Some Pennsylvania state parks occasionally may urge campers to follow bear country etiquette like storing food in locked vehicles.
But no Pennsylvania state parks has ever issued a call for “elevated park etiquette” because of Bigfoot.
Posters warning of Bigfoot sightings in some parks and calling for a heightened level of caution are a pure hoax being perpetuated by unknown actors, according to Wesley Robinson, press secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, which administers state parks.
“These signs were not posted by DCNR,” he said. “We have seen them at parks for months and they are removed when they are reported or found by staff because they have not been authorized.
“We have seen them at many parks, but I don’t have a number for how many parks where the signs had been posted.”
He added, “Bigfoot is not real.”
The poster, printed on faked DCNR letterhead, reads, “Warning! Due to encounters in the area of a creature resembling ‘Bigfoot,’ we are instructing all park visitors to observe elevated park etiquette, be cautious of your surroundings, and to keep the location the location of any small children/pets within a tighter scope of awareness.
“Do not approach the creature!
“Report any sightings to a ranger, front office or to the DCNR Office of Missing Persons.
“Do not post sightings on social media.”
The poster includes a Spanish version of the same message.
In addition to not having any confirmed Bigfoot reports, DCNR also does not have an Office of Missing Persons.
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As the hoaxer probably intended, photos and discussions of the posters have been appearing on many social media channels for months.
It has come up so many times on the Facebook group of the Pennsylvania Bigfoot Project that Mary Fabian, founder of the PBP and administrator of the Facebook group, has posted a photo of the poster with “Hoax” scrolled across it.
“This is what damages the work that we do. Any type of hoax,” explained Fabian. “We must bring out the truth. We work with facts and science.
“This makes fun of us just by the fact of it being fake.
“There is no header, no footer, no signature or legislative reference. It screams ‘Hoax.’ and minimizes all that we do to maintain credibility in the public eye.”
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Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch, has been reported more than 500 times across Pennsylvania, according to Squatchermetrics, which maintains a database of more than 6,500 reports across North America.
That’s a lot less than the 23,000 reports in the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization database, an analysis of which by the Travel Channel determined that Pennsylvania is the No. 3 state for reported Bigfoot sightings. That analysis found 2,032 reported sightings in Washington, 1,697 in California and 1,340 in Pennsylvania.
Bigfoot is the most well-known cryptid, which is a creature believed to exist by cryptozoologists but not by mainstream science. Evidence for the existence of cryptids consists primarily of anecdotal claims of sightings, blurry photos and videos, undocumented audio recordings, casts of footprints and alleged evidence on the landscape.
Hoaxes surface regularly in cryptozoology, but thousands of enthusiasts pursue proof with sincere passion and belief.
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