Utah Scout leaders who toppled rock in Goblin Valley are sacked

Glenn Taylor and Dave Hall say they have also received death threats after a video of the incident went viral

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The Independent US

Two American hikers who toppled a historic rock formation in Utah before posting a video of the incident online said they have received "hundreds" of death threats, and have been removed from their position as scout leaders.

Glenn Taylor and Dave Hall were on a trip with eight boy scouts when they dislodged a rock formation that had been in place for more than 170 million years.

The valley, in south-central Utah, Emery County, is at the edge of the San Rafael Desert and is host to goblin-shaped sandstone hoodoos and pedestals. In the video Mr Hall can be heard saying “wiggle it just a little bit" before his friend Glenn Taylor pushes over the boulder, known as a “Goblin”, as his son watches.

The two then celebrate, giving each other high fives and laughing.

“We have modified Goblin Valley,” says Mr Hall.

The Boy Scouts of America upholds a strict 'Leave No Trace' policy for all outdoor activity and said they were “shocked and disappointed by this reprehensible behaviour” in a statement released on Friday.

“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.”

The group subsequently relieved the men of their positions on Monday, according to reports.

After being informed they had lost their positions, Mr Hall said: “We've always supported the Boy Scouts and if that's what they feel is best, we support that decision. We're extremely sorry for our mistake. We look forward to doing everything we can to make it right and move on,” according to the BBC.

The pair have since insisted they toppled the rock to prevent it from falling and hurting someone, and told NBC News they "did something right the wrong way". They now regret moving the rock themselves, instead of calling a park ranger, they said today.

"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," Mr Hall told NBC.

"Upon putting a little pressure on it, you could see that it was moving and just then a couple of families walked up right below that rock and went around it…and stopped for a family photo.

"And the thought that went through our minds was if this would have fallen while they were coming up that valley, up that very well-used walkway, numerous fatalities would have happened."

Mr Hall and Mr Taylor are now waiting to find out if the Emery County Attorney's Office will press charges against them.