Boy Scouts remove 2 men who toppled ancient rock

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Associated Press

Posted on October 21, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 21 at 2:06 PM

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Two Utah men already facing possible criminal charges for purposely toppling an ancient rock formation in a state park have now been removed from their posts as Boy Scout leaders.

A northern Utah Boy Scouts council announced Monday that Glenn Taylor and Dave Hall will no longer be allowed to lead scouting troops due to what happened Oct. 11 at Goblin Valley State Park, which they filmed and posted on Facebook.

The move comes on the heels of the national Boy Scouts of America condemning the men's actions last week and promising a review of the incident. The Boy Scouts' Utah National Parks Council posted a statement on its website saying the men's actions are not in line with the principles the organization teaches about preserving nature.

"We encourage all leaders and Scouts to review the 'Leave No Trace' principles, as we are all a part of maintaining the integrity, character and the natural beauty of the outdoors for all living things," the statement said.

The rock formation they toppled over is about 170 million years old, Utah State Parks spokesman Eugene Swalberg said. The central Utah park is dotted with thousands of the eerie, mushroom-shaped sandstone formations.

Hall and Taylor came under fire last week after posting a video on Facebook where Taylor can be seen wedging himself between a 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.

They said the rock formation was loose and they feared it was dangerous. They were leading a group of teenage Boy Scouts on a trip when it happened.

Hall said they found out about losing their Boy Scouts positions Monday morning. They had been troop leaders for a few years, Hall said, and hope to continue to be involved in organization in the future using what happened as a teaching point. Both men are from Highland, Utah, about 30 miles south of Salt Lake City.

"We've always supported the Boy Scouts and if that's what they feel is best, we support that decision," Hall said. "We're extremely sorry for our mistake. We look forward to doing everything we can to make it right and move on."

Utah State Parks authorities are conducting a criminal investigation, and the Emery County Attorney's Office also is reviewing the incident to determine if charges should be filed.

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