Friday Report: A monstrous tourist draw |

Friday Report: A monstrous tourist draw

Jon de Vos
Friday Report
Jon DeVos
Staff Photo |

Hats off to governor Hickenlooper for keeping Rocky Mountain National Park open. About time somebody thought things through; unlike our Congressmen and women who are out protesting the closures of the very museums, parks and monuments they’re responsible for closing. If that doesn’t beat all, the next topic probably will.

I think, here in Grand County, we have a vast untapped resource in Cryptozoology, the study and science of imaginary creatures. Scotland has Loch Ness, several American states claim Sasquatch or Big Foot and Colorado has John Denver. Wait, that’s not right, he was real. But the fact that John Denver actually existed only underscores Colorado’s lack of cryptids, which are, of course, imaginary beasts often so ferocious in fame and fable as to defy imagination. Nonetheless, tourists are willing to pay big money for the chance to see cryptids, despite the fact that they are made-up animals that don’t exist.

YouTube is filled with out-of-focus, distant shots of Ski-Doo rooster tails as documentary proof that “something weird is out there.” In addition to Nessie, Wikipedia lists over 102 lake monsters throughout the world and tellingly, not one is in Colorado, begging the question, “Why not Grand Lake?” Why hasn’t the chamber of commerce tied a bunch of inner tubes together and drug them around the lake? A 12-second blurry video of it could fill the motels this weekend.

For that matter, why hasn’t someone sighted a 9-foot-tall, imaginary creature hiding behind a tree at the ski area? Why hasn’t somebody snapped a fuzzy picture of a giant ape-like creature dashing across Highway 40 in the dark? It would draw Cryptotourists by the bus load.

First we should look at how not to do it. Last year in Flathead County, Montana, a guy was trying to drum up Big Foot tourism and started hopping around on a foggy highway in a dark shaggy costume. Trouble was, he couldn’t see well enough out of the shifting eyeholes and two terrified teens ran him down, the first one knocked him over and the second one squashed him flat. Investigators said alcohol may have been a factor.

More to my point, back in 2004, a guy named Tom Biscardi tried to raise 1.5 million dollars to foot the Big Foot bill for an expedition near Mount Shasta where he’d discovered a valley that was home to 500 Big Feet along with one very, very rare albino Foot. I guess it was on the smallish side and couldn’t truthfully be described as “big.” The expedition never materialized because only half the money got raised, but get this, that money that was lavishly and quickly spent planning the next fundraising event for the next big expedition.

There’s a monster named “Champ” that is said to lurk in Lake Champlain, on the border between Vermont and New York. He (she) has been seen by hundreds over the years. He’s said to be somewhere between 20 and 80 feet long, with a twisting serpentine body and the head of a dog, probably a Chihuahua. P.T. Barnum spent a long, unsuccessful hunt for Champ, and Unsolved Mysteries was disappointed to announce they couldn’t find a link between Champ and Jimmie Hoffa. So certain are they of Champ’s existence, both the New York Assembly and the Vermont Legislature have extended protected status to Champ. Who says our politicians don’t look out for our best interests?

OMG! I just saw a huge John Denver lookalike with giant horns swimming around the bottom of Grand Lake! Pass it on.

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