EDITOR'S NOTE June 15 @ 2:20 p.m.: This post was updated to clarify that Hanging Lake was not shut down after this incident. The White River National Forest is aware of this situation and is investigating. Hanging Lake is still taking reservations to hike Hanging Lake.

Hanging Lake Trail is back in the news due to the actions of a 34-year-old man.

David Lesh is a part-time Denver resident, part-time Breckenridge resident who is the founder of the Colorado-based outdoor clothing company, Virtika.

In hopes of promoting his brand, Lesh posted a photo of himself on Instagram walking out onto a log in the lake of Hanging Lake Trail, although there are signs up telling people to NOT swim in the water nor climb on the log.

Unfortunately, Hanging Lake is home to an exceedingly fragile ecosystem, which is why swimming in the lake and climbing on the log is prohibited, according to OutThere Colorado. Currently, there's no way to know the extent of the damage his actions caused.

The picture that Lesh posted is below.


Lesh’s original Instagram post caption of him on the Hanging Lake log included this: “Before you feel compelled to offer your opinion of me walking on a log barefoot, consider the measures the Forest Service took to “protect” this area.” However, this part of the caption is now deleted. His response to the backlash was this:   

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by David Lesh (@davidlesh) on

This isn't the first time Lesh has made an alleged negative impact in fragile Colorado ecosystems. On July 3, 2019 he allegedly snowmobiled in an off-limits terrain on Independence Pass. His Grand Junction District Court continued court date is set for June 16, 2020.

VailDaily reported that Lesh's charges included possessing or using a motor vehicle in a designated wilderness, prohibited to operate or possess an over-the-snow vehicle on National Forest Lands in violation of restrictions, damaging any natural feature or other property of the United States, and selling or offering for sale any merchandise or conducting any kind of work activity.

Karin Teague, the executive director of the Independence Pass Foundation and one of the hikers who caught Lesh during the incident last summer, said “There was no snow anywhere in the Lost Man Basin at all,” in an interview with The Aspen Times. “The issue is all the damage it does to the fragile tundra.”

Lesh made headlines one other time in August of 2019, when he "crash-landed" in the Pacific Ocean with a plane. He was not injured when the plane "went down".

Below is the video showing what Lesh's brand is all about. Twitter users were not happy with the man and created this thread.

Lesh's Hanging Lake incident is under investigation by the U.S. Forest Service. Authorities have taken vandalism along Hanging Lake Trail very seriously, with one graffiti artist getting time in prison for spray-painting the word ‘Blest’ on rocks and trees in the area, according to OutThereColorado.

Source: Twitter, YouTubeDenver Post, OutThereColorado, VailDaily, The Aspen Times

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