Authorities in Utah are considering criminal charges against a group of men who gleefully shoved a boulder off its perch in a state park — and disturbed a rock formation that park officials say is 170 million years old.
The men, identified by The Salt Lake Tribune as Boy Scout leaders, recorded the antics, and cheered and high-fived after they toppled the rock. As one of the men was jostling the boulder loose, the cameraman sang a 1990 dance-party hit: “Wiggle it — just a little bit.”
“Some little kid was about ready to walk down here and die,” the cameraman says, “and Glenn saved his life by getting the boulder out of the way.” Glenn is shown striking a pro wrestling-style strongman pose.
“We have now modified Goblin Valley,” says the cameraman, identified by local news outlets as Dave Hall.
Utah authorities did not see it that way. County and state prosecutors are considering criminal charges, Eugene Swalberg, a spokesman for the Utah state parks, told the Deseret News newspaper.
“This is not behavior that is appreciated or should exist in state parks,” he said. “This has been formed for literally millions of years, and it’s supposed to last for a long time. It doesn’t need individuals doing the work of Mother Nature.”
Local “Deseret News” article:
This is just sad. I have been to Goblin valley and my reason for going was of course to see the “goblins” (or hoodoos) that it is named for. For these clowns to come along and destroy one of the formations and then to rationalize it as being to protect others is just ignorant. The rock has been there for 170 million years without injuring anyone, it probably would have stood for thousands of years more without injuring anyone.
Watching the video I certainly get the impression from the whoops and posturing that this was done for fun and not for safety reasons. The rationalization about safety only comes afterwards, after the man has to strain mightily and put his own body into a very unsafe position to budge the supposedly “unsafe” rock.
Someday, hundreds or thousands of years from now, in a rare heavy desert rain storm the rock’s underpinnings would have eroded just enough more to allow it to fall. In the meantime many thousands of more people could have seen and appreciated it as a part of a beautiful and unique formation in a protected State park.
I hope that they stop “considering” charges against these men and actually file charges against them for defacing public property. A fair monetary fine should be levied to discourage others that might wish to take the place of nature and change the park as they see fit. It is just too bad that there is no safe way to make them put the rock back where it was to begin with. :(
Update: The rock pusher (Glenn Taylor) and his cameraman (Dave Hall) have issued a rather non-apologetic statement in which they decline any responsibility other than doing “the right thing in the wrong way.” They also lie about the way in which the rock was pushed over as you can see for yourself below.
“We came across this two- to three-thousand-pound boulder that was resting on about an inch-and-a-half-thick, razor-thin ledge of dirt,” Hall said. “Upon putting a little pressure on it, you could see that it was moving and just then a couple of families walked up right below that rock and went around it…and stopped for a family photo.
“And the thought that went through our minds was if this would have fallen while they were coming up that valley, up that very well-used walkway, numerous fatalities would have happened.” In retrospect, they say, they should have just told a ranger of the hazard. Instead, Taylor went up to the rock “and with one arm put a little bit of pressure on that [and] it went right over,” said Hall, who acted as cameraman.
The Utah Attorney General has issued a statement saying that he is declining to file any charges against either of the men. There has not yet been any statement by the county district attorney as to whether or not any charges will be filed against the men from his office.