June 19, 2001
PEAWANUCK, Ontario, Canada. (CP) -- Footprints indicating a creature with a two-metre stride have some northern Ontario residents speculating the elusive Bigfoot may have moved in with the region's black bears and howling wolves.
Footprints measuring 35-centimetres long and 12-cm wide have been spotted in this farflung aboriginal community on the south shore of Hudson's Bay, and the chief of the Weenusk First Nation has only one explanation: Bigfoot.
"It's definitely not a bear," Abraham Hunter said firmly.
"I looked at them. They were six feet (two metres) apart, walking."
News of the prints, first spotted June 9 by a band member riding a four-wheeler through the bush, soon spread through the community of 250 and the hunt was on for the mythical ape-like beast.
But in a region where wild hairy beasts are expected, the fascination didn't last long.
"There was curiosity, people going out there for about three days," Hunter said.
"Then the novelty wore off."
The tracks were alarming enough to draw the curiousity of officials with the Natural Resources ministry, who arrived June 14 to investigate and record the images of the footprints.
"We were surprised," said ministry official Brett Kelly, who admitted no one could explain what caused the tracks.
But even if it is the fabled Sasquatch, which legend says stands seven feet tall and has long hairy arms, a short neck and flat face, Kelly said it's unlikely it would endanger the community.
Kelly said the reserve is located on Polar Bear Provincial Park -- the largest wilderness park in Ontario with a small human population.
Chances of humans actually encountering the sasquatch are very small.
"We'll wait for more information before we do anything," he said.
To date, there have been 16 reported sightings of a Bigfoot in Ontario.
At least one resides near the Weenusk First Nation, says Hunter, who recalls a resident spotting the beast decades ago.
"About 20 years ago there was a sighting in our community," Hunter said. "But none have been seen since."
Kelly encouraged people to take advantage of a free admission day at provincial parks planned for June 24 to investigate for themselves.
"This Sunday in Ontario entry into all provincial parks is free, so people can go find it themselves," he said.
In the meanwhile, Weenusk residents are simply going about their lives.
"We're getting back to fishing and hunting," Hunter said.
"Things here are normal."
© Cnews, Canada
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