On March 18, two parents involved in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) pled guilty to misdemeanor charges after a video surfaced on the Internet in October showing one toppling a loose rock formation in Utah’s Goblin Valley State Park while the other filmed him and cheered.
The vandal, Glenn Taylor, can be seen pushing several times on a mushroom-shaped rock formation before bringing it to the ground. After the video came to light, Taylor and cameraman Dave Hall were expelled from the BSA program due to the violation of program’s policy that scouts and scout leaders “leave no trace” when in the wilderness. After their conviction, the two were sentenced to community service.
Taylor and Hall have apologized for their actions in the park. In an interview with the LA Times, the men stated they thought they were doing the park a favor by removing the threat of the rock falling on a hiker.
Rahul Gokhale, a scout who attends Whitney High School, expressed his disapproval of the men’s actions in an interview with JSR. “No matter their intentions, they should have let the situation be handled by the state officials,” Gokhale said.
“At the very most,” he continued, “they should have turned in a notification of the loose boulder. But they definitely should not have taken matters into his own hands and toppled it. Now, people can’t enjoy the nature as much.”
However, another scout at Whitney disagreed with Gokhale. According to Rushabh Doshi, “I think that what he did wasn’t wrong. I understand that his actions permanently defaced a unique rock formation, but if his honest intentions were to help others, he shouldn’t have to suffer such extreme consequences.”
“A big part of BSA is the ‘leave no trace’ policy,” Doshi added, “but I think that ‘helping others at all times’ plays a larger role. The several hundred hours of community service is a little too much.”
Park regulators, however, have said that there has never been an instance of a rock formation injuring a visitor.