Outside magazine, August 1996
The Northern California mountains have long been known as bigfoot country. Sightings date back to the 1880s, but it was Roger Patterson's now famous (and never discredited) 1967 film of a female bigfoot in the woods near Willow Creek that really launched the craze.
Sensing a boon, the tiny town of Willow Creek grabbed onto the bigfoot as its chief attraction. Now you can play nine holes at the Bigfoot Country Club, attend a meeting of the Bigfoot Chapter of the Lion's Club, witness the Labor Day Bigfoot Parade, and buy bigfoot memorabilia.
When the Bigfoot Research Project published its hot line number in 1993, operators were overwhelmed. "The first month we had the 800 number we had about 3,000 calls, but 95 percent of them were crank calls," reported project administrator Deborah Wolman. Of the "real" calls, most are reports of giant footprints or people claiming they smelled a bigfoot, which ostensibly exudes "a gut-wrenching stench, the worst possible sticky B.O. you can imagine, combined with urine."
And the sightings continue: Last March, a former Playboy model and photographers shooting a fashion video near Redwood National Park captured a brief and shaky clip of what they claimed was a bigfoot crossing the road. Hard Copy ran a segment on the sighting, but Ray Crowe, a bigfoot believer who runs the Western Bigfoot Society, thinks this one was a hoax. "I put that tape on freeze frame, and the bottom of the bigfoot's feet are white," said Crowe. "This was a rainy, muddy night. I think it was wearing tennis shoes."
To report a bigfoot sighting-or stench-call the Bigfoot Research Project at 1-800-BIGFOOT or 503-352-7000.
Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.Contribute to Outside →