Rogue outdoorsman may be banned from forests

A part-time Colorado resident with a history of ignoring backcountry rules may be temporarily banned from U.S. Forest Service land, a law enforcement official said Monday.

The U.S. District Attorney’s Office in Grand Junction will ask that David Lesh, 34, “be restrained from going on Forest Service lands” for the duration of the federal case filed against him last week that alleges illegal activities at Keystone Ski Area and Hanging Lake outside Glenwood Springs, said Peter Hautzinger, assistant U.S. attorney.

Lesh made his first virtual appearance in U.S. District Court in Grand Junction on Monday after prosecutors filed a six-count indictment against him Sept. 15 accusing him of illegally operating a snowmobile April 24 at Keystone and entering Hanging Lake on June 10 when it was closed.

Both of those incidents occurred as Lesh, the owner of an outdoor clothing company, awaited punishment for snowmobiling over grass and fragile designated wildernesss terrain near the Upper Lost Man Trailhead in July 2019.

On Monday, Lesh’s defense lawyer asked Hautzinger whether the United States Attorney’s Office was asking that his client be prohibited from entering all forest and parkland in the entire United States.

U.S. Magistrate Gordon Gallagher, however, interrupted to explain that he set the case again for Oct. 2 so the two sides can talk offline about the specifics of the government’s proposed ban on Lesh.

Lesh allegedly rode his snowmobile through the Keystone terrain park, which was closed because of the coronavirus, and later posted a picture of himself riding the machine off one of the jumps. In June, Lesh posted a picture of himself on social media while walking on a log jutting into Hanging Lake in Glenwood Canyon.

Lesh paid a $500 fine and performed 50 hours of community service in connection with the July 2019 incident on Independence Pass.