‘Bigfoot’ spotted on Washington state’s Sherman Pass webcam

Bigfoot sightings used to be the province of obsessive loners who spent a lot of time in the woods. Then along came the surveillance state, and so now it’s desk-bound government apparatchiks who must be counted on to keep the great hairy creature in the public consciousness.

The latest to weigh in on the existence of the large, supposedly smelly beast: Washington state’s Department of Transportation. A WSDOT tweet sent out Wednesday shows webcam images of a large figure trudging through the snow. The accompanying message has all the signs of the quintessential 21st-century Bigfoot fan: excitement coupled with forced, we’re-just-having-a-laugh jollity.

“Sasquatch spotted!!!” wrote the anonymous WSDOT webcam watcher. “I’m not superstitious… just a little stitious. Have you noticed something strange on our Sherman Pass/SR 20 webcam before? If you look closely by the tree on the left there looks to be something… might be Sasquatch… We will leave that up to you!

They’ll leave that up to us? It sounds more like they’ve made up their minds but don’t want to admit they believe in Bigfoot.

And that’s OK. Bigfoot enthusiasts have accepted that the glory days of the 1960s and ’70s, when credentialed scientists trekked into the woods in search of gargantuan dung and massive footprints, are mostly gone. They’ve become accustomed to the wink-wink-nudge-nudge of the bashful believers.

The Washington transportation department’s tweet has gained a lot of attention on social media and beyond. But it should be pointed out that WSDOT, whose Twitter account is known for irreverence, isn’t the only government entity tracking fabled beasts these days. Last April, the Indian army tweeted evidence of Bigfoot’s cousin Yeti.

Sasquatch-like animals have been spotted in various parts of the world, but their one true home is unquestionably the Pacific Northwest. Bigfoot first became a popular local water-cooler topic back in 1924 thanks to an incident that took place in a narrow gorge on the east flank of Mt. St. Helens. A clutch of gold prospectors told newspaper reporters — and anyone else who would listen — about how they came across 7-foot-tall “ape-men” that tossed boulders at them.

That gorge is now called Ape Canyon.

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