National forest nemesis Lesh agrees to bond conditions to behave on public lands

David Lesh posted this photo of himself at Hanging Lake in June. The lake was off limits at the time.
David Lesh/courtesy image

Rogue outdoorsman David Lesh agreed Friday not to trespass on closed national forest system lands and to follow rules on open lands or risk arrest for violating bond conditions and forfeit $1,000.

Lesh is the self-styled bad boy who has been issued citations for allegedly entering Hanging Lake while it was closed this summer and for riding his snowmobile in a terrain park in Keystone while the ski area was closed last winter. A six-count indictment was filed in U.S. District Court in Grand Junction on Sept. 15.

Lesh, 34, a part-time Colorado resident and owner of an outdoor clothing company, became known in Aspen for riding a snowmobile in designated wilderness on Independence Pass on July 3, 2019. He was cited for four petty offenses. In a plea agreement, he agreed to pay a $500 fine and perform 50 hours of useful public service.

As the old case was concluding, the new case emerged. In the new case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Hautzinger and Lesh’s attorney, Stephen Laiche, hashed out terms of bond and revealed them to U.S. District Judge Gordon Gallagher on Friday. Lesh cannot trespass on closed national forest system lands. He cannot violate any rules while on open forestlands.

Gallagher approved the conditions and said Lesh must provide unsecured bond. If he violates conditions of bond, he will “be on the hook for $1,000,” the judge said. Lesh would also risk arrest for bond violation.

Lesh’s only words in court came when the judge asked him if he understood the conditions.

“I do, your honor,” Lesh said.

His next court appearance is set for Oct. 30 at 11:30 a.m. The prosecutor and defense may arrange a plea agreement by then or the case could be set for trial.

Lesh allegedly entered the Hanging Lake Natural Landmark Area in Glenwood Canyon on June 10 while it was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. He posted a picture on social media of himself on a log in the lake. He’s facing five counts in relation to that incident.

He is facing one count for allegedly riding his snowmobile in the Keystone terrain park after the ski area closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

All counts for both incidents are misdemeanors.