Friday Flash 6/4/21

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Reminders/Updates for our Tourism Partners

Save the Dates...

  • June 14-15, 2021—TAC Meeting. Click here for meeting agenda, other materials and information to attend in-person, via Zoom or by phone. 
  • July 20, 2021—Region/CVB 4th Quarter Financial Reports Due 
  • October 4, 2021—TAC Meeting (Location TBD)
  • Tourism Partner Call—This bi-monthly call is dedicated to the six tourism Regions, 18 CVBs, the Montana Tourism Advisory Council and specific industry stakeholders. The calls are held on the fourth Wednesday, every other month from 10:00-11:00 a.m. For assistance or information regarding this call, please contact Barb Sanem or call her at 406.841.2769. 
    • July 28, 2021
    • September 22, 2021
    • November 24, 2021

Recreate Responsibly

Recreate Responsibly Toolkit and Resources

The Montana Office of Tourism is committed to keeping Montana’s outdoor spaces, communities, residents, and visitors safe. Please join us communicating these guidelines for responsible recreation to visitors traveling throughout Montana.

  • Know Before You Go. Check the status of the place you want to visit. If it is closed, don’t go. If it is crowded, have a backup plan.
  • Plan Ahead. Prepare for facilities to be closed, pack a lunch, and bring essentials like hand sanitizer and a face covering.
  • Explore Locally. Limit long-distance travel and make use of local parks, trails, and public spaces. Be mindful of your impact on the communities you visit.
  • Practice Physical Distancing. Keep your group size small. Be prepared to cover your nose and mouth and give others space. If you are sick, stay home.
  • Play It Safe. Slow down and choose lower-risk activities to reduce your risk of injury.
  • Search and rescue operations and health care resources are both strained.
    Leave No Trace. Respect public lands and waters, as well as Native and local communities. Take all of your garbage with you.
  • Build an Inclusive Outdoors. Be an active part of making the outdoors safe and welcoming for all identities and abilities.

As part of this initiative, the Montana Office of Tourism has developed a toolkit of resources to help you educate residents and visitors on safe travel best practices.

The toolkit includes:

  • Printable Posters: Hang in storefront windows, public bulletin boards, etc. Full color and black-and-white versions available.
  • Printable Flyer: Have copies available as a grab-and-go resource for guests.
  • Printable Table Tents: For placement on tables and counters.
  • Website Copy: Update your website to help educate visitors and guests before they arrive.
  • Social Media Posts: Image and copy pairings to post on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
  • Social Media Badges: PNG files to place over images if desired.
  • Press Release Templates: Get the word out through your local news channels.
  • Radio PSA Templates: Get the word out through your local radio stations.

To learn more or download the toolkit, click here

Rec Responsibly


As you prepare for travelers coming to Montana in 2021, we're ready to help you plan for quantities and distribution of our publications. We have the following publications available:

  • Official Highway Map (250/box or 25/bundle),
  • Unforgettable Road Trips Booklet (100/box),
  • Family Style Adventures (250/box),
  • 2020 Montana Accommodations Directory (50/box),
  • Geo-tourism map Crown of the Continent (150/box),
  • Indian Country (130/box),
  • Dino Trail (600/box).

To place your orders, please contact Carmen Williams or Leslie Redden at or call 406.841.2870.

Made in Montana

Shop Local

We encourage you to support your local businesses when possible. The Made in Montana online directory is a great place to find Made in Montana items and support local businesses. 

Eat Local

Now more than ever, the "eat local" movement is gaining interest. People want to know where their food is coming from. Our Taste our Place program aims to promote and increase the use of locally sourced ingredients at Montana restaurants, bars and other establishments serving food and beverages. Check out this list of Taste our Place members and savor the Montana flavor when dining out.   

2021 Made in Montana Tradeshow 

The Made in Montana Tradeshow for Food & Gifts is scheduled for September 10-11, 2021 in Helena at the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds. 

Tourism Grants

Our Grants Make a Big Impact in Montana Communities

Montana Learning Center Awarded Grant to Build New Observatory and More—The Montana Learning Center (MLC) at Canyon Ferry Lake was awarded more than $67,000 from the Montana Department of Commerce’s Tourism Grant program. In a press release, the center says the funds will be used to upgrade telescopes in the existing observatories, enhance public outreach, and promote awareness of the facility.

The funding will help Montana Learning Center expand its programs and observatories, which consist of the largest public-access telescope in Montana, and a robotic telescope equipped with a camera specifically designed to capture stellar objects.

The camera system will be upgraded to a wide-field astrograph to capture larger swaths of deep sky. At 24 megapixels and suited for both color and narrowband photography, the astrograph system produces detailed images.

The Learning Center will also add two additional telescopes in addition to the astrograph, one for solar viewing, and the other for lunar and planetary observation. These additions will ensure that visitors have access to a broad range of astronomical observations, including solar, lunar, planetary, and deep space. Read more from KTVH here

Montana Film Office

“Yellowstone” Back to Filming In Montana; Extras Needed Next Week

The “Yellowstone” series starring Kevin Costner is back to filming its fourth season in Montana, and extras are needed for some scenes next week.

Currently, the casting department is looking for extras to shoot scenes on June 10 and June 11 in Hamilton, Montana, but actors should be prepared to work late, possibly until 2 a.m.

The roles the department is casting for include: protestors (men between 18 and 35 are needed, as well as ethnic men and women older than 18) and an on-air reporter (men between 30 and 55 who are clean cut). All extras are paid at least $122.50, with a $35 gas bump added on.

Men and women who have interesting vans (Winnebagos, Airstreams or any other older, “hippie-ish” vehicles) are also encouraged to contact the casting department. Their vans can either be dropped off for three days and then picked up (with the pay being $600), or the van’s owner can bring the vehicle to the set and also work as an extra, getting paid for both their time and the vehicle. Read more from Cowboy State Daily here

International Marketing

International Media

Travel writers have been hit hard by the pandemic. They have been unable to travel and found their usual publication sources and income quickly disappearing as media outlets downsized, reduced frequency of publications or completely eliminated contracts with freelancers. Freelance journalists found even more creative ways to turn material from past press trips into new stories about the same destination, many focusing on new themes such as responsible travel or wellness experiences.

The same has occurred with travel journalists who visited Montana in recent years. Two examples are Monika and Rainer Hamberger from Germany, and Marco Berchi from Italy. The Hambergers visited Montana on a press trip in September 2019 and produced a story about western Montana for several upscale magazines and online publications. Then in February and April 2020 they produced two stories on Glacier Country, and in April 2021 produced two stories - one on Helena, the 320 Ranch, North American Indian Days, and the Glacier area; and another on the Glacier area.

Similarly, Marco Berchi visited many locations across Montana on an extensive press trip back in July 2017 and has produced multiple stories on different angles since his initial coverage of many regions in our state. He writes for several national newspapers and online travel publications in Italy. Most recently in April, Berchi covered Yellowstone and Gardiner, which was another angle on the same material gathered from past press trips.

Australian Helen Hayes has covered many aspects of summer and winter activities in Montana and finds creative ways to get new story angles from material she gathered on several visits to our state, the most recent of which was in June 2019. She continues to find ways through her articles to keep Montana top of mind for Australian family travelers.

Montana has always been a great destination for travel media to get material for inspirational stories, and during the pandemic the focus shifted even more to our open spaces and road trip themes - perfect angles for inspiring travel to our state. For more information about international media coverage, please contact Kim Birrell

Tribal Tourism

Restarting Tourism Marketing in Indian Country

June 10, 2021—(8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.) Restarting Tourism Marketing in Indian Country WebinarThe American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA) is hosting a free tourism marketing workshop in the Pacific Northwest. As tribal nations and tourism enterprises, and Native-owned businesses re-open to visitor traffic, a top need identified by these businesses is how to maximize their outreach to potential visitors. This workshop will show how tribes can grow their cultural tourism efforts through website development and by maximizing audio and video throughout their marketing efforts.

Additionally, AIANTA CEO Sherry L. Rupert and AIANTA Tribal Content Producer Bruce Rettig will showcase AIANTA’s collaborative efforts in partnership with the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail in developing cultural heritage content and itineraries for the Trail’s new geotourism website and AIANTA’s consumer

Please join us to learn more about AIANTA’s marketing initiatives and to share your own projects, attractions and needs. We look forward to seeing you at the session. For more information or to register for this free workshop, click here

Outdoor Recreation

Murphy Creek Rec Area Dedication Set for June 5

By the explanation of what National Trails Day encompasses, it sounds like it could have been created right here in Mineral County: National Trails Day was established to celebrate, improve and enjoy America's magnificent trail system. It is the nation's largest celebration of trails and all that goes with it.

In addition to the national trail system, there are countless miles of state, county and local town trail systems to be enjoyed. National Trails Day is held on the first Saturday in June and with activities and family events taking place all over the country, an exciting day is on tap for everyone who attends the Murphy Creek Recreation Area for its official dedication.

Located four miles west of Superior on the Southside Road this will soon be known as a destination for locals. First of all, if you’re new to the area or hearing about this latest site for the first time, the terrain is suited for both our elderly population and our younger families with children and pets for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing.

The proposed picnic area will provide a place to relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings with a sidebar of providing a look into our local forest management history. Read more from the Clark Fork Valley Press Mineral Independent here.  

Montana Zipline Adventures Opens in Anaconda

There's a new activity for thrill seekers in the heart of southwest Montana. Montana Zipline Adventures sits on 420 acres in Anaconda. It recently celebrated its grand opening May 21.

Owner Andre Graa said he came up with the idea after ziplining with his wife in Hawaii. Once they got home, he knew what they needed to do. "We felt that our property would be really great for a zipline park," said Graa. "We had a road partially up four years ago -- recently we finished putting up the rest of the roads and the lines."

Now they're open and busy, although they were snowed out opening weekend. "We have seven lines with one double -- over 9,300 feet altogether," Graa noted. So far, the new location has attracted locals and travelers alike. "I love first-timers," operations manager Austin Andrew said. "It's a whole new experience. Read more from NBC Montana here

2021’s Biggest Summer Travel Trend? The Great Outdoors

After a year and a half of lockdown, quarantines, and restrictions, America is finally, finally open for warm-weather adventures. And, according to Airbnb, everyone has the same type of trip in mind: one to the great outdoors.

Of their top 13 trending destinations for summer 2021, eight of them were near a national park or forest. It’s an interesting phenomenon—sure, in 2020, a trip to a big city was near impossible due to COVID-19 restrictions and associated health risks. But, by and large, most urban areas will reopen this summer. So it seems last year reminded us of the beauty of wide open spaces, of reconnecting with nature, and getting away from it all.

Vogue highlights a few of these sought-after wilderness destinations and mountain towns, from Whitefish, Montana, to the seaside getaways near Acadia National Park. May your summer vacation planning commence. Read more from Vogue here

21 Mussel Boats Intercepted this Season

Montana’s aquatic invasive species program is preparing for a busy season. Watercraft inspectors have intercepted 21 mussel-fouled boats so far; the latest boat was stopped at the Broadus watercraft inspection station on Wednesday, May 19. Inspectors found dry and dead mussels on a commercially hauled outboard motorboat from Ohio that was destined for Washington state.

On May 18, an outboard motorboat from Lake Michigan was intercepted at the Wibaux inspection station. The boat owner had recently purchased the used boat and intended to launch in Washington state the next day.

Inspectors conducted a hot water decontamination on each boat before releasing them and notifying officials in Idaho and Washington. When boat owners follow the practice of “Clean-Drain-Dry” they can prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.

Invasive zebra and quagga mussels can be transported on boats in the adult or larvae life stage. Adult mussels have hairs called byssall threads that allow them to attach to structures under water, such as boat hulls and motors. Adult mussels can survive out of water for 30 days. Microscopic mussel larvae can float unseen in water found in bilges, ballast tanks and live wells.

Boaters must stop at all watercraft inspections stations they encounter. All watercraft (motorized and non-motorized) coming into Montana from out of state must be inspected. This includes Montana residents returning from a fishing or boating excursion out of state. Failure to stop at inspection stations could result in a fine of up to $500.

Learn more at or call the FWP Aquatic Invasive Species Bureau at 406.444.2440.

Heritage/Cultural News

Two Helena-Area Properties Nominated for Inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places

Nominations for the McMaster Ranch, a 160-acre ranch built in 1893 that sits at the south end of the Spokane Bench between Helena and Winston, and Shaw's Best Factory, a two-story building made of stone that manufactured baking powder and pancake flour, are headed to the desk of the Keeper of the National Register in Washington, D.C.

The Keeper has 30 days after receipt to review the nominations. "We're thrilled with the caliber of these nominations," National Register Coordinator for the Montana State Historic Preservation Office John Boughton said in a press release. "Each nomination represents an unusual addition that protects our historic properties." Read more from the Helena IR here


Montana Ag Network: State Grain Labs Are Important to Montana Farmers

Montana farmers raise some of the highest quality barley, wheat and pulses in the world. And the State Grain Labs guarantee protein grade and other qualities that serve as the basis for price settlements between buyers and sellers.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Montana State Grain Labs, which are located in Great Falls and here in Plentywood. Bureau Chief Dan Reimer says just like they did in the beginning, the state grain labs continue to serve a very important purpose for both Montana farmers and our export customers around the world.

“The labs are the only federally licensed labs in the state,” said Reimer. “So, any of our producers needing certification to be able to ship out of country and support the world is going to come through us or one of the ports. We are it in Montana for the official certifications and that's very important. It requires all the federal licensing for our staff so they're always doing the same job, the same way, and our customers can count on it being accurate.” Read more from KXLF here

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

AnacondaAnaconda-Deer Lodge County, Montana-A County Reborn—Anaconda–Deer Lodge County is shaking off the shackles of its past and reinventing itself. “It’s a great time for Anaconda,” says Bill Everett, the Montana county’s CEO. “Especially after 30 years of heading in the wrong direction. We went from a Superfund site, to basically a base camp for recreation. In the last few years, we’ve turned the town around and are seeing tremendous growth and a rejuvenation of the whole community.”

The county of approximately 9500 was founded in the late 1800s as a mining town and home to the Anaconda Smelter Co. When the smelter – the county’s primary source of employment at the time – shut down in the early 1980s, the town went into a near depression. But recently things have been changing rapidly as remediation of the county’s land is well on its way, leaving room for a season of reinvention.

The remediation means that Anaconda’s industrial park, which has sat empty for the past 30 years, can now begin to house businesses again. Everett acknowledges, “Most of that’s been cleaned up and we are starting to rejuvenate our industrial areas. We have a big garage door manufacturer coming into town this year that will begin their construction sometime soon. And we brought in Intercontinental Truck Body, which employs quite a few people. They are a phenomenal company that came to town about a year and a half ago. So, our industrial park is starting to boom again.” Read more from Business View Magazine here.

Discover KalispellWith Confidence in Travel Increasing and Summer on the Horizon, Travelers Prepare to Explore America—As confidence in travel continues to increase and concerns around COVID-19 decrease, more than 70% of Americans say they are excited and looking forward to traveling this summer, according to a recent survey from Destination Analysts. And while summer is on the horizon, it’s sure to be unlike any other, with American travelers participating in a variety of vacationing styles, including close-to-home adventures, longer vacations and bucket-list trips.

In northwest Montana, Discover Kalispell is helping travelers get back on the road through their newly launched Great American Road Trip campaign. When you book a three-night stay at a Kalispell hotel, you’ll receive a free America the Beautiful, National Park Annual Pass that provides entry to 2,000 federal recreation sites, including national parks.

“Kalispell is the gateway to some of the country’s most incredible and untouched spaces,” said Diane Medler, Executive Director for Discover Kalispell, The Kalispell Convention & Visitor Bureau. “And with travelers hitting the road again, when they stay three consecutive nights in Kalispell, we’re giving them a free national park pass so they can more easily explore all of the wonders in America’s backyard.” Read more from Global Newswire here

KalispellAlaska Airlines Begins Service to New York, Expands Montana Flights from San Diego—Alaska Airlines recently began daily nonstop service from San Diego International Airport to New York via John F. Kennedy International Airport and seasonal nonstop service to Bozeman, Montana, via Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport. 

"Alaska Airlines' new flights to JFK will provide San Diegans yet another option to access the greater New York area," said Kimberly Becker, president and CEO of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority.

"We are excited to add more service to Montana, a state that has an abundance of outdoor recreation and is home to several national parks." Read more from CBS8 here

ShelbyShelby Receives $9,000 in Grant Funding to Repair Historic Shelby Town Hall—The Montana Department of Commerce announced that 23 Montana communities will share more than $5 million of grant funding for 26 historic preservation projects. Shelby will be receiving $9,000 in grant money for the Old Town Hall, aka the Visitor’s Center and Chamber office.

According to Community Development Director Lorette Carter, the funds Shelby receives will be used for the repair and recoating of the Historic Shelby Town Hall roof. 

“These grants will help communities share stories of the past, giving visitors and residents a true glimpse of Montana’s fascinating, deep-rooted history,” Commerce Director Scott Osterman said. “Projects like these can really help rejuvenate Montana communities with increased economic development, statewide tourism and job creation.”

Improvements to these historical sites, societies and museums may include infrastructure repair, building renovations, maintenance, remediating building code issues, security enhancements and fire protection. The grants, awarded through Commerce’s Montana Historic Preservation Grant Program, will be used to improve historical sites, historical societies and history museums in Montana. Read more from the Cut Bank Pioneer Press here

Visit Southeast MontanaHello Montana–Visit Southeast Montana, Summer Camping—Brenda Maas joins Hello Montana from Visit Southeast Montana. The regional tourism bureau is promoting camping activities, including a camping facility at Makoshika State Park near Glendive that now has potable water. Watch the segment from Your Big Sky here.


Update on American Travel in the Period of Coronavirus—Week of May 31 from Destination Analysts

With COVID-19’s impact on American travel sentiment plummeting and summer travel demand healthy, the majority say they are ready for large events like concerts and festivals—especially if they are outdoors: Yet expectations for destinations to take pandemic precautions remain, both across the U.S. and among younger travelers.

Key Findings to Know: 

  • Historic lows reached in COVID-19’s impact on travel sentiment: Americans concerned about contracting the coronavirus dropped another 10 percentage points in the last week and is now well below 50% (43.3%). Worries about the pandemic’s impact on personal finances (44.3%) as well as the national economy (69.3%) also hit historic lows. Now the average perception of travel & leisure activities as unsafe is just 25.9%—less than half of what it was at the start of the year. Lack of confidence in travel’s safety is now at only 16.1%, and just 24.0% would feel guilty traveling now (meanwhile, 54.1% said they absolutely wouldn’t). Avoidance of international (56.4%) as well as convention related travel (45.3%) hit record lows again this week, as well.
  • Travel-related bookings expand: With increased openings and capacity at major venues across the United States, the percent of travel bookers who purchased sporting event tickets for a trip doubled in the last week (to 16.4% from 7.8%).
  • Summer travel demand is healthy: Approximately 77% of American travelers report that they are taking leisure trips in the next 3 months. These travelers will take an average of 2.1 overnight trips this summer. Average leisure trip spending during this period is anticipated to be $1,691. Visitation to cities continues to return, with 42.1% reporting they will visit an urban destination during their summer travels, up from 37.8% last week.
  • Expectations for pandemic precautions remain: Over 70% of Americans who are traveling in this summer still want to see their trip destinations instituting at least one pandemic protocol, including mask requirements (38.4%), social distancing enforcement (35.7%) and capacity limits (33.6%), and will be researching this information in advance. Interestingly, desire for pandemic prevention protocols is not a function of the types of destinations they are headed to, but rather age and geography. While over 80% of Millennial and Gen Z travelers want some COVID mitigation protocols in place, Boomers are more split—60% want them and 40% say that none of these are necessary anymore. And those in the Southern U.S. are twice as likely than those residing in other regions to feel pandemic protocols are no longer necessary (38.9%).
  • Many are ready for large events, especially if they are outdoors: While Americans’ readiness when it comes to travel in general is at a record 77.9%, many, but still somewhat fewer, are ready to attend large events like concerts and festivals. Outdoor versus indoors is certainly a key factor. This week, 70.6% of American travelers describe their mindset around large outdoor events as ready. When it comes to large indoor events however, readiness is at 57.9%. And despite the relatively high degree of readiness for large events overall, it is important to note that 80% desire pandemic protocols in place at these functions, including attendance limitations and social distancing.
  • The relationship between desired experiences and destination choice: When it comes to what they most want to get out of travel, those headed to cities are relatively less interested in relaxation but most seeking great food experiences. Those looking to party and cut loose during their travel are likelier to be found in beaches, mountains and theme parks. Those heading to rural areas and small towns are more likely to be driven by the desire to experience new places and things. And, of course, those seeking adventure and exploration are likelier to be found in parks and mountains. Beauty is more of a driver for National Parks travelers than relaxation.
  • More are welcoming tourism locally: For the first time in the last 18 months, the proportion reporting that they want travelers in their community (33.0%) finally outweighs the proportion who do not (31.6%). Those that report they would be happy to see an advertisement promoting their own community for tourism reached a record high 57.1%. In addition, 41.8% said they would be happy if conventions and conferences were planned in their community this summer. Finally, Americans comfortable enjoying leisure activities in their home community is at a pandemic-high (66.9%).

Read more from the Destination Analysts report here. The May 24 report can be found here

Other News

See you in 20 (or less): Living Where Access is Within a Short Walk or Bike Ride

How cities aim to incorporate getting to and from common destinations in less than an hour
When Magdalena Reilly was looking for a place where she could live and work without owning a car, she settled on Eugene, Ore., among a small list of options across the country. Four years later, she and her husband haven’t looked back, as they’re able to reach everything they need within a 20-minute walk or a short bike ride.

“In the world that we live in now, where everything is technology-based and people sit in front of screens for work, it's nice to get away from that,” Reilly said about her bicycle commute. “It's a way to be outside in nature, with trees everywhere and the smell of mountain air. And it's great exercise. Since I bike to work it's almost like I don't have to work out.”

Making cities more walkable involves creating a more compact footprint, where more businesses are built near existing homes. But it also means building housing near existing businesses, such as stores and restaurants.

“Compact development and 20-minute neighborhoods are the twin pillars of growth management for Eugene,” said Terri Harding, the city of Eugene's principal planner for long-range planning. “We want to promote equitable access to city services in all parts of the city.” Read more from the Washington Post here

Other Dates/Events to Note

June 29-30, 2021MEDA Summer Conference—It is time to identify priorities and build strategies based on the Montana Next Generation of Community and Economic Development Tools study. MEDA and the NextGen Stakeholder Group are providing a facilitator so that on June 29th and 30th, we can identify priorities and strategize. A packet of “homework” will be sent prior to the conference so that you can be prepared. YOU, whether via Zoom or in person, are needed at the table. It’s time. For more information or to register, click here

American Trails Presents Advancing Trails Webinar SeriesAmerican Trails brings agencies, trailbuilders, advocates, and volunteers the latest in state-of-the-art information on all aspects of trails and greenways. Our webinars focus on a variety of trail topics, usually applicable to all trail types, with expert presenters. Webinar topics are chosen from current cutting-edge trail topics selected from attendee/presenter suggestions as well as recent popular conference sessions. For more information, visit or click on individual webinar links below. 

Upcoming webinars:

June 30-July 1, 2021Western Governors' Association (WGA) Annual Meeting (Virtual)—The event hosted by WGA Chair, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, will highlight the Governors discussing their ongoing work to manage the impact of COVID-19 and insightful conversations about the most significant issues facing the region. The two-day meeting will feature the Governors in roundtables with special guests on topics such as emergency response, public lands challenges, shared stewardship, infrastructure and workforce. For more information or to register, click here