers AND DOI National Parks Rangers when I was a DOI scientist…

    And that make my example a bit less relevant that intended, but still relevant, simply as an example.

    Supression of species distribution happens often in the case of Federal actions or Federal agency review of proposed actions, under the National Environmental Policy Act. It dont mean to imply that it happens as large conspiracies, to conceal information regarding presence/absence, so much as it happens through a series of accidents, acts of incompetence, small conspiracies, careful presentation of data to avoid regulatory triggers in the NEPA process, and, of course, real, individual conspiracies to suppress data regarding presence of know species via stamping it ‘unauthenticated’ simply because they agencies are not prepared to deal with the political repercussions.

    Im not suggesting that this is exactly what happened in the case mentioned by the retired Forest Service Ranger. In many ways, his story sounds much more intriguing. I simply meant to point out that you can’t rely on any Federal agencies to have accurate information regarding species distribution, for a number of reasons, and sometimes that is intentional on the part of the agency.

    As far as funding for the agencies goes, and the tie-in with conservation banking, I have a lot of opinions on that based on continuing experience, but I’m not sure that would fit into this forum. Just consider that in order for USFWS to take jurisdiction AND develop, manage, market, and preserve via trust any type of habitat, there is a long series of actions that must happen, starting off with the designation of the species status (literal act of Congress), followed by years of semi-scientific pursuit of species profiling and habitat accounting (identifying the need more clearly) while happening in concert with an existing protection plan or developed in parallel with the protection plan, which has its own bureaucratic timeline. Then you are ready to pursue land acquisition… etc. At best it is a lengthy process which surpasses the short-term goals of most middle-managers and administrators in FWS.

    At worst, unmanaged information, verified occurrences of protected species outside of anticipated ranges, or worse yet, ‘takings’ in areas where the species was not ‘known’ to exist – then you have grounds for a 3rd party such as Sierra Club, etc to file suit against the Feds. That is what they fear, that is what drives their public and private policies alike, moreso than legislation. Think of legislation as the bones of their mission, and the fear of 3rd party lawsuits and the chance at late-career appointments as the meat and animation, respectively.

    Yes, I know it is a cynical viewpoint. And not universally applicable. But definitely based in reality.

  9. Surveyor responds:

    “Just consider that in order for USFWS to take jurisdiction AND develop, manage, market, and preserve via trust any type of habitat, there is a long series of actions that must happen, starting off with the designation of the species status (literal act of Congress), followed by years of semi-scientific pursuit of species profiling and habitat accounting (identifying the need more clearly) while happening in concert with an existing protection plan or developed in parallel with the protection plan, which has its own bureaucratic timeline. Then you are ready to pursue land acquisition… etc. At best it is a lengthy process which surpasses the short-term goals of most middle-managers and administrators in FWS.”

    The USFWS does not own, take jurisdiction, develop, market, preserve, or acquire any land for the purpose of conservation banking. As I said in my initial comment, it is set up to be a purely private, for-profit endeavor. I mentioned it to counter the arguments about government coverups about hiding the presence of endangered fauna and flora so that land could be developed or used for timber harvesting, oil exploration, etc., by showing that the government has created very profitable alternatives to offset the destruction and impact of these habitats.

    As I also mentioned in my original comment, each conservation bank can only serve areas impacted within a certain “service area”, which means that there is no risk of, say, spotted owls from Washington being relocated to Florida.

    Prior to the bank being placed in the public trust or transferred to a non-profit organization (Sierra Club, Nature Conservancy, etc.), after all of the credits have been sold, a portion of the profits must have been placed in an interest-bearing trust account in an amount such that the maintenance for the bank can be carried out perpetually with these funds. Therefore, it is obvious that government funding for the conservation bank will not be an issue.

    Here is a link to the USFWS page on conservation banking.

    Here is their official publication on conservation banking in .pdf format.

    Trust me, this has been a part of my job for quite some time as a private development consultant. There is money to be made if endangered species are on land that may be impacted by development or growth. It makes no sense financially for the government to cover it up, since they wind up with more land in the end and don’t even have to pay for the upkeep and maintenance of it.

  10. WVBotanist responds:

    Surveyor,

    I’m not trying to misrepresent the details of how conservation banks work. I was trying to present

    a) in original post: an example of supression of existence of species in a particular area.

    b) in my comment to your comment: as a hypothetical, in the event that a NEW species were encountered, it would take a long time before any money could be made marketing credits.

    By ‘taking jurisdiction’ I meant of the species itself. In some cases, as you probably know, that does, in fact, extend to land in the form a ‘critical habitat’ designation. But that choice of language is not as important as the point I was making – that a lot of effort and time would be required to go from documented observation through to the possibility of anyone marketing credits.

    I know USFWS doesn’t in and of itself market the credits or own the land. But the conservation banking process requires USFWS oversight all along, from allowable credits for a given bank, to review of performance criteria for various restoration scenarios (thinking Scrub Jays, Indigo Snakes, and Sand Skinks here, my only 1st hand experience w/ Federal conservation banking for T&Es)…

    Again, I did’t mean to misrepresent but condensed the detail in order to get to my opinion.

    Now, more to the details of the panther example: I described one of several well-documented occurrences that fell OUTSIDE of the USFWS Recovery Plan’s description of the Florida Panther’s ‘Approved’ range. I say ‘approved’ because that is the range referred to by the Recovery Plan, but many people are well aware that they actually exist in a much broader range.

    There is not money to be made in marketing habitat credits outside of that range. Because none will be approved, under the current recovery plan. There is, however, plenty of political reckoning and lawsuits to be avoided by NOT admitting that some of this area is part of the range of the panther. For one thing, the Recovery Plan would have to be revised. For another thing, 3rd party lawsuits, as previously mentioned, would be filed IF there existed public record documentation of the presence of the actual species, and the possibility of a ‘take’. Because any citizen with enough knowledge and willpower could file suit against the USFWS for not complying with the Endangered Species Act. This suit, to-date, could be potentially filed for past actions. Additionally, the process could result in a pause of several years of other, associated federal actions (USACE wetland permitting, EPA/State joint NPDES permitting, etc) for land development (think large, planned communities here) proposals simply because a pending suit and the attendant research required on the part of USFWS, particularly in the context of questioning the existing Recovery Plan, would preclude the issuance of a Biological Opinion, under an ESA Section 7 consultation. (It should be noted, as previously implied in my original posting, USFWS involvement in this geographical area is almost ALWAYS in the form of a Section 7 consultation, in association with other federal actions, namely Section 404 CWA permit issuance.)

    For this reason, and this reason alone, the documented year-round presence of multiple Florida panthers AND young (implying more than simply ‘panthers moving through’) in an area far north of that prescribed within the USFWS Recovery Plan, was supressed. And that was my whole point.

    For an unknown species (in a hypothetical scenario, where a large, unknown primate might be walking the the woods of North America), I felt that your optimistic view of conservation banking and money-making by private landowners was stretch. Land owner/developers and their subsidiary tier of LLCs generally don’t take that long term of a view, in my experience. Once design is begun, time is money. I agree that portions of an area being considered for development that may be set aside and place under a banking instrument, whether for wetland credits or habitat for T&Es, can generate additional dollars, but that is secondary to and almost always less than, the possible money to be made by residential or commercial development.

  11. DWA responds:

    Then of course, there’s this.

    While I hold no brief for a Government wide conspiracy of any stripe, I could see local managers for local reasons stemming from local interests and local management “policy” to try to hush funny stuff.

    (And this report shows how that might not be tenable for very long.)

  12. Opalman responds:

    In another thread I give ample examples and reasons why the government would want to keep the subject of sasquatche’s existence within the realm of folklore. Is The Government Hiding Evidence Of Bigfoot?

    Recently I had a discussion with an individual who hinted at just that. The gentleman was a Ducks Unlimited executive type who has insisted on anonymity. As we know; Ducks Unlimited (DU hereafter), is a very successful, non-profit organization devoted to conservation and especially wetland and migratory route habitat conservation. DU has worked closely with both American and Canadian governments among others for a long time. They are the world’s leading organization of its kind and they have been active since the 1930’s.

    The crux of our discussion was devoted to duck hunting and the wild outdoors etc, but almost in passing, for some reason; I mentioned that an ongoing area of interest of mine was armchair research and study of the sasquatch phenomena. Turns out he had recently had a similar discussion with one of his co-workers who said she had been privy to a conversation by one of the higher ups regarding how the bigfoot issue would be addressed after the cloak of secrecy was lifted, and what ramifications might lie ahead for DU. The individual; (we’ll call him Fred) indicated that off the record he believed, (he said he; “absolutely believed”) that the existence of sasquatch had already been validated by the U.S. Government, select museum scientists and geneticists, and that plans for announcing that fact were being made but also put off for as long as possible in order to assure the status quo on many fronts and interests remain; thereby minimizing disruption (Federal Parks, lumber industry, Endangered Species Act ramifications etc.) He also mentioned that the creature was being classified as simply a gorilla sub-species. Finally It became obvious to me he was experiencing remorse for talking as much as he did and I changed the subject; much to his approval.

    I know… this is one of those ‘he said’—‘she said’, ‘I heard’ etc, etc., accounts and usually I keep this kind of story to myself—but I’m thinking that, in light of this thread, some of you might find its recounting interesting.



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