OLYMPIA… Sen. Ann Rivers thinks the state’s best-known cryptid, Sasquatch, ought to have an opportunity to help raise money for state parks and recreation areas. Today she introduced legislation that would create a Sasquatch license plate and direct revenue from its sales toward park maintenance and improvements.
“I’m guessing Sasquatch has a hidden talent as a fundraiser,” said Rivers. “And assuming that Sasquatch is a native Washingtonian, and our state parks are part of Sasquatch’s native habitat, it makes perfect sense to capitalize on Sasquatch’s popularity in a way that would help protect and improve that habitat.”
Senate Bill 6151 complements Rivers’ effort to designate Sasquatch as the state cryptid – short for cryptozoological creature, which refers to an animal not proven to exist. Senate Bill 5816, which would add Sasquatch (or “Bigfoot”) to the collection of state symbols, was inspired by a letter she received from a young constituent in early 2017.
SB 6151’s co-sponsors include the Senate Transportation Committee’s Democrat chair and lead Republican, and Rivers is hopeful the bill will come before the committee later this month.
Rivers, who says the idea for her legislation came from a friend, was among a bipartisan majority of senators who supported last year’s legislation to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in park maintenance and improvements. The bill went nowhere in the House of Representatives, however, and money from the special state-parks license plate created in 2006 only supports arts and education in parks.
“This won’t generate the $500 million that our Senate bill from last year would have, but the proceeds can’t help but make a dent in the backlog of maintenance that we were wanting to address,” Rivers explained.
“The strong positive reaction to my bill to make Sasquatch the state cryptid proved that people of all ages are still taken by the idea that such a creature is out there. I have no doubt that some of them will like the idea of a Sasquatch license plate, and appreciate that buying one is good for the park system,” she said.