Defacing a Natural Wonder
After two Boy Scout leaders defaced a National Park, they say safety was their motivation.
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The Responsibility Project
Growing up in Utah, we took an annual trip down to Goblin Valley, named for the otherworldly sandstone rock formations that have been sculpted by 170 million years of exposure to the elements into goblin-like “hoodoos.”
But it took only mere moments for two Boy Scout troop leaders to undo Mother Nature’s work. As Glenn Taylor and Dave Hall declare in the video they took of themselves dancing and toppling a massive rock from its delicate perch, “We have now modified Goblin Valley.”
After the Salt Lake Tribune posted the video on YouTube and the Boy Scouts of America decried the duo’s defacing of the rock formation based on their “Leave No Trace” policy for outdoor activities, Taylor and Hall were singing a different tune. In fact, the two men told NBC that they were trying to save lives, and had “done something right the wrong way.”
Hall told NBC, “We came across this two- to three-thousand-pound boulder that was resting on about an inch-and-a-half-thick, razor-thin ledge of dirt.” The two claimed that they toppled it to save the lives of the families who walked below it. In retrospect, they realized that they should have told a park ranger about the hazard instead of taking the matter into their own hands.
Regardless of their intentions, Taylor and Hall are now facing felony charges. Utah State Parks spokesman Eugene Swalberg said, “It is not only wrong, but there will be consequences.” Yes, he told the Salt Lake Tribune, the rock formations will likely fall one day, likely generations from now, but “that doesn’t mean we go and push over Delicate Arch because we’re afraid it’s going to topple.”
Is it believable that the men, who high-fived each other and danced as a 170-million-year-old natural wonder crashed to the ground, were acting on good intentions? What are actions like those of Taylor and Hall teaching the next generation of Boy Scouts? Weigh in here.