I’m sorry, but there is no excuse for the behavior of this group of guys.
Three Boy Scout leaders knocked over one of the “goblin” rock formations that give Goblin Valley State Park in Utah its name.
The 20-million-year-old rock formation, created by the weathering effects of wind and water, was knocked over Oct. 11, and the three men posted a video of the act online.
Glenn Taylor, the star of the video, told the Salt Lake Tribune, “I put my hand on a rock and it moved. While we were sitting right there we thought, ‘Man if this rock falls it’ll kill them.’ I didn’t have to push hard.”
Watching the video, though, it looks like Taylor needed to do more than give just a push. To cheers from the cameraman, identified as Dave Hall, and another individual, identified as Taylor’s son, Dylan, the elder Taylor leaned against another rock, braced his legs and shoved.
“We have now modified Goblin Valley, a new Goblin Valley exists,” Hall said on the video. “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.”
Hall and Taylor, leaders of a Boy Scout troop and a Varsity Scout team sponsored by their LDS Church, were with eight youths and two other leaders on the trip.
Now they are potentially facing felony charges — and, according to Hall, death threats. “I’ve got over 100 death threats on the Internet already. I’ve got people all over the world telling me they are going to kill me because I made the decision that lives are more important than this rock staying here a few more hours,” Hall told the Salt Lake Tribune.
In a statement, Deron Smith, public relations director for Boy Scouts of America, condemned the action:
We are shocked and disappointed by this reprehensible behavior. For more than a century, the Boy Scouts of America has been a leader in conservation—from stewardship to sustainability. We teach our 2.6 million youth members and 1.1 million adult members, who collectively spend more than 5.5 million nights outdoors, the principles of “Leave No Trace.”
These principles stress a commitment to maintaining the integrity and character of the outdoors and all living things. The isolated actions of these individuals are absolutely counter to our beliefs and what we teach. We are reviewing this matter and will take appropriate action.
I was a Boy Scout, and much of what I learned about the outdoors started with the monthly camping trips my troop organized. I am sure we did dumb things when were kids and broke a fair number of Leave No Trace ethics, but we never would have done something this stupid. While Taylor appears to be hiding behind a public safety defense, the video makes clear there was no immediate danger or need for his action.