By ALEXANDRA LEHNERT, KMPH
CRESTLINE, Calif. (KMPH) - Claudia Ackley says enough is enough.
She spent a good chunk of her life not believing in Bigfoot -- until she had a sighting. Then she says she had a few more.
The latest happened in March 2017. She was hiking with her daughters near Lake Arrowhead, when her youngest daughter stopped dead in her tracks. It didn't take Ackley long to find out why.
“I had bear spray in my hand and when that happened, I told my daughters, 'Just slowly turn around and do not panic, do not run.' And we slowly turned around and walked away," said Ackley.
She and her daughters say they came face to face with Bigfoot. Three of them.
When she called park services, Ackley says they didn't believe her. She says they told her what she saw must have been a bear.
Claudia Ackley says she was on a hike with her daughters near Lake Arrowhead when she says they came face to face with Bigfoot. She says park officials told her it must have been a bear. Now Claudia is suing Fish and Wildlife for not acknowledging Bigfoot’s existence. pic.twitter.com/3GFslcjlWh— Alex Lehnert KMPH (@AlexLehnertKMPH) February 19, 2018
“I just felt ashamed at that point. I just felt, why? I need to do something. This is not right,” said Ackley.
So, she filed a lawsuit against the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the state Natural Resources Agency.
She says they have been careless in their duty by not acknowledging the existence of the Bigfoot species.
"We all go out in the woods. We all go hiking, camping, hunting. We know that we might run into a bear, a snake, we know that. We are aware, so we have the choice to go out there. Let’s tell them the whole truth and let’s say there’s Sasquatch out there. There’s the possibility something could happen to you as well. Let the people have the choice to make their own choice, whether they want to encounter one," said Ackley.
She is not alone. Sanger Paranormal Society's Jeffrey Gonzales says he's spoken with her.
"People who are witnessing these creatures are normal people. People who don’t want to be on TV, who have regular lives, who take their kids to school, who work 8 (a.m.) to 5 (p.m.), but have witnessed something that is not normal, and finally have someone to call and talk to about this," said Gonzales.
He has been studying the species for years and believes it's time something like this happens.
As for Ackley, she says since the filing, life hasn't been easy.
"This has been really hard on me and my family. But I am glad that my daughter can see that when their mom believes in something, she will fight for what is right. I'm not alone There are a lot of people that are supporting me. But I am standing alone, doing this. But I'm saying we need help. Let’s do something about this. It's time," said Ackley.
Her first day in court will be March 19.