OLYMPIA — Sasquatch is real and could be on license plates in Washington next year.
A few lawmakers want to create a special license plate bearing an image of the elusive legend and use proceeds from sales to bolster programs and facilities in Washington’s public parks.
Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, drew up a bill to get it done and at a hearing Monday said she understood her colleagues might be reticent to approve another specialty plate.
But there are plenty of people that “love the idea of Sasquatch representing” in this manner and would buy them, she said.
Given this cryptid’s popularity, such plates could be a financial boon for an agency that’s been strapped for cash in recent years.
“I’m guessing Sasquatch has a hidden talent as a fundraiser,” Rivers said when she introduced Senate Bill 6151 earlier this month. “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.”
Washington currently offers roughly 50 different specialty license plates. There are ones for branches of the military, colleges and universities, sports and professional sports teams. And there are ones for cancer research, law enforcement, wildlife, lighthouses and aviation.
Under the bill, license plates bearing “a symbol or artwork recognizing the cultural significance of Sasquatch in Washington history and folklore” would be sold starting in 2019.
The initial cost would be $40, plus regular fees related to issuance of new plates, with $28 of the total going to Washington State Parks. After the first year, the cost to keep the license plate is $30 in addition to tab renewal fees, with $28 going to the agency.
If approved, it would be the second specialty plate benefiting state parks. The existing one contains an image of the outdoors with a waterfall and lake. Sales and renewals are generating nearly $250,000 a biennium, according to state data.
Daniel Farber, director of policy and governmental affairs for the state agency, testified Monday that the agency welcomed getting help from Bigfoot.
Any effort to provide financial support “is greatly appreciated,” he said. “This is a creative approach to do that.”
At least one lawmaker wants to be sure the hairy humanoid is properly recognized if this becomes law.
“I have evidence of Sasquatch,” Sen. Maralyn Chase, D-Edmonds, told Farber. And if this plate is approved, “I hope you erect a little shrine to Sasquatch.”
Sasquatch is one of several proposals for new specialty plates under consideration this session.
Rep. John Lovick, D-Mill Creek, wants to honor the J.P. Patches show with a Patches pal plate. It would display likenesses of J.P. Patches and another well-known character on the show, Gertrude. Proceeds would support Seattle Children’s Hospital for its Strong Against Cancer program.
There also is a bill for a plate featuring a self-portrait image of John Lennon and the slogan “Imagine” to support programs to end hunger in Washington. And another bill would create a plate with the logo of the National Rifle Association with proceeds going to firearm safety and hunter education programs.
Meanwhile, Rivers is also pushing to get Sasquatch named the official cryptid of Washington. Senate Bill 5816 says the species of cryptid commonly called “Sasquatch” or “Bigfoot”or “Forest Yeti” would be designated as the official cryptid of the state of Washington. A hearing on the bill is set for Friday in the Senate Committee on State Government, Tribal Relations and Elections.