Bigfoot researchers in Canada and the U.S. have launched Sasquatch lawsuits

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      It's not often that multiple Sasquatch-related stories pop up in the news, but Bigfoot is so hot right now.

      The Second Annual Bigfoot Conference was held this past weekend in Hastings, Nebraska. According to the Omaha World-Herald, the event drew about 400 people. That's a tad shy of the 1,000 attendees that organizers had hoped for, which suggests either that interest in Bigfoot isn't quite as strong as they would like it to be, or that they should consider holding next year's conference somewhere other than Hastings, Nebraska.

      There are true believers out there, though.

      Most of them seem to be in the state of Washington, which is home to more Sasquatch sightings than any other state or province in North America. There are even two bills related to the creature, both of them introduced by Republican Senator Ann Rivers. One bill would name the Sasquatch as Washington's official state cryptid, and the other seeks to create a Bigfoot license plate that would benefit state parks. 

      Support for the big hairy beast crosses party lines. According to the Edmonds Beacon, Democratic Party Senator Maralyn Chase has stated on the record that she believes Bigfoot is real.

      Now, most of us, even those who spend a lot of time in the woods, will never bump into a member of the elusive (and, let's face it, entirely mythical) species, but a woman in California claims to have had multiple Bigfoot encounters. Most recently—in March of last year—Claudia Ackley saw one near Lake Arrowhead in southern California. Of the encounter, Ackley told the Riverside County Press-Enterprise, "We were face to face. He was 30 feet up in the tree. He looked like a Neanderthal man with hair all over him. He had solid black eyes. He had no expression on his face at all. He did not show his teeth. He just stared.”

      The California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the state's Natural Resources Agency don't recognize Sasquatch as a real species. That's a problem for Ackley, who claims to have spent over 20 years researching the creatures. So she's suing both agencies for damaging her credibility. Oh, and for putting Californians at risk of injury from a species "potentially capable of inflicting great harm". 

      Yes, really. Ackley filed her suit with the Superior Court of California in January, and is expected to appear in court for a hearing on March 19 before San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge David Cohn. Here's a bit of Ackley's "Statement of Facts":

      Closer to home, another Sasquatch researcher, Todd Standing of Golden, filed a civil lawsuit in B.C. Supreme Court back in October. Standing wants to take the B.C. Ministry of Environment and B.C. Fish and Wildlife Branch to court for their failure to protect what he calls "an indigenous wildlife species".

      Standing claims to have proof of Sasquatch's existence. He also has a nifty website, where you will find videos like this one:

      One could argue that Standing has a vested interest in official recognition of Bigfoot. After all, he makes money taking suckers expeditioneers out into the woods to observe Sasquatch in the wild, all for the small fee of US$4,800.  

      The government of British Columbia has filed an official response to Standing's suit, saying that it “denies that the plaintiff suffered or continues to suffer any loss, damage or expense as alleged in the notice of civil claim”.

      Whether or not Standing's suit even proceeds to trial is for a judge to decide. Standing is reportedly already lining up expert witnesses. 

      Maybe Claudia Ackley is available.