Every child attending the American public school system learns of the extraordinary journey undertaken by the Corp of Discovery team under the guidance of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. The exploratory steps into the unknown started in 1804 from Camp Dubois at confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers and returned from Fort Clatsop on the mouth of the Columbia River at the Pacific Ocean in 1806. The expedition was put in motion in 1803 by President Thomas Jefferson after negotiating the Louisiana Purchase territory from France.
The land purchase included 812,000 square miles or 512 million acres for a price of $15 million dollars, nearly doubling the size of the United States. The political and cultural ramifications of the purchase and its effect on Native American tribes can be debated, but the economic impact to the United States today makes it one of the greatest land deals in history. The original purchase price of $15 million dollars equates to approximately $320 million adjusted for inflation. The true return on investment for the land and natural resource extraction potential is estimated to be worth well over $1 trillion dollars today.
President Jefferson’s instructions to the thirty three member expedition was to:
1) Determine the existence of a navigable waterway to the Pacific Ocean.
2) Examine the natural resource potential of the land.
3) Evaluate new unknown crop and food sources, and curiously.
4) To document “the animals of the country generally, & especially those not known in the U.S. The remains & accounts of any which may be deemed rare or extinct”. As requested Lewis and Clark kept meticulous journals and had several other members record their observations as well. These journals provided a wealth of knowledge to the public at the time and paint a vivid picture of the unspoiled American West in the early 19th century. Their meticulous attention to detail, discipline and organization provided a roadmap for future exploratory endeavors across the globe.
It is surprising then, that the primary leader and planner, Meriwether Lewis, had significant time gaps in his journal entries at the completion of the expedition. There is a near total void in the Lewis journals from May 14th , 1804 near the start of the expedition until April 7th , 1805 when they left their winter camp at Fort Mandan, North Dakota. The other large gap occurred from August 26, 1805 to January 1, 1806 while traveling over the Continental divide and down the Columbia River in Oregon country. There are numerous theories on the reason for the missing journals. Was Lewis simply lazy and stopped writing? Were the journals lost during an accident on the rivers? Or was there a more sinister, purposeful reason for the lapse in official documentation?
The latter theory is explored by Chuck Geveshausen, and Eric Penz, author of the historical fiction novel, Cryptid: The Lost Legacy of Lewis and Clark during the October 2016 Podcast. The book explores the idea that Lewis did keep meticulous record of his journey but that on their return, it was President Jefferson that omitted the entries and various specimen collections from public record. The premise is that the expedition team had hunted Sasquatch and brought back proof of its existence. Jefferson feared that the public was not yet ready to learn of Sasquatch existence and he worried that commerce and trade in his newly acquired American West would suffer from lack of investment and enthusiasm. The book explores further to suggest that this government censorship and Sasquatch eradication continues today.
It is odd that there is no mention of Sasquatch folklore or legends being passed along to the expedition by the native tribes encountered along the way in any of the journals. The Corp of Discovery passed through and interacted with at least 50 separate tribes and the majority have very similar versions of large, hairy beasts in their cultures. The last half of the route from the Rockies through the Pacific Northwest also has some the highest concentrations of sightings in modern times. The idea that the government may be involved in covering up the existence of Sasquatch may be too far a stretch for some, but one only has to look at other government misinformation acts over the years.
From an article penned by Dr. Jeff Meldrum: “Lewis and Clark wrote in their journals of passing over mountains said to be inhabited by fierce giants, more akin to bears than people, known as the ‘people who wear no moccasins.’ These giants dwelt in caves and among the rocky crags ‘feeding on roots and the flesh of such horses they could take or steal from those who passed through their territory.'”
With continued engagement and presentation of credible scientific observations, we in the private sector can advance necessary changes in perception and create true Sasquatch belief within the public community and demand transparency from government organizations.
Private citizens have made advances in getting Sasquatch existence into acceptance at the legal level as well. In 1969 Skamania County, Washington made it a felony to kill Sasquatch punishable up to $10,000 dollars and five years in prison. The ordinance was subsequently downgraded to a gross misdemeanor in 1984, however it created a one million acre refuge. Whatcom County, Washington also passed a similar refuge bill declaring the entire county a Sasquatch refuge in 1991.
By Kevin Weberling,
Research Writer - Sasquatch Syndicate Inc.