Kylie Yang joined the GOCO as programs coordinator in March 2024!

Kylie Yang walking amongst golden aspen groves

What did you do before you came to GOCO?

Most recently, I was a regional program coordinator for REI Experiences in the Rocky Mountain/ Great Plains region. I have worked in the outdoor industry in various capacities over the last six years with organizations like the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, and the Continental Divide Trail Coalition. I’ve loved working both on the ground and in support roles, and I’m so excited to be with GOCO for my next chapter!

What brought you to GOCO? 

The mission! Increasing access to the outdoors and conservation are two things I’m very passionate about. GOCO has truly been redefining what grant-making, philanthropy, and equity in the outdoors can look like, and that’s something I want to be a part of.

What has been your favorite part of working here so far?

The people! The GOCO team has been open, welcoming, and so supportive as I start my new role. In addition to that, you can tell that everyone is fully invested in GOCO’s mission and is committed to making Colorado better for all.

What are some of your favorite things to do outdoors?

My absolute favorite thing to do outdoors is helping others get outside! I lead several monthly hikes for different community organizations, helping others build confidence, feel safe, and experience the outdoors in whatever way they’re comfortable  is my passion. In addition to that, I’m a huge backpacker! My true love is long-distance hiking, but in lieu of being able to take months off work, I try to get out on the weekends as much as I can. I started rock climbing about a year ago, and quickly started climbing both indoors and outdoors and still can’t get enough!

Kylie Yang wearing black sunglasses and a light yellow jacket, hair in two braids, posing in a green meadow with rocky mountains in the background during springtime.

Where is your favorite place to get outdoors in Colorado?

This is challenging! On proximity, Indian Peaks Wilderness is hard to beat. There are so many stunning alpine lakes and well-maintained trails. The Gore Range is my current favorite place to hike! The dramatic spires and ridges make for a really striking landscape, and even though it’s only about 60 miles outside of Denver, it still feels rugged and remote. Colorado is truly so diverse and beautiful and there are so many places I’d love to explore!

What is your most memorable outdoors mishap?

Close up of Kylie Yang posing and smiling in front of a mountain backdrop during winter

Wow, so many options here—dropping my phone in my dog’s poop while trying to pick it up? A classic slip and fall on a wet rock? Sinking into calf-deep mud in an alpine lake? Once I was leading a volunteer training for CDTC outside of Helena, Montana, and was trying out a new tent. Overnight, the winds increased and sustained around 40 mph with gusts ranging from 50-60 mph with freezing rain. If you’ve done trail work, you know how physically exhausting it can be, and in the middle of the night, when my tent collapsed on my face, I didn’t have the energy to fix it. I woke up the next morning to find my tent still smacking me in the face, and a hilarious slew of videos from my boss of my face silhouette being continuously smacked by my tent. This is definitely something I look back at and laugh about often.

What is the coolest wildlife you have spotted in Colorado?

I’ve loved seeing elk! I had never seen elk before I moved to Colorado, and they’re truly so magnificent. They’re imposing, but beautiful and I still can’t get over nature’s saxophone (their bugle!). I will say that I am still waiting for a very, very distant mountain lion sighting.