Three boy scout leaders toppled a Jurassic rock formation in Utah and posted a video about it on YouTube. They’re now facing criminal charges.
Goblin Valley State Park in Utah has a collection of fascinating geological formations which date back to the Jurassic Period 145 to 170 million years ago. The formations are a series of rocks stacked like mushrooms and serve as a curious look into Earth’s past. They’re called hoodoos and are composed of harder rocks more resistant to erosion, sitting on top of softer rock. Unfortunately, there’s now one less rock formation to see, because a group of three boy scout leaders decided to topple one of them.
The men were identified after putting the video of the event on YouTube (see it below). Utah State Parks officials are pursuing criminal cases against the men, with possible charges ranging from misdemeanor to second-degree-felony.
The three scout leaders are claiming, in their defense, that they toppled the rock because it was sitting on a dangerously small ledge and could have fallen and injured children. “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,” said Dave Hall, who was the cameraman in the video. “So it’s all about saving lives here at Goblin Valley.” It’s hard to believe their sincerity when they high-five each other and laugh after toppling the rock.
Fred Hayes, director of the Utah Division of State Parks and Recreation, told NPR “We are heartsick. To see folks do that is heartbreaking.” Hayes also explains that park rangers are vigilant about protecting visitors and take steps to ensure that rock formations don’t injure anybody. Hayes points out that there didn’t seem to be anybody at risk of being hurt in the video. “I don’t believe the rock was presenting an imminent danger to anybody,” says Hayes.