Sen. Ann Rivers wants to see Bigfoot — also called Sasquatch or Forest Yeti — recognized as the state’s official cryptid.
Rivers introduced a bill in Olympia on Tuesday to recognize the “immeasurable contributions to Washington state’s cultural heritage and ecosystem” the creature has made.
The idea for Senate Bill 5816 originated from a third-grader in the Battle Ground school district who crafted a persuasive letter, the Republican senator from La Center said.
“He very clearly outlined his ideas why Bigfoot should be the state cryptid and why we need to act on this before Oregon does,” Rivers said, adding “it was delightful.”
A cryptid is defined as “an animal whose existence or survival is disputed or unsubstantiated.”
Rivers said her children were all about Bigfoot while they were growing up.
“Anything I can do to get young people interested and engaged in governmental systems, I’m going to be about,” she said.
Plus, in a legislative session dominated by hard tasks such as solving the state’s chronic underfunding of public education, a moment of levity doesn’t hurt.
“This session is pretty stressful,” Rivers said. “If we have the opportunity to pull back a little bit and see the world through a kid’s eye, that’s helpful.”
The measure could be difficult to pass this legislative session, with a key deadline approaching on Friday. But Rivers said she’s laying the groundwork for it to pass in the upcoming legislative session.
It’s not unusual for lawmakers to make statewide designations. In 2013, the Oregon Legislature established brewer’s yeast as the state’s official microbe, becoming the first state to have an official microbe.