Consider adding this to your list of “must-sees” at Yellowstone National Park: Bigfoot. That’s what a four-person film crew scheduled to spend up to 10 weeks in the park this summer will be hunting for, all in the hope of getting some “Footage” for a new reality TV show, “Yellowstone Bigfoot Hunt,” set to debut this fall on the Adventure Channel.
Although the film crew has gone through all of the necessary hoops and acquired the correct permit, the decision to allow the team into the park has been met with praise as well as criticism. On one hand, raising awareness about the beauty of Yellowstone is likely to bring in more tourists, which is great for the park and local gateway towns.
Is Approval for Filming a Good Idea?
“So long as the production doesn’t interfere with normal park operations and abides by the terms and conditions of the permit, they will be allowed to tape segments about Bigfoot—or any other-size-footed animals they might find here,” Yellowstone spokesman Stan Thatch told Yellowstone Gate.
Under the permit, the filming for “Yellowstone Bigfoot Hunt” is considered a commercial film shoot. Its conditions require that the production company pay $150 per day (based on the crew size) as a location fee. Any time filming takes place near thermal features, along roadsides or at other sensitive sites, one Yellowstone park staff member will accompany the crew at a rate of $65 per hour.
“These people are trained Hollywood professionals,” Wyoming Rep. Teetrick Huddleton, a Republican from Cody, said. “I have every confidence that they’ll treat Yellowstone with respect. The park has to be open to many uses, and this is a legitimate deal here. I see no reason to exclude them.”
Critics, however, argue that the show will make a mockery of the park and species within it that actually need protection. Sharm Dresden, wildlife policy specialist for the Friends of Yellowstone Alliance, is among those reprimanding the permit.
“This flies in the face of the educational and interpretive mission the Park Service is supposed to be carrying out. We wouldn’t allow a crew to film a ‘Leprechaun Search’ show at the Lincoln Memorial, so why is this being permitted?” she said.
To date, the National Park Service isn’t aware of any reported Bigfoot sightings in Yellowstone
“We do track things like reports of wolves with sarcoptic mange, for instance. Our biologists want to stay on top of that. But there is no cryptozoologist on staff at Yellowstone, so we don’t keep up with Yetis, dragons or mermaids,” Thatch said.