Interest in Sasquatch rekindled on Vancouver Island
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It seems like residents of Vancouver Island want to believe... in the sasquatch that is.
Victoria will play host to a panel discussion about the elusive creature on April 23— the second such event on the Island in less than a month.
"We'll be presenting the evidence, as it exists so far, that suggests there's a large primate living in the forest regions of western North America," said Thomas Steenburg, author of three books on the mysterious — and potentially mythical — animal.
Along with his colleague, Bill Miller, Steenburg runs Sasquatch Country Adventures in Harrison Hot Springs, B.C. The pair have been combing the wilderness for the beast since 1978.
"In all the years I've been looking, I may only have caught a fleeting glimpse once," Steenburg said. "But whether it was a sasquatch or a large man, I can't say."
Over the course of his sasquatch-hunting career, Steenburg has interviewed hundreds of purported eye-witnesses, and found tracks he believes are consistent with other reports, as well as the famous Patterson-Gimlin film of the 1960s (shown above). He's adamant the animal exists, but understands why many are still skeptical.
"Quite frankly, the odds of sasquatch existing based on what has been found so far is not good," he said. "But all we need is that one piece."
Earlier in April, Vancouver Island University hosted biologist John Bindernagel, another B.C.-based sasquatch expert.
"The community had a lot of interest. It was actually one of our better-attended talks," said Brian Kingzett, manager of VIU's Deep Bay Field Station.
Kingzett said his department decided to host the talk because "keeping an open mind" is part of being a scientist.
"It wasn't that long ago that the researcher who first posited that continental plates move around world was laughed out of the room," he said. "And now we all accept that as elementary fact."
While he declined to comment on the scientific merit of sasquatch theories, Kingzett said we shouldn't necessarily discount them.
"There are still cases of macrofauna showing up in the world that people didn't think existed," he said. "And here on Vancouver Island, for example, we have the highest concentration of cougars in the world, but most people will never see one in their lifetime."
And while he continues to hunt for definitive proof of sasquatch's existence, Steenburg has made peace with the fact he may never find it.
"If they're not real, then I've certainly done my part to contribute to a significant piece of British Columbia's mythology," he said.
Steenburg and Miller will be speaking April 23 at at 6:30 p.m. at Oaklands Community Centre on Belmont Street.