Destination stewardship — the concept of balancing visitor growth with the long-term health and vibrancy of Montana’s communities, economic prosperity, natural resources and quality of life — has taken on new importance during the COVID-19 pandemic. While destinations across the globe have seen significant drops in visitation levels, Glacier Country (eight western Montana counties: Flathead, Glacier, Lake, Lincoln, Mineral, Missoula, Ravalli, and Sanders) continues to see record-breaking numbers of visitors. This surge in visitation puts pressure on natural resources and infrastructure, amplifying issues related to workforce, and leading to negative resident sentiment toward tourism. While it is particularly challenging for Glacier National Park, which has seen more than three million visitors annually in recent years, all western Montana communities are facing stewardship challenges. How can we responsibly steward our destination in order to result in more livable and sustainable places? In Missoula, Glacier Country Tourism — our region’s Destination Marketing Organization – is one of the first DMOs in the nation to take on these challenges. At City Club Missoula on May 9, hear from a panel about the importance of stewardship; strategies that benefit human, wildlife, cultural, economic, and ecological health; and how one local outfitter incorporates these concepts into their business model.
- Doug Mitchell, Executive Director, Glacier National Park Conservancy
- Racene Friede, President and CEO, Glacier Country Tourism
- Sarah Lundstrom, Glacier/Crown of the Continent representative, National Parks Conservation Association
- Gia Fairchild, Lewis & Clark Adventures
- Moderator: Justin Angle, Associate Professor of Marketing and the Poe Family Distinguished Faculty Fellow; Creator and host of “A New Angle” podcast