By Joseph Robertia
Tourists are often eager for a lucky glimpse of a bear, moose or caribou while driving around the Kenai Peninsula, and lately, between Kenai and Kasilof, the silhouette of an even more rarely seen species has drivers turning their heads.
Bigfoot is on the highway.
“Everyone else has a salmon or buoy or reflectors. I wanted something more interesting,” said Casey Luecker, who erected a man-size Sasquatch cutout along Kalifornsky Beach Road to serve as his driveway marker and address sign.
At first glance when driving by, the all-black shape could be mistaken for a black bear, but those familiar with the lore surrounding the enigmatic hominid would immediately identify Luecker’s work as the bipedal pose from the famous frame 352 of the 1967 Patterson-Gimlin film, which introduced Bigfoot to the world.
“It’s actually a five-eighths reproduction,” said Luecker, who made the silhouette out of plywood, using a jigsaw and reduced specifications. By some estimates, the creature is anywhere between 6 and 10 feet tall and weighs around 1,000 pounds. Exact dimensions haven’t been confirmed, of course, since Bigfoot is undeniably the grand champion of hide and seek.
Luecker said that he considers himself an amateur cryptozoologist — those who search for animals or creatures that appear in myths and legends, are considered extinct or whose existence is not yet proven.
While generally termed pseudoscience, the International Society for Cryptozoology proved its worth to naysayers in 1901 when member Henry Morton Stanley, while exploring the Congo for a whispered-about species, proved the existence of okapi — a small member of the giraffe family that has stripes like a zebra. The okapi is now intensely managed as an endangered species.
As for Bigfoot, Luecker said he leans toward believing it could exist, concealed deep in the woods, in numbers so low that the species remains elusive.
“I want to believe,” he said. “I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and always liked the Bigfoot lore. I know the likelihood of them existing may be low, but I think it’s important to believe, and fun, too, because it adds wonder to the world.”
While his driveway marker doesn’t prove its source model is real, Luecker said that his cutout has more than adequately served a real use.
“We just moved into this home and, so far, everyone has been able to find it,” he said.
Luecker shares his home with his fiancée, Tessa Borce. She said that she, too, is supportive of the driveway marker, due to her upbringing in Southeast Alaska, which has a mythological creature much like a Sasquatch, but referred to as more of a shape-shifting “Land Otter Man.”
“When he told me the idea I said, ‘Let’s do it.’ I grew up in Sitka, which had the Kushtaka (or Kooshdakhaa), so I was on board with it,” she said.
Her only hesitation with the idea was that since the marker would be so novel, someone might steal it, she said.
“That was my only concern, but it hasn’t happened yet. So, hopefully, no one will take it, since, from the pictures we’ve sent to friends and what we’ve heard from people who’ve visited, everyone seems to enjoy it,” she said.