'Leave No Trace': Photographer Says He Saw 4 Men Take Down Utah Monolith in 'Minutes'
Bernard also attached several photographs of the incident of the men breaking down the monolith. (Photo: Facebook)
Photographer Ross Bernard from Colorado wrote a detailed post on Instagram where he gave an eye-witness account of how four men came out of nowhere and dismantled the monolith and took it away on a wheelbarrow.
- Last Updated: December 02, 2020, 10:28 IST
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Four unidentified men were the ones who removed the shiny silver monolith from the middle of the remote area of the Utah desert, claimed an eye-witness on Tuesday.
Photographer Ross Bernards from Colorado wrote a detailed post on Instagram where he gave an eye-witness account of how four men came out of nowhere and dismantled the structure and took it away on a wheelbarrow. Bernard also attached several photographs of the incident of the men breaking down the monolith.
The tall, silver, shining metal monolith was originally spotted by a team of officers flying by in a helicopter helping out wildlife division count bighorn sheep in southeastern Utah. The team turned the helicopter around and inspected it, Pilot Bret Hutchings said the structure was between 10 and 12 feet high. It also did not seem like it was randomly dropped but had been deliberately placed there.
Bernards, 34, said he and 3 of his friends drove for six hours to reach the remote spot in Utah to examine from close quarters the magnificent looking structure that has sparked off much discussions and curious theories on its origin. Also, it is to be noted that the structure was illegally set up on public lands. He posted several spectacular photographs of the structure accompanying the post where he detailed his account.
The Bureau of Land Management posted an official statement on Saturday saying that the structure was possibly removed by an "unknown party" on Friday night.
"We have received credible reports that the illegally installed structure, referred to as the 'monolith,' has been removed" from BLM public lands. The BLM did not remove the structure, which is considered private property." the BLM had said earlier on a Facebook post when the structure was removed.
Explaining the sequence of the events, Bernard wrote, "If you’re interested in what exactly happened to the monolith keep reading because I was literally there...We passed one group as we hiked towards the mysterious monolith, while another group was there when we arrived, and they left pretty quick after we got there. For the next hour and 40 minutes we had the place to ourselves."
He adds, "I had just finished taking some photos of the monolith under the moonlight and was taking a break, thinking about settings I needed to change for my last battery of drone flight when we heard some voices coming up the canyon."
At this point, Bernards said he looked down at his watch and the time was 8:40. Elaborating on how they brought down the structure, he added that the 4 worked in pairs and gave a few pushes to the structure when it went over to one side. Bernards said one of the guys also said to his friend, referring to the monolith, “this is why you don’t leave trash in the desert.”
After a few more pushes, the men eventually broke it down and took the parts away in a wheelbarrow. Bernards said one of them , while leaving with the wheelbarrow, also glanced back at them and said, “Leave no trace.” It was 8:48 and the structure had fallen.
Bernards explained his decision of not stopping the four because he said he agreed with them. He mentioned how the next day they saw people come down with their vehicles and even an airplane, everyone trying to get a glimpse of the structure, thereby crowding up a space that was for so long left alone and wasn't being congested and polluted by the public. He finishes off his account by saying how he believes "Mother Nature is an artist, it’s best to leave the art in the wild to her."
Bernards's post has got mixed reaction from people. While someone agreed with him, others still thought there was no clear indication of who the men were and why they removed something which wasn't theirs probably.
A user named @amritabhortake said, "Completely agree with your last sentence. Thanks so much for recording this and sharing with us."
Another user wrote, "It’s the desert and people has been traveling all areas of the earth since the birth of man. Taking down wasn’t the answer."
The discovery of the structure had caused a lot of excitement among adventure-seekers and has sparked theories ranging from aliens to everything. Bret however had guessed that the metal monolith was most likely placed there by an artist rather than an alien. He had said it must be by some new wave artist or somebody who was a big 2001: A Space Odyssey fan.
In a related incident, a second monolith had also appeared in Romania. The triangular, shiny pillar was discovered on Batca Doamnei Hill in Piatra Neamt city last Thursday. Coincidentally, it was just a few metres away from a popular Romanian archaeological landmark, the Petrodava Dacian Fortress.