Colorado man who entered Hanging Lake area charged in federal court

Posted at 3:00 PM, Sep 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-17 09:33:40-04

DENVER — A Colorado man has been charged in federal court with six misdemeanors for illegally entering protected federal lands, including prohibited areas of Hanging Lake, according to court documents.

David Lesh faces five counts of entering protected areas and one count of operating a snowmobile off designated routes.

All charges are Class B misdmeanors, punishable by up to six months in jail or a $5,000 fine, though prosecutors are not seeking jail time.

Lesh, the founder of Denver-based outdoor clothing company Virtika Outerwear, drew attention in June when he posted a picture on Instagram of him standing on a log on Hanging Lake. The photo got more than 2,500 likes but also drew hundreds of comments, many criticizing Lesh for entering the lake area.

Lesh, who has a large following on Instagram, posted the picture on June 10, the same day listed in federal charging documents.

The U.S. Forest Service prohibits people from entering the lake area to protect endangered and rare plants and fish.

The snowmobile incident allegedly happened in April in the Keystone ski area.

Last year, Lesh was involved in a small plane accident when his Beechcraft Bonanza went down in Half Moon Bay near San Francisco. The Coast Guard responded and rescued Lesh and one other person.