Colorado Man Banned From National Forest Land for Defecating in Lake Claims Image Was Photoshopped – He’s Never Been to Maroon Lake

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Maroon Bells, Aspen Wage
The famed Maroon Bells near Aspen, CO. Photo Credit: Photo by Mike Scheid on Unsplash

After blatantly disregarding the law and disrespecting the land, former pro-skier David Lesh is upset that he has been banned from national forest land.

Unable to stage marketing events for his clothing company or participate in skiing competitions, Lesh was in court last Thursday in an attempt to have the ban overturned. He lost.

He is currently facing six charges relating to trespassing incidents in Glenwood Canyon’s Hanging Lake and snowmobiling in a closed Keystone Ski Resort. The charges will be heard on January 11th, 2021.

The ban came from an image he posted of himself defecating in the iconic Maroon Lake near Aspen, CO, after being cited for his previous misdemeanors and being warned that future incidents could result in a ban. His attorney claims the image is a fabrication, and an image of Lesh defecating was photoshopped onto a stock image of the Maroon Bells backdrop for Instagram. As such, he should not have been banned from forest service land.

“The alleged entry upon Maroon Lake was no entry at all. No environmental harms were occasioned on that protected area. No bond conditions have been violated. The government’s reason for wanting to ban Mr. Lesh from all NFS lands is hollow. The assumption justifying enhancement of Mr. Lesh’s bond conditions was respectfully misplaced.

Mr. Lesh has never been to Maroon Lake.”

– Mr. Lesh’s attorney

Lesh asked that his ban be overturned as the public lands are vital to him making a living. He is unable to conduct backcountry photoshoots to promote his brand. As a professional skier, he cannot compete as most ski terrain is on national forest service land.

“Among other responsibilities, Mr. Lesh handles (his outerwear company’s) marketing. That marketing includes accompanying athletes in the backcountry and on ski resorts and taking pictures and videos for social media, emails, banner ads, print marketing, and other forms of advertising. … With ski season already upon us, the restrictive bond condition substantially curtails Mr. Lesh’s ability to market and run his business.

Most if not all professional skiing terrain is on NFS land, and defense fears this decades-long vocation will completely cease for Mr. Lesh if this bond condition is not vacated.”

– Mr. Lesh’s attorney

Whether the image was real or not, the judge said just by posting it:

“…is clear evidence of the defendant’s contempt of the Court and the judicial system. It is evidence that he believes he can do whatever he wants to wherever he wants to, without regard for what the Court has ordered.”

In April, Lesh posted images on Instagram of him riding a snowmobile in a terrain park at Keystone Resort. The resort had been closed to the public since March 15th when the Colorado Governor ordered all ski areas closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The incident was one count of the allegations.


View this post on Instagram


Moved to Colorado 15 years ago, finally made it to Hanging Lake. A first impression with no one there was worth the wait.⁣

A post shared by David Lesh (@davidlesh) on

A further five counts were tied to Lesh’s alleged entry of Hanging Lake in Glenwood Canyon on June 10, an incident again documented on Instagram.

The Hanging Lake charges included:

  • Entering an area closed for the protection of threatened, endangered, rare, unique, or vanishing plants, animals, or fish when entering the Hanging Lake National Natural Landmark Area
  • Entering an area closed for the protection of special biological communities
  • Entering an area closed for the protection of property
  • Entering an area closed for the protection of historical, archeological, geological, or paleontological interest
  • Entering a prohibited body of water
  • Each charge holds a potential penalty of not more than six months imprisonment, not more than a $5,000 fine, or both, according to the filed document. The U.S Attorney’s Office indicated it would not seek imprisonment.

Each charge holds a potential penalty of not more than six months imprisonment, not more than a $5,000 fine, or both, according to the filed document.

In June, Lesh was fined $500 and ordered to perform 50 hours of public service this summer to illegally ride his snowmobile near the summit of a snowless Independence Pass near Aspen, CO in summer 2019.

Lesh is no stranger to ‘bad publicity,’ often engaging in stunts that garner public attention. In August 2019, he crash-landed his plane into Half Moon Bay off the California Coast, live streaming the plane sinking and the whole rescue operation.

In July 2014, Lesh was arrested and charged with arson following a fire at the Virtika warehouse in Boulder, caused during a promotional video filming.

David Lesh
David Lesh

Lesh, a Denver, CO resident, posted pictures on Instagram in April of himself snowmobiling in a terrain park at Keystone, with the caption “solid park sesh, no lift ticket needed.”

David lesh, plane crash, California , virtika
Lesh’s plane sinking to the depths following last year’s stunt.

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3 thoughts on “Colorado Man Banned From National Forest Land for Defecating in Lake Claims Image Was Photoshopped – He’s Never Been to Maroon Lake

  1. Lighten up, dude is having fun and living his life. So he took a dump or didn’t, who cares. I’m more concerned about an overbearing government dishing out 30K in fines over a deuce.

  2. I concur with SkiBum. While I often believe authorities are too rigid and prosecutors/sentencing too harsh, this one (incident and punishment) sounds completely legit and reasonable. Even joking about harming pristine public land is, although Constitutionally legal, emphatically uncouth and uncool. And if your own stupidity creates evidence of (actual or implied) violation of law in this context, I hope the judge lowers the hammer…How dare anyone mess with my beloved National Forests!

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