Opinion: The Legend of Felton’s Bigfoot Discovery Museum

Plus letters to the editor

The 200-pound carved-wood statue outside the Bigfoot Discovery Museum made national news last month when it was stolen and then discovered the next day on Glen Canyon Road by Scotts Valley police. PHOTO: TARMO HANNULA

Editor's Note

Steve Palopoli Profile Photo

 We got a lot of response about our cover story last week investigating problems at the Santa Cruz Jail. And over the last several weeks we’ve been diligently covering the rapidly shifting changes in the county’s Covid-19 crisis, as well as the aftermath of the CZU Lightning Complex fire and the beginning of the recovery effort. Not to mention the latest developments in the rail-trail debate and the push for affordable housing.

And yet, I know some readers will look at this massive body of work and say, “Okay, but when are you going to get to the really important issues, like Bigfoot?”  

Because this is Santa Cruz, I’m only half-kidding.

Indeed, one of our missions here at GT is to explore those culty corners of local culture that make Santa Cruz what it is. Though I’m a diehard skeptic myself, I have been fascinated with Sasquatch since I was a kid, but my devotion to the legend can’t hold a candle to the author of this week’s cover story, Jennifer Otter Bickerdike. She threw herself into the legend of Felton’s Bigfoot Discovery Museum, and discovered it’s every bit as interesting as the mythical creature itself. Her story is personal and funny and enlightening—even to a skeptic.

I also want to remind you to check out our website for stories that go beyond even what we can do in the print edition of the paper. For instance, Jacob Pierce has an interview with UCSC Chancellor Cindy Larive that provides some insight about the state of distance learning there, as well as the possible future of on-campus development.

Finally, a Santa Cruz Gives update: We have passed the half-million-dollar mark in this year’s campaign. Incredible! We are closing in on our goal for the year. Please go to to donate to our local nonprofits! 


Letters to the Editor

Embarrassing and Shameful

Re: “Safe Spaces” (GT, 11/25): We are soooo cool here in Santa Cruz. We’re so damn progressive, unlike those other places. We care about the environment. We care about nuclear disarmament (remember that?). We care about racism. There is one thing that we don’t seem to care about though: our neighbors. Yep. There are lots of people in this town who can’t afford housing and scramble for a safe place to sleep at night. Yes, at night (is it still illegal?)—when humans are hard-wired to sleep, and when we really don’t want desperate and sleep-deprived people walking the streets anyway. It’s embarrassing. It’s shameful. And it’s just plain wrong! We need to support any and all proposals to provide shelter for our fellow citizens, for our neighbors. The bare minimum is a safe place to sleep, but how about just a few cubic feet of storage so they don’t have to cart their meager belongings around so that they don’t get “liberated?” Or, even better, still on the basic survival level: a place to be that’s their own. One of the hardships of homelessness is not having a place you belong. Everywhere you go, you’re a guest or visitor. It’s one of the top hardships of being without housing. Hey there, city council members and county supes. Just sayin.’

Lonna Speer | Santa Cruz



Re: Jail Troubles

How does a situation like either of these happen? German Carrillo’s story reminds me of Kalief Browder. I think we have a good Sheriff’s department, but these stories are disturbing and clearly there are some problems that need to be addressed.

How does one stay in jail 6 years pretrial? I didn’t even know that was a thing.



Don’t you think Law Enforcement has been through enough this year without our local paper ragging on them, too? This article is incredibly disappointing.

— Jane Doe


Jane, did you even read the article? And, honestly, really Jane?

— John Doe


Re: Rail Trail

Both our branch lines (Monterey and Santa Cruz) were built at the same time circa 1880. The difference is after a hundred years, Monterey had enough intelligence to repurpose their dilapidated track into a community resource. We haven’t even completed one mile of trail! Train people want you to think that we are passenger-service ready. In reality, we have 140-year-old infrastructure with freight grade (5MPH) single track running over old timber trestles like the one in Capitola. The Capitola timber trestle is a historical landmark. That one + 20 others would have to be replaced with modern concrete and steel bridges. That’s killing our history for a very expensive transportation experiment. We should be celebrating our rail heritage with a world class Greenway over our existing infrastructure. Let’s celebrate it with plaques on pullouts along the path with historical photos and info showing users how folks got around in the horse and buggy era.

— Ted Lorek 

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