Boy Scout leaders may be charged for toppling ancient boulder

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GOBLIN VALLEY STATE PARK, Utah (CNN) — It took nature took millions of years to create what it took Glenn Hall just a few seconds to destroy.

MenToppleRockNow, officials must decide whether toppling a boulder that had long perched gracefully atop a slender rock pedestal in southern Utah’s Goblin Valley State Park was a crime that should be prosecuted.

Three Utah men say the delicate structure posed a threat to visitors, but park officials see it differently — it’s against the law to deface state parks, and now the men face the possibility of hard time.

It was not your garden-variety rock. The boulder was one of thousands of such rocks — shaped like mushrooms and known to locals as goblins — that dot a valley surrounded by a wall of eroded sandstone cliffs.

Last Friday the unique landscape lost one of the sculptures, which were created over the years by windblown dust and moving water.

That’s when, serenaded by his pal David Hall’s a cappella version of the rock song “Wiggle It, Just a Little Bit,” Glenn Taylor wedged his back against another rock, put his legs against the delicate sculpture, and pushed. In a few seconds, the ancient tourist attraction tumbled to the ground.

Hall memorialized the act on video — as well as the laughter and high fives that followed — and then posted the minute-long act to Facebook.

“We have now modified Goblin Valley, a new Goblin Valley exists,” Hall can be heard saying. “That’s crazy that it was held up just by that little bit of dirt. Some little kid was about ready to walk down here and die and Glenn saved his life by getting the boulder out of the way. So it’s all about saving lives here at Goblin Valley. Saving lives. That’s what we’re all about.”

A few days later, Hall told KUTV that the goblin had been unstable. “That wasn’t going to last very long at all,” he told the CNN affiliate. “One gust of wind and a family’s dead.”

Asked if he would do it again, he said, “Absolutely, absolutely.”

“It didn’t look like a stiff wind to me,” said Jeff Rasmussen, the deputy director of Utah State Parks and Recreation, about the video. “Obviously, we’re very concerned and upset that somebody would come and destroy this natural wonder that took millions of years to be formed,” he told KUTV.

In his 22 years on the job, he had not heard of any goblins rolling off their pedestals.

“We thought we were doing a good deed,” Taylor told the affiliate.

But the Emery County attorney or the Utah Attorney General may not agree, said Eugene Swalberg of Utah State Parks.

The men, who were leading a Boy Scout group, “are currently under criminal investigation,” he told CNN. “It gives you a pit in your stomach. There seems to be a lot of happiness and joy with the individuals doing this, and it’s not right. This is not what you do at a natural scenic area.”

Taylor has expressed regrets. “I wish we would have been smart enough to go get a ranger ’cause it was wrong of us to be vigilantes, and I’m sorry I did that,” he told CNN affiliate KSTU.

The video has garnered attention on social media, with more than half a million views on YouTube. “It comes down to this thing taking millions of years to form into what it looks/looked like in the video & these jackballs ruined it in less than a minute for no reason at all except to just f*** around,” said Celtic505.

“This video kinda sums up the human race,” said Drc0ffee. “At the end of the day we all are just like these idiots. Just a bunch of idiots pushing meaningless boulders around for a ‘good’ reason or just for s**** and jiggles.”

“The same type that think it’s cool to spray paint the rocks and cliff faces in our parks,” said hog1775. “Should have a open season on these jack asses. No bag limit.”

But the boulder busters got support, too. “I think it really could be a safety hazard,” said Derryl Skinner.

And it attracted indifference. “It’s a rock,” said Alex Milburn. “Why is everyone freaking out?”

11 comments

  • scotty1111

    Just a bunch of vandals, they weren't carrying spray paint were they? Put them in the slammer, maybe that will teach them some respect for nature (that they're already supposed to have).

  • dpk

    If the park Rangers were doing their JOB they would of noticed this years ago! But then they would have to file a report, submit the report, have research done, a case study done, scope of work to be done, sent to review, denied, then approved, contested in court, sent back to review, you get the picture? In the mean time a family could of been killed! Geez folks, if we treat our soldiers HALF as good as park rocks we have a much better place to live! “It didn’t look like a stiff wind to me,” said Jeff Rasmussen, the deputy director of Utah State Parks and Recreation, about the video. JEFF RASSMUSSEN, get off our payroll and get a job you know something about….. Whew….

  • PQConstituent

    For god's sake… put it back and charge the idiots for the labor time to do so. They weren't acting out of malice, they were just being stupid. Get over it!

  • Wh1teBean

    If the rock was about to topple, get a ranger or if you really want to push it over, don’t make a mockery of it and post your douchebag selves doing so on Facebook. Laughing and high-fiving doesn’t sound like you have much of a concern for safety; especially in the way it describes them dislodging it. Just another sad example of the pathetic human race. If only we didn’t make it so easy for the stupid people to live (and get famous off social media)… I suggest more “survival of the fittest”

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