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Geographical Index > United States > Michigan > Emmet County > Article # 587

Media Article # 587


Friday, October 30, 2009

Bigfoot: Legend or ...

By Marci Singer
Petoskeynews.com


When Ron Kostrubiec visited Wilderness State Park with his family at the end of July, he got more than he bargained for.

Riding his mountain bike along Swamp Line Trail at approximately 6:30 p.m. on July 29, the 41-year-old Macomb Township man was enjoying the earthy smells of nature. Two miles or so into his ride, he turned east toward the Nebo Trail, delighting in deep breaths of pine and damp earth - that is until he reached a "wall."

"I was about three quarters of the way to the Nebo Trail when I ran into the thickest wall of live human body odor that you could ever imagine," he said. "It sent chills up my spine and my hair stood up. It scared me so much, I peddled as fast as I could out of there."

Kostrubiec got back to camp and told everyone about his experience. The next morning, he spoke with rangers but no one could give him an answer about what he smelled. So that evening he went back to the same spot at roughly same time.

"This time I was on full alert. I put my nose in the air and looked around as much as I could but I never smelled it again. That tells me something was there. And I truly believe what ever was there watched me go by," he said.

Not only did he go back to the spot once, but every night until he and his family left. Although he never smelled it again, on one of his "missions," something else happened. While walking down a snowmobile trail by O'Neal and Lawrence lakes, while listening to the wind blowing through the trees, he heard something.

"I was listening to the sounds of nature when all of a sudden from the direction of the smell encounter I heard three faint taps like two pieces of wood being hit together, then a slight pause, then one more and then back to the sounds of nature," he said.

After listening to people talk about Bigfoot, Kostrubiec thinks this is what he may have encountered - and he's not the only one. Shortly after his first encounter, Kostrubiec's 9-year-old son, Anthony, said a young boy by the name of Jack had a similar experience.

"Jack smelled really bad body odor too right behind the campground around the same day as my encounter," Kostrubiec said. "He was riding his bike along a powerline trail when he said he ran into the smell. He said it really scared him and he got out of there and went back to his camper."

The story doesn't end there. On one of the last days of their trip, Kostrubiec, along with his wife, Gina, their three sons, Anthony, Mikey, 7, and Joey, 5, and his mother and father-in-law, took a bike ride on Wilderness Road to a large glacier boulder marked by the Department of Natural Resources.

As the kids were playing on the rock with his wife and mother-in-law, Kostrubiec and his father-in-law walked through the woods when they came upon unusual markings in the ground.

"To understand these markings, picture the ground being a thick thatch layer of pine needles and to really make a mark in them you would really have to kick the ground in a forward motion to even really attempt to get to the dirt below," Kostrubiec said. "But there were these marks that went back into the woods that looked as if you would have gotten on your knees and punched the ground to push the needles forward and expose the dirt below."

The men followed the marks into the woods toward the road where they seemed to stop at the base of a fallen tree. As Kostrubiec looked around, he noticed a footprint.

"Because of the pine needle floor it was more of a impression like you would see in your carpet after vacuuming," he said.

He called for everyone and directed them to come to him without stepping on the trail. When everyone was there, he grabbed a small stick and traced out the footprint.

"It was a right foot print about 16 inches long and really wide," he said. "You could make it out perfectly with a little rise of dirt between the little and next toe. Everyone saw it."

He traced it out a couple more times, all the while not believing what he was seeing.

"Not even thinking of Bigfoot when going out there, my mind and senses seemed overwhelmed," he said.

With no camera, everyone went back to camp.

Since the trip, Kostrubiec has spoken with the Mackinaw City Police, as well as with the State Police in Petoskey. Chief Patrick Wyman with the Mackinaw City Police and Sergeant Jerry Briolat with the State Police Post in Petoskey said neither posts have ever received any report of suspicious Bigfoot activity.

"We've had reports of suspicious activity in the area but nothing related to Bigfoot," Briolat said.

The Department of Natural Resources Law Division also has not received any reports of that nature in the area or any other area in Northern Michigan according to Lt. Daniel Hopkins.

"The reports of activity we've received are cougar or wolf related - nothing Bigfoot," Hopkins said.

Kostrubiec said all of the researchers he's spoken with from the Michigan Bigfoot Organization and the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization said what he encountered in the woods could have been Bigfoot.

Matt Moneymaker, president of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization said, with absolute certainly, Bigfoot creatures exist in some places in North America, but they are not everywhere.

"Reports have been consistent in the last 11 years since reports began to be collected through the Internet," Moneymaker said. "The same kinds of animals are present and that indicates there may be a relatively sizable population."

With several handfuls of reports in both peninsulas every year, Moneymaker said the Great Lakes has a history of Bigfoot sightings dating back to early Native American times. With respect to Kostrubiec's encounter, Moneymaker said there were characteristics that would make it possible that it was a Bigfoot but it's not definitive.

"For all the time I have spent in the woods fishing and hunting in the Upper and Lower Peninsulas seeing bear, deer and other wildlife, I never had these experiences before," Kostrubiec said. "It was a Bigfoot encounter as for the footprint. There is no mistaking that. I truly believe in the events and I definitely think there is something going on up there."

Some other creatures that some people believe may be in area forests, but there is no conclusive proof:

- According to the Michigan Citizens for Cougar Recognition Web site, there have been 74 sightings of cougars in Emmet County from 1990-2009. Mary Dettloff, public information officer with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, said although there are lots of alleged sightings, there have been only two cougars verified by scat, tracks and other biological evidence in the western half of the Upper Peninsula. Dettloff said there's no established evidence of breeding populations of cougars in Northern Michigan.

- According to Dettloff, one wolverine was found in the thumb area of Michigan four years ago. Dettloff said a possible theory is that the creature came in on a Canadian garbage truck.

- Dettloff said there are more than 500 wolves in the Upper Peninsula. A wolf was trapped in Presque Isle County three years ago, however there's been no biological data of wolves in the Lower Peninsula since then.


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