Friday Flash 8/20/21

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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. 

Recreate Responsibly & Fire Awareness Toolkits 

The Montana Office of Tourism is committed to keeping Montana’s outdoor spaces, communities, residents, and visitors safe. As part of this initiative, the Montana Office of Tourism has developed toolkits with resources to help you educate residents and visitors on safe travel best practices when it comes to wildland fires and safety.  

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

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



Montana Wins Mercury Award at ESTO

Visit Montana has won the "Road Less Traveled" Mercury Award from U.S. Travel Association in Los Angeles this week.

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. 

Visit Montana won the category for the Eastern Montana Initiative. The judges felt that Visit Montana's Eastern Montana Initiative highlighted the beauty, history, and people of the eastern side of the state. 

Tourism Grant Program

Tourism Grant Application Cycle Open Until September 15! 

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.

The 2022 application closes 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

Outdoor Recreation

Missouri Headwaters State Park Survey

FWP is asking for input to better understand current and future uses, visitor satisfaction, and ideas for future development and enrichment opportunities at Missouri Headwaters State Park.

FWP is in the process of preparing a master plan for the park that will help to outline future goals for the park with an eye toward protecting the important natural, cultural, and recreational resources it offers. Public input is a key component to FWP's planning effort and your answers will help us develop a future vision for years to come.

The survey is available online via Call Dave Andrus, Missouri Headwaters State Park Manager, at 406.285.3610 or Jeremy Fadness, WWC Engineering Consultant Project Manager, at 406.443.3962 if you have any questions. Only one response per person please. 

AIS Grant Program Training

Montana DNRC and the Montana Invasive Species Council (MISC) are currently accepting AIS grant applications. AIS Grant Program guidelines and application instructions can be found here.  

Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. on November 3, 2021 to fund aquatic invasive species projects.  Log on to Submittable to apply.

DNRC/MISC AIS Grant -- FY22 Cycle 1 Application

FWP and MISC are hosting a grant training and Q/A for organizations interested in applying for AIS Education and Outreach grants.

Liz Lodman, AIS Information Officer for Fish, Wildlife & Parks, and Stephanie Criswell, AIS Grant Manager for DNRC/MISC will host a training on Thursday, August 26 from 1-4 p.m.

Join us to learn about:

  • AIS Education and Outreach project opportunities
  • AIS Grant Application process
  • Submittable training (new online application system)
  • Q&A
  • Hear from successful grant recipients

Contact Liz Lodman or Stephanie Criswell with questions or to register for the online training.

Tribal Tourism

Three Chiefs Culture Center to be Featured in Montana Tourism Video

No matter the occasion. No matter the time of day. It’s always a good day to become one with the beat of the drum, the songs of the singers and the hypnotic moves of the dancers. It’s always a good day to become one with the of the spirit Ancestors.

That spiritual vibe came to fore at the recent Montana Office of Tourism video shoot at the Tribal Health Department Fitness Center. On hand were a quickly assembled drum group and dancers in full regalia who answered the call to be part of the tourism promotional video shoot in the fitness center gym.

Also present were three videographers, Tory Nelson, Kris Wood and Mason Thibo; and two actors/narrators Cameron Lynch and Hanna Young contracted by the Montana Office of Tourism. The group’s final product will be a tourism road trip video that Lynch and Young will be featured as tourists that stop at various tourist attractions in Montana. They began the day in Glacier National Park, then St. Ignatius; their next scheduled stop would be in Missoula.

“The Montana Office of Tourism is a great help for Montana tribes in the promotion of their culture and the events they do,” said Three Chiefs Culture Center manager Marie Torosian. “The video they are doing today is part of a statewide tourism video that will be distributed internationally.”

Read more from Char-Koosta News here

Heritage/Cultural News

A Tourism Boon—Virginia and Nevada Cities to Receive Increase in State Tourism Funds

Officials from the Montana Heritage Commission (MHC), the state agency that manages and coordinates state owned resources in Virginia City and Nevada City, report record-breaking visitation for 2021.

On August 10, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte made a stop in Virginia City to discuss the community’s economic impact on the state. Bed tax income – state funding directly related to visitation – was on the docket. For the last 25 years the MHC has been annually allocated $400,000 in bed tax funds, used for preservation efforts in the historic communities the commission oversees. During the latest legislative session, with support from Gianforte and local representatives, Senator Jeff Welborn, Ken Walsh, Ryan Lynch and Jim Keane, MHC’s bed tax allocation was significantly upped from $400,000 to $1 million.

With the added funding in mind, the MHC has now identified four projects of priority: Stonewall Hall, Montana’s oldest standing capitol building, the home of Virginia City’s mayor, Henry Gilbert, the home of territorial legislator Richard Hickman, and the home of Sarah Bickford, Montana’s first African American female business owner.

“We are very grateful for the assistance from the Montana Legislature and Governor Gianforte, and excited to see the record-breaking tourist visitation through this ongoing season,” said Elijah Allen, director of Montana Heritage Commission, in a recent press release. Allen continued, “Virginia and Nevada City have a $74.4 million economic footprint, 42 incorporated businesses, and contribute to 1,226 jobs for Montana. This site remains the number one state-owned tourist destination and we will continue to implement the business model of putting all earned revenue into saving Montana’s history and heritage.”

The press release states that the MHC is the only state agency that is self-sufficient and receives its funding through tourism related income and donations. It does not receive any taxpayer funds. The commission oversees over 300 1860’s buildings and structures dating from the 1860s and over one million Americana artifacts from the 1860s to 1960s.

Visit for more information on MHC’s projects and progress.

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


Yellowstone ParkRecord Yellowstone Tourism but Timed Entry Plan Not Imminent—Yellowstone National Park won't implement a timed-entry system at least in the next year but it's possible eventually, the park's superintendent said.

Yellowstone is among the busiest national parks during the summer. Other busy parks, including Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, have implemented timed entry, which requires visitors to reserve a time when they may enter.

The goal is to reduce auto traffic, which at Yellowstone's busier entrances can stretch up to a mile (1.6 kilometers) during summer, the Cody Enterprise reports.

Timed entry in Yellowstone would most likely be limited to the South entrance north of Grand Teton National Park and West entrance near West Yellowstone, Montana, Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly said Friday. The gate west of Cody, and the Montana gates outside Gardiner and Cooke City, are less busy. Read more from US News here

Other News

Governor Gianforte Invests $15 to Increase Access to Affordable Housing

Governor Greg Gianforte Monday announced the state will invest up to $15 million to fund affordable housing projects across Montana.

“Supply chain disruptions and shutdowns from COVID-19 have limited the housing supply, driven up prices, and made finding an affordable home increasingly out of reach for many hardworking Montanans,” Gov. Gianforte said. “These funds will provide nearly 1,000 affordable homes for low income, elderly, and disabled Montanans.” Read the full story here.

Funding Resources

CARES Act Funding Available

Through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the State of Montana, Department of Commerce was awarded Community Development Block Grant funds (CDBG CARES) to support communities as they respond to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eligible applicants include towns, cities, and counties. Billings, Great Falls, and Missoula – known as entitlement areas – are eligible applicants for CDBG CARES, but CDBG CARES regulations limit the amount of CDBG CARES the State of Montana can award to these entitlement areas. Other entities such as tribes, non-profits, public housing authorities, etc., although not eligible directly, may apply in partnership with an eligible applicant.

Applications due by September 15. Learn more and apply today at COMDEV.MT.GOV.

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.

Other Events/Dates to Note

American Trails Presents Advancing Trails Webinar Series—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:

August 23–September 9, 2021FWP Director, Deputy Director Hosting Open Houses Around the 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.

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 your 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.

September 27-30, 2021The 2021 NAISMA (North American Invasive Species Management Association) Annual Conference (In-person and virtual options to attend)—The NAISMA Board of Directors, Staff, and Planning Committee are excited for this year’s opportunity to bring a high quality agenda, professional development, and networking opportunities to invasive species managers in North America and beyond.

This year’s conference is a great deal for anyone who does invasive species management, research, policy, or outreach and education who are looking for an affordable professional development opportunity. For more information or to register, 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.