Friday Flash 2/7/2020

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Reminders/Updates for our Tourism Partners

Save the Dates...

  • Bi-Monthly Tourism Partner Call—Calls will be held on the 4th Wednesday at 10:00 AM on the following dates (unless otherwise noted). Please update your calendars. For assistance or information regarding this bi-monthly call, please contact Kev Campbell or call her at 406.841.2887. 
    • March 25, 2020
    • May 27, 2020
    • July 22
    • September 23
    • November (Date TBD)
  • February 10-11, 2020—TAC Meeting & Research Summit (Delta Hotel-Helena). For meeting agenda and other information, please click here
  • March 13-14, 2020—Made in Montana Tradeshow for Food & Gifts (Helena). For more information, click here
  • April 1, 2020—Census Day
  • April 20, 2020—Region/CVB 3rd Quarter FY20 Financial Reports Due
  • April 26-28, 2020—Governor's Conference on Tourism & Recreation (Billings)
  • May 1, 2020—Region/CVB FY21 Marketing Plans due to MOTBD in WebGrants
  • June 8-9, 2020—TAC Meeting (Helena)
  • July 20, 2020—Region/CVB 4th Quarter FY20 Financial Reports Due


Governor's Conference on Tourism & Recreation


Join us for the Governor's Conference on Tourism and Recreation in Billings, Montana on April 26-28, 2020. Bringing together tourism and recreation leaders from every corner of the state continues to elevate these industries by inspiring innovation, educating through on-the-ground insights, connecting partners across the state, and experiencing all that the host city has to offer.

Register now at the special rate of $229 by clicking here. Prices will increase on April 1. 

Conference Speakers

We are pleased to welcome the following speakers to the 2020 Governor's Conference on Monday April 27, 2020 in Billings, Montana.

Peter Shankman

Peter Shankman
The New York Times has called Peter Shankman "a rockstar who knows everything about social media and then some." He is a five-time best selling author, entrepreneur and corporate keynote speaker, focusing on customer service and the new and emerging customer and neurotatypical economy.

With three startup launches and exits under his belt, Peter is recognized worldwide for radically new ways of thinking about the customer experience, social media, PR, marketing, advertising, and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and the new Neurodiverse Economy. Learn more here

Sarah Elkins

Sarah Elkins
Sarah Elkins' expertise in training and facilitating comes from a variety of experiences in everything service-related, from street snow plowing to serving cocktails, from financial & project reporting to the federal government to suggesting reading material for a patron at the library.

Decades of experience implementing technology in the public sector prepared her to help executives in those industries communicate effectively. She's found that not everyone speaks the same language, even if they speak the same language. That's especially true when it comes to translating among technical and non-technical people, and communication between public sector leaders and their employees. Learn more here.

Tourism Grants

2020 Event Grant Application Cycle Now Open

A special application cycle of tourism event grants is now open. The grant awards of $5,000-$25,000 are to support an event being held in Montana before June 30, 2021. The purpose of this grant is to attract non-resident or out-of-area resident visitors to the event, enhancing attendance and increasing visitor-generated revenues.

Awards will be based on the number of total applications received, in addition to a review and evaluation process led by Montana Department of Commerce staff and a member of the Tourism Advisory Council. Learn more here

Made in Montana

Made in Montana Tradeshow: March 13-14, 2020

Now Seeking Nominations for 2020 Retailer of the Year
We are looking for the store owner, manager or buyer who has made a long-term commitment to carry Made in Montana products in their store. This person is someone who makes an outstanding effort to help amplify the Made in Montana brand, and commits themselves to promoting the sale of Made in Montana goods. Submit your nomination by clicking here

Wholesale Buyers
Register as a buyer today and save time at the registration desk! Wholesale buyer day is Friday, March 13 at the Lewis & Clark County Fairgrounds. You can register by clicking here

GET LOST (in Montana)

Get Lost

GET LOST in Montana® License Agreements Available

Don’t lose your ability to GET LOST in Montana® in 2020; renew the license use agreement. Current license agreements expired as of 12/31/19. The GET LOST in Montana® mark is available to tourism partners to use in a manner that reflects positively upon Montana. The downloadable graphics have been used on glassware, garments and all sorts of gear. There is no charge to use the mark, but a license agreement must be signed and on file for use going forward. Please email Kev Campbell or call her at 406.841.2887 for more information.

Tribal News

William B. Pratt Endowment Fund Currently Accepting Applications

The William B. Pratt Endowment Fund is currently accepting applications for grants to benefit Montana indigenous, folk, traditional, and media arts. Grants range from $500 to $1,500 and must be matched dollar-for-dollar in cash or a combination of cash and in-kind contributions. Montana 501(c)(3) organizations, local, state, and tribal governments are eligible to apply. Learn more here


Historical Society: Montana Museum Act Boosts Economic Development, Tourism

During the 2019 Legislature, Gov. Steve Bullock, legislators, and Montanans across the Treasure State worked tirelessly to keep history alive in a variety of ways.

Senate Bill 338, also known as the Montana Museums Act, is best known for providing a portion of the funds to build the new Montana Heritage Center. But the legislation also creates an ongoing historic preservation grant program for counties, incorporated cities or towns, tribal governments, associations and incorporated nonprofit groups.

The grants are meant to increase economic development, revitalize communities and enhance tourism statewide while adding jobs, expanding businesses and improving local tax bases. The 2021 legislature will determine grant recipients with funds to distributed in 2021 across Montana. Read more here.

Montana Historic Preservation Grant Program

The Montana Department of Commerce is now accepting applications for the Montana Historic Preservation Grant Program. The new grant program is designed to support the preservation of historical sites, societies and museums in Montana. With awards of up to $500,000 for each eligible grant recipient, the funding will be used to improve historical sites, historical societies or history museums in Montana. Applications are due by Feb. 28, 2020. Grant recipients will be determined by the Montana Legislature during the 2021 legislative session. Apply here.


2019 Montana Dinosaur Trail Highlights and Looking Ahead in 2020

The Montana Dinosaur Trail set a new visitation record in 2019 with 359,600 visitors reported by the 14 facilities located in 12 communities of central and eastern Montana. This was an 8% increase over 2018 and 5% more than 2017, the previous record year. 2019 also set a new record for non-resident visitors along the Trail with 169,724 from outside Montana. This represents almost half of Trail visitors or 47%.

Dino Passport

For the second year in a row, a record number of Montana Dinosaur Trail Passport holders completed visits to all 14 Trail Facilities and their communities. 2019’s Record 56 Trail Finishers came from 10 different states. Trail Passports are available at each Trail Facility and online

Numerous Trail Facilities expanded their hands-on opportunities for Adults and Youth. Field dig experiences uncovering dinosaur fossils are taking place in more areas of the state. These are offered by the Two Medicine Dinosaur Center in Bynum, Great Plains Dinosaur Museum, Malta, and Carter County Museum in Ekalaka. Youth programs have grown to include not only lab and field dig experiences but weekly science programs, summer paleo camps, guided tours for tots, movie nights at the museums at many of the Trail Facilities including the Museum of the Rockies, Fort Peck Interpretive Center, Makoshika State Park, Carter County Museum, Great Plains Dinosaur Museum, Phillips County Museum, and Two Medicine Dinosaur Center.

New displays and exhibits are being added at a number of facilities. In particular, Havre’s H. Earl Clack Museum expects to receive a skull replica of Zuul, a very complete ankylosaurid specimen known as the “Destroyer of Shins”, in June from the Royal Ontario Museum. Zuul’s discovery in the Havre area was announced in 2017 to much fanfare by the scientific community. A new Apatosaurus display has been added at the Upper Musselshell Museum in Harlowton, a locally-found plesiosaur is on display at the Fort Peck Interpretive Center, and the Frontier Gateway Museum in Glendive has a number of new fossils provided by their local high school and a local donor.

Trail Paleo-artist Jennifer Hall of the Carter County Museum completed poster-style images for each of the 14 Facilities that are now available for purchase on a variety of merchandise at each facility and online. This project was also funded by a MOTBD tourism grant.

Outdoor Recreation

2020 Business of Outdoor Recreation Summit

The Montana Office of Outdoor Recreation and Crown of the Continent Geotourism Council are partnering again to bring back the full Business of Outdoor Recreation Summit which will be held September 14-16, 2020 in Great Falls.

The Montana Trails Coalition will be joining us as our guest co-host organization. The 2018 inaugural full Business of Outdoor Recreation Summit was highly praised, so with the enthusiasm behind that format we are pleased to bring full summit back with a slightly enhanced format. 


How the 2020 Census Impacts Montana Non-Profits

The charitable sector generates incredible impact on Montana communities and economies. Montana has nearly 10,000 nonprofit organizations that employ close to 50,000 people statewide with $7.1 billion in annual revenues.

Every person counted in the census impacts ten years of funding, representation, and allocation of public services and infrastructure. Nonprofits and foundations regularly use this data to better design programs, evaluate impact efforts and meet the needs of communities served.

For example, data may inform the number of childcare centers needed to meet demand, emergency preparedness operations or social service organizations making a case for grant funding. Promoting a complete count of all Montana citizens will provide more accurate data which will help nonprofits have greater community impact for the next decade.

What Can Non-Profits Do to Help?

Nonprofits that have already established a relationship with the communities they serve can act as powerful voices for education about the importance of the Census. When the message to be counted and fill out your form comes from a trusted entity, people are more likely to participate.

  • Join forces with a local Complete Count Committee (CCC) to share information about the Census and serve as a local expert for the communities you serve. 
  • Become Census ambassadors and educate populations at risk to be under-counted to increase census participation and dispel rumors.
  • Join regional count efforts and collaborate with grassroots outreach efforts.
  • Sign up for your facility to become a Be Counted site and provide a computer, phone, and WiFi for the public to self-respond to the Census online.
  • Work together to conduct boots-on-the-ground, get out the count activities.

Need funding for Get-Out-the-Count Activities?

Montana Non-Profit Association is officially accepting Census 2020 Mini-Grant applications. Applicants may find more information on their website. You do not need to be a member to apply for a Mini-Grant. 

Montana in the News
Tourism Partner Shout-Outs, Recognition and News


AnacondaEconomic Outlook 2020: Anaconda is Repairing, Rebuilding, Renovating to Attract New Business—"The history of Anaconda is known to all. It is an unsealed book. It was not taken up out of the gutter, washed and clothed with new raiment to attract and seduce the unwary. It was founded for a purpose, built for a purpose and maintained for a purpose … It has paddled its own canoe from the day the first brick was laid on its broad, level streets up to the present hour, and it is able to paddle it to the end of time …

The above quote appeared in The Anaconda Standard 126 years ago, but the sentiment could also be attributed to Anaconda’s Chief Executive Bill Everett. While he embraces Anaconda’s past, he is just as passionate about the town’s future and working hard to make things happen.

One of Everett’s biggest concerns is the town’s infrastructure, including its streets. Reconstruction is complete on more than 60 blocks of streets, with 35 more scheduled for work this summer. “Anaconda is going forward,” Everett said, “we are rebuilding — no question about it.” In the past 18 months, 40 buildings and houses have either been removed or refurbished as well. One of the reasons behind all the renovations is to attract new businesses, more visitors, and hopefully, new residents. Read more here

Other Dates/Events to Note

SBDC Training Workshops—The Montana SBDC Network offers a wide variety of training and workshops for small businesses in all phases of business development, from start-ups to those looking at growth and expansion. Click here for a list of popular training offered in the SBDC Network. 

February 11-March 19, 2020Economic Outlook Seminars—There are still a few opportunities to attend The University of Montana's Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) seminars that highlight the latest economic trends for local economies and the state of Montana. Seminars will run from 8:00 AM-1:00 PM in each location. To register or learn more, click here.

  • February 11—Kalispell (Hilton Garden Inn)
  • March 17—Havre (MSU Northern)
  • March 18—Lewistown (Central Montana Education Center)
  • March 19—Big Sky (Lone Peak Cinema)

Nonprofit Board Leadership & Stewardship Workshop Series—Montana Nonprofit Association's (MNA) Nonprofit Board Leadership and Stewardship workshop provides content, resources, and insights for newly minted and long-time board members, as well as your leadership team. This workshop will cover topics crucial to board service including culture, committees, calendars, legal responsibilities, and recruitment. Invite your board or your leadership team and make 2020 the year you prioritize board development. To learn more or register, click here. Workshops will take place from 9:30 AM—3:30 PM in each location:

  • February 27—Dillon
  • March 17—Billings
  • April 8—Great Falls
  • April 9—Lewistown

April 28-30, 2020Montana's Healthy Communities Conference (Helena)—Montana Healthy Communities is a collaboration of various organizations committed to raising awareness in Montana about the relationship between the physical and mental health of its citizens and the economic vitality of the community. This includes the coordinated discussion, planning and funding for quality jobs, transportation, research, broadband, schools, safe walking, biking and recreational options, early child care, housing, infrastructure, revitalization and historic preservation. Click here for more information. 

May 3-5, 2020Northwest USA Spotlight Tourism Conference (Helena)—This is a casual and intimate tourism conference that combines educational seminars, networking functions, site-seeing tours and a supplier trade show. If your Region or CVB is looking to get face time with qualified tour operators from all over the US and Canada, there are sponsorship and exhibit opportunities for you at Spotlight. For more information, please contact Erinn Donnell with Visit Helena at 406.443.2117 or

October 6-8, 2020—The 2020 NAISMA Annual Conference is the organization’s 27th Annual Conference (Whitefish)—Co-Sponsored with the Montana Invasive Species Council, the conference will include field trips to visit Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake, and surrounding natural areas. Concurrent sessions will present new techniques and technologies, standards, climate change impacts and adaptation strategies, biocontrol updates, forest pests, feral hogs, new invasive species on the horizon, aquatic invasive species management, education and awareness brands, Cooperative Weed Management Area successes, cross-jurisdictional strategies, and much more. To learn more, click here