Outdoor Apparel Company Owner Guilty of Violating National Forest Service Regulations as part of Marketing Campaign

3 mins read

GRAND JUNCTION – David Lesh was found guilty of violating National Forest Service regulations for snowmobiling at Keystone Resort, which was closed in April 2020.  United States Magistrate Judge Gordon P. Gallagher issued the findings on October 22, 2021, in a written decision. 

In its Decision and Order, the Court found that as part of an advertising and marketing campaign for his outdoor apparel company, Lesh rode a snowmobile at Keystone Resort in April 2020, and then posted pictures of his activities on Instagram.  The Court found posting the photos on Instagram constituted selling or offering for sale merchandise or conducting unauthorized work activity on National Forest Service lands.  

At the time Lesh entered the resort, Keystone was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Keystone employees had used plows to create snow barriers in front of terrain park features to make them inaccessible.  Signs were posted around Keystone indicating that the ski areas and terrain park were closed.  On April 25, 2020, snowmobile tracks were found looping around a ski jump.  There was also evidence that a utility shed had been entered and a snow shovel removed.  Snowmobile tracks also indicated that snowmobiling had occurred around the resort, in the terrain park, through the Erickson Bowl, and down a trail on National Forest Service lands. 

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Pictures were posted on Lesh’s Instagram account on April 25, 2020, featuring an individual wearing outdoor apparel and jumping a red and black snowmobile off a jump at Keystone.  A caption initially read,  “Solid park sesh, no lift ticket needed.” 

A bench trial in this matter occurred in Grand Junction on August 5, 2021.  The Court’s decision finds Lesh guilty of violating 36 C.F.R. Sections 261.14 and 261.10(c).  Both offenses are misdemeanors.  Lesh will be sentenced by the Court at date that is yet to be determined.  

The matter was investigated by the National Forest Service.  Assistant United States Attorney Peter Hautzinger is in charge of the prosecution.

Case Number:  1:20-po-07016-GPG

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