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History of Goblin Valley State Park

Unforgettable experience.

Goblin Valley State Park is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to explore the beauty of Utah. Located in Emery County, Goblin Valley's unique landscape offers visitors an unforgettable experience. The park’s signature feature is its extraordinary rock formations which have been carved by wind and water over many years. Known as “goblins”, these mesmerizing rock monoliths offer a spectacular view. People come from all over the world to take in the sights of Goblin Valley and explore its many trails, canyons, and other natural features.

Native American History

Goblin Valley State Park is rich in Native American history. The area has been inhabited for thousands of years, and archaeological evidence shows that the Fremont Indians camped here seasonally. It was also an important trading hub for the Ute people. While exploring Goblin Valley, visitors can see many petroglyphs carved into the rocks, as well as evidence of ancient dwellings. This area has been important to many generations of Native Americans, and visitors can still feel the ancient presence here today.

Discovery

In the depths of the vast wilderness, cowboys scoured the land in search of their elusive cattle. Little did they know that they were about to stumble upon a hidden gem called Goblin Valley. Years later, a daring adventurer named Arthur Chaffin embarked on a quest to discover a new route between Green River and Caineville. As he stood at a vantage point, a mere mile away from Goblin Valley, his eyes widened in awe and amazement. Before him lay a breathtaking sight - an enigmatic world of five majestic buttes, enclosed by towering cliffs, and filled with peculiar rock formations resembling mischievous goblins. Intrigued by this wondrous spectacle, Chaffin returned in 1949, affectionately dubbing it Mushroom Valley. With a heart filled with curiosity, he embarked on an adventure like no other - exploring the maze of intricate rocks, capturing each captivating moment through the lens of his camera.

Establishing the Park

Publicity drew visitors to the remote valley, captivated by its beauty. In 1954, a visionary proposal emerged to safeguard Goblin Valley from the clutches of vandalism. The state of Utah acted upon this vision, acquiring the property and establishing the awe-inspiring Goblin Valley State Reserve. This exceptional sanctuary was officially designated a state park on August 24, 1964. And in 2019, the state park expanded its realm, encompassing an additional 6,261 acres of pristine federal land.

Vandalism Problems

In an astonishing act of defiance, a delicately balanced hoodoo was intentionally toppled by a Boy Scout leader, supported by two intrigued onlookers. Captured on video and later circulating the Internet, this audacious display aimed to protect unsuspecting park visitors from potential harm by a seemingly unstable formation. Remarkably, this hoodoo stood for countless millions of years, formed from rock that traced back an astounding 165 million years. Hoodoos typically erode at a humble rate of 2-4 feet (0.6-1.3 m) over a century.

Consequently, the two leaders, Glenn Taylor and David Hall, faced swift consequences as their roles within the Utah National Parks Council were abruptly terminated. The national Boy Scouts organization went even further, completely severing ties with the audacious duo. Justice swiftly followed with the arraignment of the vandal and his cameraman in January 2014. Charged initially with felony counts of "criminal mischief" and "intentionally damaging, defacing, and destroying property," both men ultimately pleaded guilty to lesser charges of criminal mischief and attempted criminal mischief. Their sentencing of one year probation, accompanied by fines and case-related fees, served as a lasting lesson in responsibility.

Goblin Valley Today

Today, Goblin Valley is a protected sanctuary of awe-inspiring beauty. From its breathtaking sunset views to the unique rock formations that will take your breath away, this state park offers something for everyone. Whether you're looking for a fun day hike, a scenic overlook, or an unforgettable experience in nature, Goblin Valley State Park has it all. Come explore and find out why this remarkable destination is one of the most beloved state parks in Utah. You won't regret it!

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