It’s tough protecting nature reserves, state parks and the like these days with government officials seeming to be more interested in the money to be made than the species these areas are home to. That challenge is doubly tough when the species losing its home is Bigfoot. Nonetheless, a conservation group in North Carolina managed to save a rare South Appalachian Mountain bog, the area around it and the places in it that Bigfoot may call home.
“Southern Appalachian mountain bogs are rare and contain vulnerable ecosystems. At the highest elevations in Burke County, Jonas Ridge Bog is habitat to unique species of plants, animals, and insects. The bog is also home to cranberries, a species typically associated with New England, and, in North Carolina, it is a threatened species as defined by the N.C. Natural Heritage Program.”
According to the Nature Conservancy, there were once 5,000 acres of bogs in North Carolina, making it one of the marshiest states in the union, but today there’s less that 500 acres due to development and drainage. Three are protected by state parks -- Pineola Bog, Beech Creek Bog, and Sugar Mountain Bog – but the Jonas Ridge Bog was on private property belonging to Hazel Shell. She sold the 17-acre bog to the Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina, which received its funding from the Clabough Foundation, North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund, and a private donor. These acidic, nutrient-poor bogs cater to a very specific group of species of plants, insects and animals.
The story of the Jonas Ridge Bog was distributed by McClatchy News, which interviewed a representative of Bigfoot 911, a local cryptid research group and host of the annual WNC Bigfoot Festival (held this year on September 18-19). According to the group, there have been eight Bigfoot sightings “from around the Jonas Ridge area of Burke County” in the past five years. North Carolina is a hotbed of Bigfoot sightings, so this comes as no surprise. However, it’s interesting that Bigfoot would like a bog … although the Skunk Ape versions are said to be partial to southern swamps. Perhaps it’s their remoteness and lack of humans.
Or perhaps it’s the land itself?
Burke County is also home to the mysterious Brown Mountain Lights, the ghost lights witnessed by countless people, from Native Americans to Civil War soldiers to current tourists who heard about them on paranormal sites or on The X-Files or in the bluegrass song of the same name. Are they linked to Bigfoot … perhaps some sort of warning signal? Or maybe they’re the Bigfoot equivalent of a porch light. The good news is, at least now Sasquatch will have a protected bog to watch them from.
Whatever the reason, conservation of natural resources and native species is always a good idea.