Friday Flash 2/14/2020

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Reminders/Updates for our Tourism Partners

MOTBD Fast Facts & Funding

The second page of the Fast Facts & Funding document has been updated and is available here. Note: The first page reflects the final numbers from 2018 and will not change until ITRR has final 2019 numbers (approximately June 2020).

Save the Dates...

  • March 13-14, 2020—Made in Montana Tradeshow for Food & Gifts (Helena). For more information, click here
  • 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 25
  • 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 
  • July 20, 2020—Region/CVB 4th Quarter FY20 Financial Reports Due
  • October 5-6, 2020—TAC Meeting 
  • February 8-9, 2021—TAC Meeting 
  • June 14-15, 2021—TAC Meeting 


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. 

Tourism Awards Nomination Deadline Extended 

The deadline to submit nominations for the Montana Tourism Awards has been extended to March 1, 2020. These awards recognize outstanding accomplishments of the people, businesses, organizations and communities that strengthen Montana's tourism and recreation industries. Submit your nomination here

Tourism Grants

2020 Event Grant Application Cycle 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. Applications are due on March 1, 2020. 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

Outdoor Recreation

Glacier National Park: Going to the Sun by Bike

The Going to the Sun Road stretches in the distance like a thin, white line carved into the side of a mountain. The idea of pedaling a bicycle for miles up that line at first seems daunting. Then a realization sets in. This may be one of the most breathtaking rides a cyclist can find in the Northwest, if not the world. Read more here


Montana’s Census Complete Count Committee Releases ‘Counting All Montanans’ TV, Radio PSA

Beginning this week, Montana’s second Census 2020 public service announcement is airing on broadcast television and radio stations statewide.

“Counting All Montanans” is the second of four PSAs that will be released by the State Complete Count Committee. “Counting All Montanans” features a Montana high school student, college student, and construction worker as they explain why counting everyone in the Census is so important.

census psa

Two additional PSAs will be released between now and when the count begins in mid-March. These spots are available in :30 second and :60 second radio and TV ads.

Distributed by the Montana Broadcasters Association, these public service announcements will also be available for individual download and distribution on CENSUS.MT.GOV, Facebook, YouTube and Vimeo. Individuals, businesses, and organizations are encouraged to download the videos and share them on their websites, social media platforms, newsletters, or other digital communication channels.

Counting everyone in Montana is critical because it determines the state’s share of federal funding over the next decade, it shapes local voting districts, and it determines whether Montana will get another representative in Congress.

Montana receives an estimated $2 billion in federal funds each year based on Census data. For every Montana resident counted, the Census estimates the state will receive $20,000 over the decade for things like highway planning, healthcare, educational programs, and infrastructure.

Find additional resources and learn more about how Montana is preparing for the Census at CENSUS.MT.GOV

Download “Counting All Montanans” here:

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


Columbia FallsCapturing Tourism Dollars for Public Safety—Voters in Columbia Falls will consider a resort tax in June. If enacted, more than half of revenue would go to public safety and 25 percent to property tax relief.

To be eligible for a resort tax, a town or area must meet certain population thresholds, as well as demonstrate that a major portion of the economy is based on tourism. The Montana Department of Commerce told Columbia Falls in April 2019 that it qualifies as a resort community.

By state law, local voters must approve a ballot initiative outlining the tax rate, duration, effective date and allocation. Columbia Falls City Manager Susan Nicosia says the proposal will appear in the June 2 primary election. Read more here

HavreBeer Waste Helps Montana Town Save Money On Water Treatment—As America's craft beer industry continues to boom, the waste it generates can pose challenges for sewer systems. But if it's used in the right spot, in the right amount, it's potentially beneficial and can actually save wastewater treatment plants money.

On a recent Friday night, the taproom at Triple Dog Brewing in Havre, Mont., population 10,000, is packed. Three years ago, the town's wastewater plant manager approached brewery owner Michael Garrity with the idea of using leftover barley from making beer to feed his microbes.

If it worked, the little town could potentially avoid having to spend $1 million upgrading its wastewater plant to meet new, more stringent clean water standards. Read more here

Other News

9 Montana Communities Awarded Main Street Program Grants

Nine Montana communities will share $118,000 through the Montana Main Street Program to support historic preservation, wayfinding, and revitalization plans for their downtowns.

Montana’s vibrant and charming towns are what attracts visitors, keeps residents and encourages downtown business growth,” Montana Department of Commerce Director Tara Rice said. These Montana Main Street Program grant dollars will fund important planning efforts that contribute to community vitality and vibrancy.”

The Montana Main Street Program assists communities in revitalizing and strengthening downtown commercial districts, while also offering technical assistance, expertise, and competitive grant funding to its 27 member communities. Read more here

Funding Resources

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 February 28, 2020. Grant recipients will be determined by the Montana Legislature during the 2021 legislative session. Apply here.

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

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. 

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

May 28-29, 2020MEDA Spring Conference (Helena)

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