The Utah Boy Scouts council has removed two leaders who destroyed an ancient rock formation in Goblin Valley State Park. Glenn Taylor and Dave Hall destroyed a sandstone formation that was over 170 million years old.
The council released a statement, explaining that the former leaders’ actions were against the organization’s strict “Leave No Trace” policy. The policy is meant to maintain “the integrity, character, and the natural beauty of the outdoors.”
The rock formations in Goblin Valley State Park were formed during the Jurassic period. Throughout the years, softer rock and soil washed out from underneath the rocks, leaving mushroom-shaped forms. The formations are called hoodoo or goblins.
The Boy Scout leaders were visiting the state park with a church group. During a hike, Taylor reportedly put his hand against one of the rock formations and found it was loose.
With Hall filming, Taylor pushed against the top of the rock until it fell to the ground. With the ancient rock destroyed, the men proceeded to celebrate with high-fives. As the men erupt into laughter, Hall exclaims “we have modified Goblin Valley!”
Proud of their accomplishment, the men posted the video on YouTube. Within weeks, authorities learned about the video and launched an investigation into the incident.
As reported by CBS News, Utah State Park officials are working with the Emery County Prosecutor’s office to investigate the incident. The county attorney is considering criminal charges against both men.
As reported by NBC News, Hall said he regrets the behavior and supports the Boy Scouts council in their decision:
“I love and support the Boy Scouts of America… I don’t blame them one bit for their decision… We made a mistake and we need to own up to that… we need to make amends.”
Taylor defended his behavior as a heroic act. The former scout leader said the loose rock could have killed someone if it fell down on its own. He said he may have saved someone’s life by destroying the rock.
The video may have caused even more legal trouble for Glenn Taylor. In 2009, Taylor was in a car accident with a teen driver. Earlier this year, Taylor filed a lawsuit against the girl’s father, Alan MacDonald, claiming his injuries continue to cause him “great pain and suffering, disability, impairment… loss of joy of life.”
MacDonald learned about the video when it went viral. He was stunned to see the “disabled” Taylor climbing on rocks and pushing against the ancient rock until it fell.
The Boy Scouts council has made their thoughts about the Goblin Valley rock incident quite clear — the behavior will not be tolerated. Hall says he hopes he can continue to participate in the scouts, despite losing his position. Taylor has not commented on his removal.
[Image via Wikimedia]