A major factor inhibiting both the dissemination of sasquatch reports and discussion of the subject is its treatment as a regional monster. We have gotten somewhat used to the monster part, but the regional nature of the issue has perhaps not been sufficiently recognized as a deterrent to serious study.
Reports of regional monsters quickly become items of local folklore and, as such, are treated as unscientific and of merely local interest. Thus we have the skunk ape or swamp monkey of Florida, the brush ape of Missouri, the Fouke monster of southwest Arkansas, and the grassman of Ohio. The list goes on and there are many I don't know about.
I was faced with this situation in 1996 when, writing my book, I came across excellent eyewitness descriptions of the sasquatch gait. The gracefulness of the gait was described by eyewitnesses in different words but all of which added up to the same smooth, graceful, ground-eating, long-striding two-footed walk. What was distressing to me what that one of the best descriptions came not from traditional sasquatch range in the Pacific Northwest, but from Ohio, in the American midwest. At that time I, like many investigators residing and working in "traditional" sasquatch range in the Pacific Northwest, tended to look somewhat askance at midwestern and eastern reports. I had fallen prey to the conditioning that is very prevalent: the sasquatch or bigfoot, if it was accepted at all, was considered to be restricted to the Pacific Northwest. This region is perceived as the only area of North America sufficiently forested and undeveloped to support a population of this species without it's members being commonly observed.
For me it was the accurate descriptions of the sasquatch gait in Ohio reports which started me thinking seriously that observers elsewhere in North America were describing the same animal as that reported more commonly here in the northwest. This led to further research regarding the possibility of widespread distribution of the sasquatch in North America. When I was exposed to some eyewitness drawings based on sightings by eyewitnesses in Ohio and Ontario (Canada), my interest was heightened. The newsletters of Don Keating of Newcomerstown, Ohio also contained some reports which were remarkable for their similarity to reports collected here in western North America.
In 1998, I traveled to Ohio to speak at a bigfoot conference organized by Don Keating and was able to spend some time in the area. During this trip I became convinced of the validity of the plaster casts of tracks collected there. I also could see for myself how a large mammal such as the sasquatch could easily exist in the extensive undeveloped tracts of land rich with potential food in the form of squirrels, rabbits, grouse, wild turkeys, etc in addition to the rich vegetation of the area.
Also in 1998, I visited investigators Wayne King and Art Cappa in Michigan.and was similarly impressed with their material and reports. These investigators had convincing reports and track casts which were consistent with material from the west. Art Cappa in particular had cast a number of sasquatch tracks from Michigan and Indiana and kindly allowed me to photograph them.
Photographs and casts of sasquatch tracks from the American midwest (Michigan) and central and eastern Canada(Manitoba and Ontario), and southern US (eastern Texas) appear on the Tracks page. Eyewitness drawings from Ohio, Manitoba, and Ontario (see Sightings) show remaekable consistency with those from British Columbia, Washington, and Alberta.
Around this time I began following up sasquatch reports in Ontario (the province in which I grew up, and continue to visit at least once a year). I was able to photograph the excellent cast made by a high school student in June, 1977. This cast illustrates an anatomical feature of the sasquatch foot occasionally observed by others. This is the relatively straight line across the base of the toes, a situation which differs from the human foot in which this line slopes towards the little toe at the outside of the foot. (This feature shows up the track cast in Texas by researcher Rand Trusty.)
In 1998 I visited northern Manitoba where I heard sasquatch reports firsthand from several eyewitnesses. In the spring of 2001, I spent 2 weeks in Manitoba and heard an additional 26 reports.
In 2001, I was invited to address the first Conference hosted by the Texas Bigfoot Society. It was held in Jefferson, in northeast Texas. My wife, Joan, and I spent most of September touring western, southwestern and south central US as part of the travel to and from the conference.
Whereas many people see the extensive coniferous forests of the Pacific Northwest as great wildlife habitat, I, as a wildlife biologist, am aware that the richest wildlife habitats in this region are the small pockets of deciduous forest. Recognizing the much higher value of deciduous forest as wildlife habitat, I have less trouble accepting the presence of sasquatches in Central and eastern Canada, and the midwestern, eastern and southern US. Home ranges for a large mammal in such habitat would likely be smaller than that required in the less productive coniferous forests of the Pacific Northwest. (Having said that, there is one area of the Pacific Northwest that is very productive indeed. That is the coast with its rich shellfish resources.)
In 2000, I spent several days recording sasquatch reports by state and county from John Green's files. I subsequently mapped these reports to get a continental picture of the distribution of reports. I am currently attempting to publish the results. Despite shortcomings in the data, they show a number of things.