Friday Flash 8/6/21

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Reminders/Updates for our Tourism Partners

Wildland Fire Information for Travelers

The Montana Department of Commerce will again provide relevant wildland fire updates and resources for tourism partners and the traveling public at MARKETMT.COM. The page is updated as fire activity impacts popular destination areas and includes information on wildland fires, fire restrictions, smoke and air quality across Montana. 

Save the Dates...

  • Tourism Partner Call—This bi-monthly call is dedicated to the six tourism Regions, 16 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. 
    • September 22, 2021
    • November 24, 2021
  • October 4-5, 2021—TAC Meeting (Location TBD)
  • October 20, 2021—Region/CVB 1st Quarter FY22 Financial Reports Due 
  • January 20, 2022—Region/CVB 2nd Quarter FY22 Financial Reports Due
  • February 7-8, 2022—TAC Meeting (Location TBD)
  • April 20, 2022—Region/CVB 3rd Quarter FY22 Financial Reports Due
  • July 20 , 2022—Region/CVB 4th Quarter FY22 Financial Reports Due

Recreate Responsibly & Fire Awareness Toolkits

The Montana Office of Tourism is committed to keeping Montana’s outdoor spaces, communities, residents, and visitors safe. In addition to the Recreate Responsibly toolkit, the Montana Office of Tourism has developed a Fire Safety & Awareness toolkit with resources to help you educate residents and visitors on safe travel best practices when it comes to wildland fires and safety.  

  • New! Fire Safety & Awareness Toolkit:
    • Don't Start the Spark. 
    • Check Current Restrictions.
    • Be Aware of Route Closures.
    • Know Alternate Routes.
    • Check Air Quality.
    • Find Accessible Areas & Activities.
    • Fires Are No Drone Zones. If You Fly, They Can't.

The Recreate Responsibly and Fire Safety & Awareness toolkits contain print and digital templates that may be customized to reflect a website for your organization, community, or business. 

We encourage you to use these pieces to spread the word and build awareness for responsible recreation and fire safety to visitors traveling throughout Montana. You can download the entire toolkit or individual pieces by clicking here

Tourism Grant Program

Tourism Grant Application Cycle Now Open!

The application cycle of the Tourism Grant Program is now open. Tourism grant funds are awarded through the annual application cycle to projects that develop and enhance tourism and recreation products in Montana and have the potential to increase non-resident visitation and expenditures.

A recorded webinar training and workshop is available on-demand via Zoom and provides a review of the program guidelines, timeline, updates to the fiscal year cycle, and an overview of the application.

The 2022 application cycle will close promptly at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, September 15. For more information about the Tourism Grant Program, and to download workshop materials, please visit our website at MARKETMT.COM

Made in Montana

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. 

Wholesale Buyer Registration Open
Join us for the 2021 Made in Montana Tradeshow to discover all new Made in Montana products as well as old favorites for your retail space. This year's show will feature 125 Made in Montana producers, over 30 new exhibitors, and our Native American Made in Montana Pavilion.

Buyers can pre-register through Friday, September 3, 2021, but can also register on-site the day of the show. To learn more or to register as a wholesale buyer, click here

Grown in Montana Members in the News

Lavender Crop Brings Trace of the Mediterranean to MontanaA small farm near Florence is awash with purple this summer. But the color doesn't last forever. Big Sky Lavender is harvesting its crop. On one-acre of their ground, Pat Anderson and his family are in the middle of harvesting 2,500 plants. The plants are three-years-old.

On the day NBC Montana visited the farm, wildfire smoke hung heavy over the landscape, filtering the lavender plants with a kind of soft glow. Pat brought us into his lavender field, knelt down before plants that have been harvested and plants whose deep violet flowers have yet to be cut. He grabs a fistful of uncut flowers and explains the process. "We'll take a small bundle," he said, "usually about 80 stems, and then we trim them all down."

He said the time of harvest depends on the species. "All lavender is Mediterranean," he said. " There's 125 different species. We only have three here." He walks to a lineup of neat rows and showed us an especially vivid lavender.

Stooping to smell the flower, he said, "this is Folgate. Folgate is deep and dark purple. We dry them and use them for arrangements, weddings and farmers markets." Most of the Folgate has already been harvested. "We want to do it on the exact date," he said," then they hold that dark purple."

The Royal Velvet lavender is also a showpiece plant. It's used mostly for decorative purposes, for bundles, sachets and wedding arrangements. But the plant Pat calls his "workhorse" is the Grosso lavender. It too, is beautiful. But it's harvested for its oil. "It drives everything," said Pat. 

We couldn't do our product without this plant." All of the farmer's lavenders produce oil, but the Grosso is Pat's premiere oil producer. "We have roll-ons, " said Pat's brother-in-law and business partner Tom Roessel. "We have moisturizing creams. We have pillow sprays." Read more from NBC Montana here


Please Vote for Montana!

Visit Montana has been notified that we are finalists in two categories of the Mercury Awards of the U.S. Travel Association. The Mercury Awards recognize members for excellence and creative accomplishment in state and territory destination marketing and promotion; and inspire, through showcasing outstanding work, the continued development of imaginative and exciting marketing and promotional programs. Awards will be presented in August at the ESTO conference in Los Angeles, CA.

The categories are “Road Less Traveled” for the Eastern Montana Initiative and “Advocacy and Grassroots Campaign” for our international program with Great American West. Browse through this year's finalists in each category by selecting a program below. Vote for Montana! 

Outdoor Recreation

FWP Director, Deputy Director and Staff to Host Open Houses Around State

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks director, deputy director and members of their staff will be visiting regional offices during a tour of the state in August and September. Director Hank Worsech and Deputy Director Dustin Temple invite the public to join them at regional FWP offices for open houses.

All meetings will run from 5:00–8:00 p.m. The schedule is as follows:

  • August 23: Region 2 Headquarters in Missoula, 3201 Spurgin Road
  • August 24: Region 1 Headquarters in Kalispell, 490 North Meridian Road
  • August 31: Region 4 Headquarters in Great Falls, 4600 Giant Springs Road
  • September 1: Region 6 Headquarters in Glasgow, 1 Airport Road
  • September 7: Region 3 Headquarters in Bozeman, 1400 South 19th
  • September 8: Region 5 Headquarters in Billings, 2300 Lake Elmo Drive
  • September 9: Region 7 Headquarters in Miles City, 352 I-94 Business Loop

“It’s been a busy year and we know people have a lot of things they’re interested in discussing,” said Worsech. “This is a great opportunity for us to hear directly from the public on topics they’re passionate about.” FWP ensures its meetings are fully accessible to those with special needs. To request arrangements, call FWP at 406.444.3186.

American Trails Presents Advancing Trails Webinar Series

New Webinars Added! American 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:

If you missed a previous webinar, they are available for FREE and immediate download here

Heritage/Cultural News

101 objects

101 Reasons to Celebrate!

Join the Montana Historical Society from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 26, for the launch of their newest book, The History of Montana in 101 Objects: Essays from the Montana Historical Society.

Since 1865, the Montana Historical Society has pursued its mission to collect and protect items of significance to Montana’s past. This lavishly illustrated, full-color catalog showcases the remarkable collection of artifacts preserved at MHS. An incredible assemblage of objects and interpretive essays draws attention to the diversity of experiences — the triumphs and the sorrows, the everyday struggles and joys — that create the tapestry that is Montana.

50 objects

Kids will enjoy activities from Montana History for Kids in 50 Objects, With 50 Fun Activities! Written by Steph Lehman, this delightful guide helps even the youngest citizens understand key pieces of Montana’s past. Like memories, they offer glimpses of the people who lived here before us, the Montana that was, and illuminate our path to today. 

Refreshments, activities, and a chance to visit with the authors will round out the evening. Event will take place on the front lawn at the Montana Historical Society, 225 N Roberts, Helena. 

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

AnacondaNew Anaconda Hotel Helps Keep Tourism in Community—In Anaconda, history is around every corner, but businesses are hoping a new build will bring focus to the present.

"Our hotel has 74 rooms," Tammy Mattson, general manager of the Forge hotel. "Every night we're selling out, almost.” The new Forge hotel sits on the outskirts of town. The $9.6 million project was funded by a private owner with $1 million from the Atlantic Richfield grant and $5.75 million total financed -- including a $2 million revolving loan from the county, according to owner Mike Johnson.

It’s welcome news for local motel owners. They’re booked. Working with the new hotel, they are able to keep visitors and business in Anaconda. "The response just keeps getting bigger and bigger," said Mattson. "Just a lot of people visiting Anaconda, people that are actually just finding Anaconda, so that's been fantastic as well.” The impact is being felt around town.

"We've been doing anywhere from 160 to 190 rounds a day on average this summer," noted Zach McArthur, head gold professional at the Old Works Golf Course. "We've set up a stay and play package with the Forge hotel and had a number of people that have taken advantage of the deals. Things have been very busy here, but it's been really good for not just us but the local community as well.” Read more from NBC Montana here

Glacier National ParkGlacier Park’s Dark Skies Illuminated Online—New webcam at Dusty Star Observatory provides visitors rare glimpse of the first international transboundary night sky preserve in the world. 

Experts say that 80% of the United States’ population resides somewhere it can’t view a truly dark-as-night sky. Due to urban light pollution that shrouds the globe, just one-third of humanity can look up at the night sky and clearly see the Milky Way. Fortunately for enthusiasts of pitch-black expanses that glitter with starlight, Glacier National Park isn’t one of those places.

More than a decade ago, park managers realized that Glacier’s dark sky was a unique and important resource — one that may not have been initially considered when the park was created in 1910. To preserve the opportunity to view the Milky Way and other wonders of the galaxy, Glacier National Park and its Canadian neighbor, Waterton Lakes National Park, spent years expanding education opportunities and installing dark sky-friendly lighting. The efforts paid off in 2017, when Waterton-Glacier was named the first international dark sky park on Earth.

In order to protect the darkness and maintain the designation, at least 67 percent of the lights within the park have to be night-sky friendly. That means the light is aimed at the ground and doesn’t illuminate the sky above. Glacier is currently on its way to achieving that goal.

Photographer John Ashley has spent three decades photographing the park and said that while people come to Glacier to see the stunning landscape in daylight, they should also take the opportunity to look up after the sun has gone down. “Glacier is amazing during the day but it’s even more amazing at night,” he said. Read more from the Flathead Beacon here

Other News

DestinationNEXT 2021 Futures Study Now Available

The study incorporates responses from more than 700 destination leaders in 50 countries, and the result is the most comprehensive review of the trends and potential strategies affecting destination organizations around the world.

The DestinationNEXT Futures Study and scenario model can be used as the cornerstones for strategic plans, board retreats or destination master plans. 

Funding Resources

FY 2021 American Rescue Plan Act Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation Notice of Funding Opportunity

Through the Travel, Tourism & Outdoor Recreation program, EDA is focused on accelerating the recovery of communities that rely on the travel, tourism and outdoor recreation sectors. $750 million of EDA’s American Rescue Plan funds are allocated to support the following efforts:

  • State Tourism Grants: $510 million in non-competitive awards to help states quickly invest in marketing, infrastructure, workforce and other projects to rejuvenate safe leisure, business and international travel. Eligible applicants for EDA’s Statewide Planning Grants include Governors, the Mayor of DC, and other applicable Territory leaders or their designees. EDA will send these applicants a formal invitation to apply.
  • Competitive Grants: $240 million to help communities that have been hardest hit by challenges facing the travel, tourism and outdoor recreation sectors to invest in infrastructure, workforce or other projects to support the recovery of the industry and economic resilience of the community in the future. Eligible applicants for EDA’s Competitive Tourism Grants program include a(n):
    • District Organization of an EDA-designated Economic Development District
    • Indian Tribe or a consortium of Indian Tribes
    • State, county, city, or other political subdivision of a State, including a special purpose unit of a State or local government engaged in economic or infrastructure development activities, or a consortium of political subdivisions
    • Institution of higher education or a consortium of institutions of higher education
    • Public or private non-profit organization or association acting in cooperation with officials of a political subdivision of a State
    • Individuals or for-profit entities are not eligible

Email your questions about the American Rescue Plan Travel, Tourism & Outdoor Recreation program to Visit EDA.GOV/Contact to find contact information for your Economic Development Representative. For more information click here

FY22 Montana Indian Equity Fund Small Business Grant 

The Office of Indian Country Economic Development is accepting applications to the fiscal year 2022 Indian Equity Fund (IEF) Small Business Grant program. Applications will be accepted through August 31, 2021.

Grant funds are intended to support tribal members in Montana to start or grow their business by deploying funds to support their business strategy. Funds may be used for the purchase of land, building and equipment, assets including furnishings, equipment and technology and selected use of working capital and business operations. 

Tribal enrolled members of Montana tribes are the only eligible applicants for this portion of the Program. All applications must include documentation of tribal enrollment. A maximum of $14,000 per eligible applicant will be available in fiscal year 2022. 

Native American Business Advisors are available on each Reservation to assist applicants as they develop their grant proposals. Contact information for each advisor is available at NABA.

For more information contact Luke Robinson or visit the website.

Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge

USDA is making available up to $3 million in cooperative agreements under the Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge (RPIC) for eligible entities to help them provide planning support, technical assistance and training to foster placemaking activities in rural communities. Qualified entities can use the funds to help rural communities create plans to enhance capacity for broadband access; preserve cultural and historic structures; and support the development of transportation, housing, and recreational spaces. For more information, click here

Other Events/Dates to Note

August 17–19, 2021Montana Chamber of Commerce 2021 Economic Update Series—The pandemic has taken a toll on small businesses, corporations, and employers. After a year of ups and downs, the Montana Chamber of Commerce is hosting three mid-year Economic Updates presented by Dr. Pat Barkey (University of Montana, Bureau of Business & Economic Research) for in-depth analysis on local, state, and national economic projections.

  • August 17 - Bozeman (GranTree)
  • August 18 - Billings (Northern Hotel)
  • August 19 - Helena (Delta by Marriott)

Registration is $40 for Montana Chamber members and $50 for non-members; price includes meal. For more information or to register, click here

September 23–25, 202148th Annual Montana History Conference (Butte)—After a year of isolation and social distancing, the Montana Historical Society is excited to gather with our friends for “A Blast from the Past! Mining Montana History.” The Montana History Conference is an annual gathering of history enthusiasts from across the state and the nation.

The conference begins on Thursday with workshops ranging from re-registering you livestock brand to tips for getting your historical books and articles published. Thursday also offers an educators’ workshop and the ever-popular, daylong Made in Montana Tour.

Thursday evening finds us in historic Uptown sampling “A Taste of Butte” in a progressive reception featuring the Elks Club, Headframe Distillery, and 51 Below Speakeasy. Afterward, the adventurous can join Ellen Baumler for tales of historical otherworldly encounters followed by a visit to some of Butte’s most haunted places.

On Friday and Saturday, conference sessions will feature a wide array of speakers and topics including scandals at the State Highway Commission and the State Normal College in Dillon, to the Great Explosion of 1895 and tales of Butte’s infamous “Galloping Gallows. For full program and registration information, click here.

October 17–20, 2021MLHA (Montana Lodging & Hospitality Association) Fall Tourism Conference and Trade Show (Whitefish)—Be sure to mark your calendar for the MLHA Fall Conference to be held in Whitefish at both the Grouse Mountain Lodge and The Lodge at Whitefish Lake.

The event will kick off with a networking social Sunday, October 17, at 8:00 pm and conclude on Wednesday, October 20 at 10:30 am after the annual membership meeting. The Conference committee has an exciting program planned featuring dynamic speakers addressing relevant topics, a Trade Show showcasing our Allied Partners and a Tuesday evening Awards Banquet. Registration details will be released in late August.