Ancient Rock Formation's Destruction Could Draw Charges Against Utah Men

Oct 18, 2013 12:28 PM

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.”

The Tribune posted the video to YouTube:

The cameraman shows how the boulder, in Goblin Valley State Park, was perched on a small ledge that appears no more than a foot or two wide.

“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.”

Swalberg said the rock formations, known as goblins for their shape, date to the Jurassic Era.

Hall, the cameraman, and Glenn Taylor, his companion, told the newspaper that they meant no harm.

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

Taylor said: “If we were defacing property, if we had been going around knocking over all kinds of rocks, I would feel really guilty. As it is, I feel guilty because I have a conscience. But my conscience also says I did the right thing.”


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