John Bindernagel always encouraged individuals to share stories or reports of sasquatch encounters with him. Photo submitted.

Renowned Comox Valley sasquatch researcher passes away

A renowned biologist and leading Canadian sasquatch researcher who called the Comox Valley home has died.

Dr. John Bindernagel, 76, passed away Jan. 17 after a two year battle with cancer.

A wildlife biologist since 1963, Bindernagel grew up in Ontario and moved to B.C. in 1975, largely due to the high number of reported sasquatch sightings.

Bindernagel worked in the Serengeti in Africa and travelled throughout the Middle East and the Caribbean.

Over the years, he dedicated much of his life to studying the sasquatch in North America.

In 1988, he and his wife found several sasquatch tracks in good condition on Vancouver Island. He made plaster casts from the tracks, which he noted provided the first physical evidence for the existence of the sasquatch.

John Bindernagel engaged in scientific research in Africa. Photo submitted.

“I am satisfied that the sasquatch is an extent (or ‘real’) animal, subject to study and examination like any other large mammal,” he wrote. “I remain aware, however, that many people – including scientific colleagues – remain unaware of the information that exists about this species.”

Bindernagel’s son Chris – who lives in Courtenay – said his father was important within the scientific community because he was pushing the boundaries in terms of trying to get acceptability in mainstream science.

“(He had a) really lively curiosity and engagement for what was around him in the natural world. That was really an inspiration to me,” he explained.

“(His frustration) was really the focus of his work in the last few years especially. Not trying to convince the scientific community at large necessarily, but trying to get them to consider the evidence in a proper fashion, to seriously look and see what was available, not just dismiss it out of hand.”

He noted one of the highlights growing up with his dad was his resurgence of interest in the sasquatch during a field trip in Strathcona Park, where he accidentally ran across tracks.

“It was a balance – as I learned more about it, I realized some of this are hoaxes and pranks, but there’s a core of really good evidence that was really convincing to me as well,” said Chris.

“He has a good way of connecting with people and was really interested in people and wanted to share what he was doing, and somehow try to give it some kind of credibility and he felt like he was in that role because he had that background in traditional science.”

Hugh MacKinnon, Comox councillor and former high school administrator, said he first met Bindernagel while working at G.P. Vanier, and brought him in as a speaker to a biology class.

“We really hit it off; he was a real gentleman – just the nicest man. He stuck to his beliefs and was using science to do so. He had time to listen to everyone.”

Bindernagel worked closely with members of First Nations communities on the Island, and MacKinnon noted he “gave credence to traditions and beliefs and encouraged people to speak about it. He made the First Nations communities feel comfortable and validated their beliefs and history.

“John in a nutshell never made you feel out of place.”

Thomas Sewed, researcher and administrator for the Sasquatch Island Facebook group recalled meeting Bindernagel in the early 1990’s after witnessing two sasquatches near Knight Inlet.

“I went to see him and our friendship was created and grew stronger,” he explained in a phone interview from Washington State.

He said Bindernagel encouraged him to draw upon his First Nation heritage when discussing the possibility the creatures could exist.

“He said ‘Tom – you know so much about Potlatches, so much about much about your culture; you have got to look deeper and connect the dots.’ ”

Sewed is planning to organize a John Bindernagel Sasquatch Memorial Conference at a Big House on the Island in his honour, with the hopes of bringing together researchers, scientists, dancers, carvers and singers.

Just Posted

Comox Valley medical cannabis business growing despite impending legalization

With nearly a month to go until new cannabis legalization laws come… Continue reading

Humpback whales visit Cape Lazo

Peter Hamilton with Lifeforce Ocean Friends snapped these photos of some humpback… Continue reading

Valley Father-daughter duo share a special bond over a kidney

Annual kidney walk is set for Sept. 23 at Simms Park

Stolen Victoria vehicle crashes in Black Creek

On Sept. 15, 2018 at approximately 10:45 p.m., the Comox Valley RCMP… Continue reading

VIDEO: Messages of hope, encouragement line bars of B.C. bridge

WARNING: This story contains references to suicide and may not be appropriate for all audiences.

The longest week: Carolinas worn out by Florence

Frustration and sheer exhaustion are building as thousands of people wait to go home seven days after the storm began battering the coast.

Vancouver councillors move ahead with policy for duplexes on detached home lots

Mayor Gregor Robertson says the decision is another step toward adding homes in the city for the so-called “missing middle.”

Canada’s goal is to play in a medal game at World Cup in Spain

The 2014 women’s world basketball championships were a coming out party for Canada.

World Anti-Doping Agency reinstates Russia

There was no mention of Russia publicly accepting a state-sponsored conspiracy to help its athletes win Olympic medals by doping.

Prolific offender arrested in Nanaimo after sleeping in stolen car

Jackson Filgate, 34, of Nanaimo, faces stolen property, drug charges after being arrested Sept. 18

Nanaimo’s Tilray pot stock continues rising, firm now worth more than $21 billion US

The B.C. company’s shares have risen more than 1,000 % since its initial public offering in July

Fresh-faced Flames fend off Canucks 4-1

Vancouver drops second straight NHL exhibition contest

Most Read