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COUNTY: Barron County
NEAREST TOWN: Rice Lake
OBSERVED: Newspaper article: published November 7, 1997 in the Pioneer Press. (from the AP wire)
[Are Big Footprints Bigfoot's?
RICE LAKE, WIS.
Bigfoot in Wisconsin?
That's the possibility under investigation in the Rice Lake area, about 70 miles northeast of Minneapolis-St. Paul. Brad Mortenson of the U.S. Expedition and Exploration Society said three tracks found Monday could be from the mysterious -- some say mythical -- ape-like creature known as Bigfoot. He describes the tracks as about 16 to 17 1/2 inches long and 8 inches wide at the widest. Asked about the shape, he said: ``It looks like a big foot. It's very distinct.'' One print showed five toes, he said, and the impressions indicated a creature with a stride of about 4 1/2 feet, typical for the Bigfoot.
Mortenson, 41, of Sarona, said he started receiving reports about possible Bigfoot activity after a local newspaper story two weeks ago told about his work with the society, based in Doris, Calif.
``After that we started getting the reports of people across the tracks in the Blue Hills,'' he said.
That's the hilly, wooded region around the Barron County-Rusk County linewhere a preliminary search turned up the tracks this week, he said.
He said he planned to do more preliminary searching, and if enough signs are found, the society would bring in equipment and personnel for a full search.
``I'd like to be a little more certain . . . before I commit the society to the expense of a full-scale expedition,'' he said.
The Bigfoot, or Sasquatch, is said to inhabit remote regions of the Pacific Northwest, but Mortenson said there also have been a lot of sightings in Florida , Ohio and Maine.
He said he became involved searching for Bigfoot in northern California in the 1970s, and he now serves as the society's international director of operations.