The Mountaineers are publishing a field manual for Sasquatch hunters.
David George Gordon
The author of “The Sasquatch Seeker’s Field Manual” will discuss his book at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 23, at Elliott Bay Book Co., 1521 10th Ave., Seattle; free (206-624-6600 or elliottbaybook.com).
A study in cryptozoology may seem a departure for the longtime publishers of guidebooks on more reality-based outdoor activities. But “The Sasquatch Seeker’s Field Manual” is a serious book intent on filling the Northwest woods with citizen scientists to put an end to the question of whether the hairy giant exists.
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David George Gordon, the Seattle author of the field manual, writes that he is divided on the question of whether Sasquatch is for real. What he would like to see is several thousand people out looking for this primate that has walked through the imaginations — and maybe the forests — of the Pacific Northwest since homo sapiens first set foot here.
The several thousand seekers Gordon envisions should not be wild-eyed dreamers, hoaxers or unprepared stumblers over what could be the definitive proof of an unrecorded primate species.
There’s been plenty of those already, and Gordon’s history of the search for Sasquatch includes the usual suspects. They will be familiar to any reader who has dabbled in Sasquatch literature: the much scrutinized 1967 Patterson-Gimlin film of a Sasquatch — or someone in a monkey suit; John W. Burns, who is credited with popularizing the Sasquatch name; Ray Wallace and his Bigfoot footprints carved from wood.
What has been missing in the search so far, Gordon argues, is careful gathering and preservation of evidence that Sasquatch walks the Earth.
Gordon’s book is an effort to correct this. His manual explains what it takes for the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature to recognize a new species. Lack of a type specimen has been the deal breaker for Sasquatch, keeping it from being formally included in the 7.8 million living species in the animal kingdom.
A Sasquatch — alive or dead — would seal the deal, but even a skull or partial skeleton would be a foot in the door, so to speak, toward recognition from the science community.
The effort to prove or disprove the existence of Sasquatch can best go forward if those gathering evidence “play by the rules of science,” says Gordon. So he gives instructions on how to keep reliable field notes, how best to organize search parties, how to properly keep hair and scat samples. He recommends the best materials and methods for making casts of footprints, and he discusses the difficulty of gathering valid video and audio evidence in this time of common digital-media manipulation.
Finally, he recommends the best places to look for Sasquatch. A third of the 4,500 U.S. Sasquatch sightings and reports on the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization website are from Washington, Oregon and California. Half of those in Canada come from British Columbia. So all of Gordon’s recommendations are from these areas, and while you might stumble upon a Sasquatch there — or vice versa — Gordon says he also included these places for their “entertainment value.”
They represent a variety of day hikes, from the leisurely to longer, more strenuous treks. And they do sound like entertaining places to ramble, well-attended snipe hunt or not.
Almost reminds you of a guidebook from the Mountaineers.