Video: Outrage as scouts topple Jurassic era rock formation

Men claimed they were making park safer by knocking over 170-million-year-old boulder

A screengrab from a Youtube video showing the scouts pushing over a boulder in a Utah State Park. Image: Youtube

A screengrab from a Youtube video showing the scouts pushing over a boulder in a Utah State Park. Image: Youtube

Sat, Oct 19, 2013, 10:46

An online video of two Boy Scouts of America leaders knocking over a 170-million-year-old rock formation in a Utah State Park has prompted worldwide anger, state officials said last night.

The two men involved may face charges.

A video posted on YouTube shows scout leader, identified as Glenn Taylor dislodging a massive rock from a tiny perch in Goblin Valley State Park as Dave Hall films him while singing and laughing.

Video

“We, we have now modified Goblin Valley!” Mr Hall shouts into the camera. “A new Goblin Valley exists with this boulder down here at the bottom!”

The men add that because of the precarious way the rock been balanced they have made the park safer.

The rock formation, known as a “goblin,” dates to the late Jurassic era and is one of many that give the desert park a surreal appearance that draws visitors from around the world.

The video has been viewed more than 1.4 million times since it was uploaded to YouTube by the Salt Lake Tribune newspaper on Thursday.

Fred Hayes, Utah State Parks director, said his office has been inundated with angry calls and emails.

“From literally from around the world,” Mr Hayes said. “Folks who have either been there (to Goblin Valley State Park) or even just seen pictures of it. The Southwestern desert has a lot of appeal for a lot of people and they are just outraged.”

Mr Hayes said authorities first became aware of the video when a visitor posted a link to it on the state parks website, asking if such activity was legal.

Prosecutors in Emery County will determine if charges would be filed, he said.

The two scout leaders told the Deseret News newspaper that they toppled the boulder because they thought it posed a danger to children who might be walking by - an explanation that the state parks director greeted with some skepticism.

“Neither one of us were out there intending to do illegal activity,” Mr Hall said. “It just made sense to us at the time -remove the danger so that we don’t have to hear about somebody dying.”

State parks director Mr Hayes said park rangers walked through the valley daily and had never considered the boulder to be a danger, noting that it took considerable effort for Taylor to shove it over.

A Boy Scouts of America spokesman said the organization was also reviewing the matter and would take appropriate action.

“We are shocked and disappointed by this reprehensible behavior. For more than a century, the Boy Scouts of America has been a leader in conservation - from stewardship to sustainability,” Boy Scouts spokesman Deron Smith said.

Reuters