Man who toppled rock formation at Goblin Valley says formation was dangerous

GOBLIN VALLEY STATE PARK, Utah — Three Utah County men could face felony charges after a 200-million-year-old rock formation was toppled in Goblin Valley State Park.

One of them filmed the incident, and it surfaced on the internet. Click here to see the video.

Critics call the act vandalism, but the culprits claim there’s more to the story.

In the video you can hear David Hall from Highland reciting a phrase from a popular pop song: “wiggle it just a little bit.”

Then his buddy Glenn Taylor topples the boulder, known as a “Goblin”, as his son watches.

The three erupt in laughter, giving each other high fives.

“We have modified Goblin Valley,” Dave Hall said in the video.

State park officials don’t find it funny.  Those “goblins” date back to the Jurassic period. Jeff Rasmussen, deputy director of Utah State Parks and Recreation, said they are worried about the incident.

“It’s a valley full of these rocks that are perched up on these earth platforms, and obviously we’re very concerned and upset that someone would come and destroy this natural wonder that took millions of years to be formed,” he said.

The three Boy Scout leaders were on a church camp-out last weekend.  They said the video doesn’t tell the whole story.

“You look at the video and you say ‘Oh, those guys are hemming and hawing and having fun,’ that’s one minute,” Glenn Taylor said.

They insist, before the camera rolled, the goblin was loose and could’ve fallen on a family that just walked by.

In the video, Hall exclaims: “That’s crazy that it was held up by that little bit of dirt.  Some little kid was about to walk down here and die, and Glenn saved his life by getting the boulder out of the way.”

“We decided the best and smartest thing is, push it over so it can’t fall on top of somebody,” Hall told FOX 13 News.

Parks officials said, regardless of whether the rock was loose, the men had no business toppling the boulder.  Glenn Taylor said he regrets his actions.

“I wish we would have been smart enough to go get a ranger cause it was wrong of us to be vigilantes, and I’m sorry I did that,” he said.

It may be too late. The Emery County Attorney could file felony charges, and the matter still needs to go before the Boy Scouts.

“If you’re a felon, you can’t be a scouter and that would break my heart, but I did the crime,” Taylor said.

District Director John Gailey with the Boy Scouts of America issued a press release Friday in response to the video, which stated:

“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.”

State park officials learned of the video Wednesday and are still investigating.  It’s unclear exactly what kind of charges they’ll recommend or when they’ll turn over their case to the Emery County Attorney.

Meanwhile, court records show the man pushing the rock, Glenn Taylor, recently filed a personal injury lawsuit over a car crash in Provo.  The accident happened in 2009, but the suit was filed just last month.  According to the court documents, Taylor claims he’s still incurring medical fees.  FOX 13 News called him again for comment on that matter. We’re still waiting to hear back.

35 comments

  • James Avis

    The Scouts teach to leave no trace as you hike and camp. If these are really leaders in their troop, they need to be replaced with someone who can be a good example for their Scouts.

  • Jason

    Actually such a rock formation could have formed in hours or just days in a flash flood scenario. It was a boulder underlain with dirt and fragile sediment.

    • Ryan

      That area of Goblin is open, flash foods don’t occur there. It is a very long process of rain and wind that form Goblins, not flash floods.

    • BarryG

      It’s a fine and jail time for one puny foolish vandal’s life. Get over that. If everyone just decides to do what they want, there will be no parks left worth seeing.

      • Mike G

        Actually, I’ve come to agree. The park belongs to the people of Utah and the two guys had no business trying to wreck it for others.

  • Jane

    These idiots should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Not only have they broken Federal law they have disrespected the entire Nation. And they call themselves scout leaders…… No way, they should be lead to a jail cell and while they’re doing their time maybe they can get a few lessons in humility, respect, understanding, and just plain common sense. How is their act of vandalism any different than a bunch of hoodlums knocking over headstones in a cemetery? It’s a criminal act and they are stupid criminals.

  • Treva

    STUPIDEST defense ever! When had it become their job to insure the safety of children on government land? It also took allot of effort to push the rock over so it must not have been too dangerous. They should be sentenced to hard labor fixing trails on government lands.

  • Imagine R

    @Jason. What do you mean, nobody saw it? Did you not watch the video that accompanies the article you just commented on. Duh!

  • Imagine R

    @Honest. Why is there always someone like you that want to make everything about race? There is no mention of black or white in the story.

  • lee leach

    So , the question I have is sorta simple. It does not look like the hoodoo was harmed by knocking it over . Could a crane pick it up and put it back in place with a dollop of cement or concrete or something ? I understand that a research geologist ( some years ago ) found a microbe that can help heal (or fix ) cracks in granite. That would give the park people a really good lesson plan to teach people not to do things like this..Yes ,I agree it should not have been done. How do We fix it? Or can We ? Or should We ?…..

    signed
    An Engineer

  • Brock Savage

    I think the bears in Yellowstone Park are dangerous. It’s time we allow everyone to shoot them on sight. Think of the children.

  • Un_Real

    I spent over 15 years in the Boy Scouts. They teach you to PRESERVE nature. Not to destroy it. These 3 need to be charged, convicted and imprisoned. The Boy Scout council needs to remove them even if the government isn’t competent enough to make them pay for vandalizing a 200 million year old monument.

  • Dalek Caan

    It’s fine everyone.. lets not make a big deal out of this. They are religious men so their natural defense to the alleged crime is simple. The earth isn’t even 200 million years old so there’s no way they could have destroyed something that old. These rock formations were made a thousand years ago at most…

    Case closed.

  • Michelle

    “The goblin was loose and could’ve fallen on a family that just walked by.”

    1. The rock formations have been up for 200 million years, weathered through storms and all kinds of natural disasters, and remained up. It is not about to topple over now.
    2. As for saving lives… I don’t see the park teeming with pedestrians strolling around. How easy it is to save lives when there’s actually nothing there to be saved. Idiots.

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