Dan joined the GOCO Programs team (North Central Region) in Summer 2021. 

What did you do before you came to GOCO?

Prior to joining the GOCO team, I was fortunate to serve as the Grassroots Coordinator for Colorado Trout Unlimited. In that role, I worked directly with TU chapters and local communities to develop watershed management plans, restore river habitat and native trout species, and promote strong and equitable public access to fishing opportunities across the state. Leading up to my work with Trout Unlimited, I lived in Gunnison, CO, where I wore many hats. I was the director of a conservation-focused outfitting business, river guide, ski patroller, and restoration technician.

Dan OmastaWhat brought you to GOCO?

I feel extremely fortunate to work for an organization like GOCO – which is committed to protecting and restoring so many of the outdoor resources that make Colorado the amazing place we call home. In addition to outdoor recreation and conservation, my passion lies in elevating community leaders in their efforts to create positive change. I believe that GOCO marries those three passions, and I feel privileged to support our communities and natural resources through this new role.

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

The passion and skill of the GOCO staff and our partners. I am constantly humbled and inspired by the dedication of everyone working within GOCO and the many organizations we work with.

What is your typical day like?

Much of my day is dedicated to meeting with partners and learning about the various challenges and opportunities facing communities in my region. My role is to support them in identifying the resources they need to make a positive impact.

What are some of your favorite things to do outdoors? 

I love to be outside as much as possible. That includes rafting, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, skiing, exploring the backcountry, river surfing, and more! 

Where is your favorite place to get outdoors in Colorado?

I love exploring the backcountry – whether it is in the winter or the summer. Being on or by a river is also a favorite passion of mine. 

What is your most memorable outdoors mishap? 

While working as a river guide on a trip in Cataract Canyon on the Colorado River, the old frame on one of our rafts broke on the 4th day of a 9-day trip. We had to stop midway through the trip to derig the entire boat, reinforce the frame with nearby tree limbs and straps, and then limp the boat along for the remaining five days. The mission of the trip was to identify and remove noxious weeds in the canyon, so we could not just leave early. Through a little ingenuity and teamwork, we were able to make it work. During that same trip, we found a pumpkin floating down the Colorado River in the remote canyon wilderness and carved it for Halloween (day six of the trip). It was meant to be!

What is the coolest wildlife you have spotted while outdoors in Colorado?

While backpacking in the Flat Tops Wilderness area, our group saw a momma bear and her two playful cubs across the river. We were far enough away for them to not notice but were able to watch for a long time as they played in the small creek and chased each other around the willows.