Family of Sasquatch Campaigns for Discover Pass

Aug 13, 2013

Sasquatch sightings are old news. But I bet you've never seen a Sasquatch family hula-hoop before.

Meet the family. Standing at 9 feet 2 inches, Papa Squatch likes fishing, spending time with his family and cutoff shorts. Mama Squatch aspired to have her own show about "found foods" on HGTV and enjoys cleaning up the trails. And Lil' Squatch likes to eat road-kill burgers and hopes to someday meet Smokey Bear.

The family is part of the state's campaign for the Discover Pass. The Washington Department of Natural Resources received a $5,000 state grant to educate people on state recreation rules. That money went toward TV ads that show Sasquatch family buying a Discover Pass. 

Since state DNR no longer receives tax revenue, it now relies on money from the pass. It costs $30 for the annual and $10 for the one-day pass, which allows access to more than 100 state parks and 2,000 miles of trails. Diana Lofflin, DNR communications manager, said the campaign is specifically targeting out-of-state visitors, often from Oregon. 

Lofflin said her team came up with the idea of using Sasquatch "as a friendly Northwest figure that people in Portland could relate to and that people in Washington could relate to."

"We had a really tight budget to try to make a really big impact," she said. "We're trying to do something innovative that grabs people's attention."

The Sasquatch family is Jessica Payne, DNR recreation communications and outreach coordinator, her husband Dan Payne, and their 6-year-old nephew, Justin Allison.

"It's been an interesting experience to say the least," said Dan Payne, Papa Squatch. "My wife was the sasquatch mom, and my nephew was the sasquatch kid, so it was fun to hang out ... albeit hot and uncomfortable."

But Payne said he believed in the cause and cared about getting people to understand the Discover Pass better.

"People don't like to pay for things they don't understand," he said. "It's been an upward struggle to get everybody on board."

The campaign had a lot of volunteers, including a volunteer who handcrafted the family's costumes, as well as the Sasquatches themselves. 

"They were really good sports," Lofflin said. "It's hot to hang out in those costumes every day."