A boulder that mysteriously disappeared two weeks ago from a national forest in Arizona is back, and forest officials aren’t asking any questions.
Prescott National Forest officials said a forest employee on patrol noticed on Friday, Nov. 1, that the 1-ton boulder dubbed “Wizard Rock” had been returned to a site along State Route 89 south of Prescott.
The much-admired boulder is black with streaks of white quartz running through it.
District Ranger Sarah Clawson said forest officials were thrilled that the rock was returned and “grateful that whoever took it was conscientious enough to give it back to the public”
According to forest officials, it would have required heavy equipment to move the boulder.
Permits are required to gather and remove most forest products, including rocks, plants and trees.
In a news release issued by the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service on Oct. 28, the rock is described as “a large 1 ton beautiful black boulder with white quartz running through it.”
According to the news release, the boulder is very special to the locals, especially for people who frequently drove on Highway 89 and Whitespar Road in the Indian Fire area. The boulder had attracted both locals and non-locals from all over to come see the special rock, according to the news release.
“These boulders belong to the public, and should be enjoyed by locals and visitors for years to come. If members of the public have questions about what they can take or purchase from the Prescott National Forest, or how to obtain legal authorization to do so, they should contact any of our offices for information,” Clawson said.
“The easy way to do it would be a back hoe,” said Jason Williams, the trails and wilderness manager. “But, if you had a trailer positioned properly and didn’t mind beating some things up you might be able to do it with a Bobcat. But you surely aren’t going to be able to do it any other way.”
According to Williams, it would have been hard for people to move it considering its weight, especially in the timeframe when it was taken, Arizona Central reported.
“I think what happens is the general public, if they see somebody working with equipment in the forest, they see the equipment and assume it’s an authorized thing. It looks professional and they think they must be doing something the forest service has said ‘go ahead’ or even paid for,” Williams said.
According to the news release, this large boulder has not been the only rock that has been taken from the forest.
“In the last four months the forest has had two separate incidents of boulders being removed from the National Forest by individuals using heavy equipment as all the boulders have bone missing weighed approximately 750-2,000 pounds, which cannot be moved without equipment,” the news release stated.
The Associated Press and NTD reporter Paula Liu contributed to this report.