Posted by: John Kirk on March 17th, 2006
Skamania county is best known for being the only place in North America that has an ordinance protecting sasquatch. This was in reaction to a spate of sasquatch sightings in the county during the 1970’s. I am familiar with this area and have visited it many times as my father used to live there.
My father is a no-nonsense former British Army Captain and police inspector, so he found my pursuit of sasquatch very bizarre and often would amuse himself at my expense by discounting the existence of sasquatch with not a little humour. I face skepticism and cynicism toward cryptids every day, so I took my Dad’s jests in stride and carried on with my work in the area south of Mt. St. Helens. I would interview people in the area to find out about their experiences with the local bipedal hairy hominid. It helped that my father was mayor of a small town in the county as most people trusted him and knew that I was a chip off the old block.
One particular day, I was in the city hall winding up some business when I broached the subject of sasquatch with the town planner and the police chief. They both immediately assured me that the sasquatch phenomenon was real and that they both had experiences with the creature. The police chief grew up hunting and exploring in the vicinity of Beacon Rock state park and it was on one occasion when he was about 15 and hunting in the area with his grandmother that he heard a commotion in the bushes to the side. He described hearing ape-like grunts and something thrashing about in the bush.
There were heavy footfalls as this thing rushed about crunching wood and tearing through the bracken. Suddenly the noises began to edge closer and so with no forethought at all, the chief and his grandmother, despite the fact they were armed with rifles, took off down a slope and in the general direction of the paved road on the north side of the park. The footfalls and thrashing stopped on the edge of the bush and came no further. The chief and his grandmother were relieved to have escaped and generally avoided the area thereafter.
On another occasion in the bush, the chief was stalked by something walking upright that would stop and go as he did. He never heard an utterance and never saw what it was, but it was clearly intelligent and wanting to stay abreast with him as walked through the wilderness. After awhile he decided that discretion was the best part of valour and left the area.
The town planner of the city was equally forthcoming about his experience with a sasquatch. It was around 1974 and he was working at a supermarket in another community some miles away. He had worked the overnight shift and was driving back early one weekday morning when he encountered a strange being crossing the highway. The planner could not believe his eyes when a creature about 8 feet tall and covered in dark hair ventured across the highway in just three steps. It crossed from the north side to the south and went straight down a steep embankment until the planner lost sight of it.
The 1970’s were indeed the heyday of sasquatch sightings in the Skamania county region and these events drew Robert W. Morgan to the area to investigate. It was Morgan who largely initiated and drafted the ordinance in a bid not so much to protect sasquatch but to prevent would-be sasquatch hunters from shooting each other in the woods. He was to make a major sasquatch find in 1975 that would impact me personally.
Next, strange footprints in the snow…
One of the founders of the BCSCC, John Kirk has enjoyed a varied and exciting career path. Both a print and broadcast journalist, John Kirk has in recent years been at the forefront of much of the BCSCC’s expeditions, investigations and publishing. John has been particularly interested in the phenomenon of unknown aquatic cryptids around the world and is the author of In the Domain of the Lake Monsters (Key Porter Books, 1998). In addition to his interest in freshwater cryptids, John has been keenly interested in investigating the possible existence of sasquatch and other bipedal hominids of the world, and in particular, the Yeren of China. John is also chairman of the Crypto Safari organization, which specializes in sending teams of investigators to remote parts of the world to search for animals as yet unidentified by science. John travelled with a Crypto Safari team to Cameroon and northern Republic of Congo to interview witnesses among the Baka pygmies and Bantu bushmen who have sighted a large unknown animal that bears more than a superficial resemblance to a dinosaur. Since 1996, John Kirk has been editor and publisher of the BCSCC Quarterly which is the flagship publication of the BCSCC. In demand at conferences, seminars, lectures and on television and radio programs, John has spoken all over North America and has appeared in programs on NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, TLC, Discovery, CBC, CTV and the BBC. In his personal life John spends much time studying the histories of Scottish Clans and is himself the president of the Clan Kirk Society. John is also an avid soccer enthusiast and player.