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Boy Scout leaders destroy ancient rock formation at Utah park

Posted by Anonymous
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(CNN) -- It took nature millions of years to create what it took Glenn Taylor just a few seconds to destroy.

Now, 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," 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?"

CNN's Drew Iden contributed to this report


Posted by Anonymous on Oct. 19, 2013 at 1:18 PM
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Replies (1-10):
by Gold Member on Oct. 19, 2013 at 1:23 PM
What an ass.
by Meanie Pants on Oct. 19, 2013 at 1:24 PM
1 mom liked this

He deserves a slap.

by Gold Member on Oct. 19, 2013 at 1:26 PM

 what a bunch of stupid morons.

by Anonymous 2 on Oct. 19, 2013 at 1:26 PM

And the next time some hoodlum comes around and creates a grafitti masterpiece over a building, they can say they were trying to "beautify" the building!

by Ruby Member on Oct. 19, 2013 at 1:27 PM
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Yup, they are idiots.

DD promtly exclaimed that a GS leader wouldn't do that.  *facepalm*  Cue talk about how ALL leaders should be responsible.  DH is a Cub Scout leader and I am a Girl Scout leader.  

by on Oct. 19, 2013 at 1:29 PM
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This really pisses me off. Scout leaders, allegedly, are supposed to teach children to respect nature. Apparently these leaders have decided to teach children to fuck around, destroy natural wonders, and engage in jackassery on videos to be posted on youtube. I hope they get in serious trouble for this. I don't for a minute believe they thought they were doing a good deed. Assholes. 

by Anonymous 3 on Oct. 19, 2013 at 1:33 PM
LOL. True it was just a rock. But the idiots should have left that rock alone.
by Anonymous 4 on Oct. 19, 2013 at 2:27 PM
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Funny how he claims they were doing it for safety but then joke about modifying a state park. If they were really so concerned they could have went to the ranger station. Assholes.
by FAT on Oct. 19, 2013 at 2:31 PM
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I just saw this on npr. Bunch of jackasses. There's no fine or community service that will repair what they destroyed. That said, I hope they pay big time and it's infuriating that they are claiming they were "helping" and refuse to see why what they did was wrong.

I saw the video and they said nothing about it being dangerous until the end. They were fucking around.
by Gold Member on Oct. 19, 2013 at 2:32 PM
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They're idiots! These are leaders who are supposed to know and teach "Leave No Trace".

It really pissed my son off to see the video. He is a scout and always practices "Leave No Trace" on outings. They leave a nature area just as they found it if not better. If they find an are where others have left trash, they'll clean it up.

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