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Killing Bigfoot or people dressed as the putative apelike creature would be a felony under a proposal expected to be approved by the Whatcom County Council.

The council's health committee passed a resolution Tuesday night to protect the legendary beast. The council may take final action on the proposal next Tuesday.The Mount Baker Foothills Chamber of Commerce requested the measure to ensure the safety of any hairy beasts that might show up for its first Bigfoot festival on June 21-23.

The festival will have an official costumed Bigfoot, and others may be dressed to resemble the legendary apelike creatures some believe roam the wilds of North America.

"It could be easy for someone who didn't know what was going on to decide here (a costumed Bigfoot) is something they need defense against," said Al Magnuson, chamber vice president for promotion. "This Bigfoot might be walking down the street."

Event organizers have not planned a search for the creature, although as recently as three or four years ago a Bigfoot was reportedly sighted on the Nooksack River by two Lummi Indians, Magnuson said.