clear
Sunday May 29th, 2016 1:49AM

Charges possible for toppled ancient Utah rock

By The Associated Press
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Utah authorities are mulling whether to press charges against a Boy Scouts leader who purposely knocked over an ancient Utah desert rock formation and the two men who cheered him on after they posted video of the incident online.

Two of the men, who were leading a group of 14 to 16-year-old Boy Scouts on a trip, said the top of the rock formation was loose and they feared it was dangerous.

"This is about saving lives," Dave Hall, who shot the video, told The Associated Press on Friday. "One rock at a time."

The rock formation at Goblin Valley State Park is about 170 million years old, Utah State Parks spokesman Eugene Swalberg said. The park in central Utah is dotted with thousands of the eerie, mushroom shaped sandstone formations.

In a video posted on Facebook, Glenn Taylor of Highland, Utah, can be seen last Friday wedging himself between one formation and a boulder to knock a large rock off the formation's top. Taylor and his two companions can then be seen cheering, high-fiving and dancing.

"This is highly, highly inappropriate," Swalberg told the Salt Lake Tribune. "This is not what you do at state parks. It's disturbing and upsetting."

Hall, who is also a scoutmaster from Highland, said some of their Scouts were jumping on the structures and they noticed a large boulder on top of one structure was loose.

"My conscience won't let me walk away knowing that kids could die," Hall said.

While safety was their motivation, Hall said, it was exciting to knock it over, and that's why they reacted with high-fives and cheers in the video.

"You can't have a rock the size of a car that you can push with one hand, and have it roll, and not have an adrenaline rush," Hall said. "It was a crazy, exciting moment."

Taylor told Salt Lake City news organizations on Thursday that he felt the rock move when he put his hand on it.

He said after he knocked the formation over, he wished he hadn't and he realized he should have contacted a park ranger. But he also said he feels he did the right thing.

"As it is, I feel guilty because I have a conscience," he told the Deseret News. "But my conscience also says I did the right thing."

Hall, too, said he wished they had contacted a park ranger, but did not wish they hadn't knocked it over.

Boy Scouts of America spokesman Deron Smith confirmed the men are members of the organization, saying in a statement that the organization is "shocked and disappointed by this reprehensible behavior."

Boy Scout troops spend countless hours in state and national parks, guided by the principle of leaving nature the way they find it, Smith said.

"The isolated actions of these individuals are absolutely counter to our beliefs and what we teach," Smith said. "We are reviewing this matter and will take appropriate action."

Swalberg said State Parks authorities are conducting a criminal investigation.

Brent Langston with the Emery County Attorney's Office said his agency is aware of the incident has not yet started evaluating whether they'll file charges.

The men involved could face a misdemeanor or a felony depending on how much officials determine the formation was worth, Langston told the Tribune.

"Some things can't be replaced, like photographs in a family album, but they have great sentimental value," he said.

Hall said he and Taylor were both "immensely sorry for any damage that we may have caused," or any embarrassment they brought to the Boy Scouts or anyone else.

But he also said, "One more rock falling to the ground is not going to destroy the beauty of the park. Eventually, the erosion brings all of them down."
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 2 years ago )
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 2 years ago )
Kerry seeks framework for Mideast peace talks
A senior State Department official says Secretary of State John Kerry will try this week to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a framework for negotiating a final peace agreement, yet cautions against raising expectations for Kerry's latest round of shuttle diplomacy.
1:35PM ( 2 years ago )
U.S. News
Ethics laws set to take effect Jan. 1 in Georgia
After dominating much of the legislative session, a set of major ethics reforms is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.
7:04PM ( 2 years ago )
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 2 years ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 2 years ago )
Local/State News
Amid shouts of 'shame,' House GOP defeats gay rights measure
Democrats shouted "shame," but House Republicans switched their votes and defeated a measure to protect gay rights
8:03PM ( 1 week ago )
CDC director Freiden warns GOP Zika bill is inadequate
The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Wednesday that a House GOP measure to combat the Zika virus is inadequate to deal with the swelling threat to public health
7:36PM ( 1 week ago )
Trump unveils list of his top picks for Supreme Court
Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, released Wednesday a list of 11 potential Supreme Court justices he plans to vet to fill the seat of late Justice Antonin Scalia if he's elected to the White House.
3:31PM ( 1 week ago )
1st US penis transplant could bring hope to maimed soldiers
A 64-year-old cancer patient has received the nation's first penis transplant, a groundbreaking operation that may also help U.S. veterans maimed by roadside bombs
8:04PM ( 1 week ago )
States dig in against directive on transgender bathroom use
Politicians in Texas, Arkansas and elsewhere are vowing defiance over the Obama administration's new directive on transgender bathroom use
9:19PM ( 2 weeks ago )