MTPR

Marne Hayes

About 200 people attended the festival's business panel at the Wilma Theater in Missoula
Eric Whitney

Groups promoting the economic value of public lands in Montana held their third annual Last Best Outdoors Fest event to get their message out in Missoula yesterday.

The event brought bands, beer and information booths to Caras Park downtown, and a panel of business leaders to speak at the Wilma theatre.

"We aren’t just a place you can come visit, but we’re a place that you can come make a living," said Evan Tipton, who was on the panel.

Montana's outdoor recreation activities.
Outdoor Recreation And Montana's Economy report, Headwaters Economics.

A growing set of business owners, non-profits and agencies in Montana are trying to expand what we think of when we talk about the economic value of the outdoors here.

Marne Hayes is the executive director for Business for Montana’s Outdoors, a group that advocates for preserving Montana’s outdoor heritage. She says Montana itself — its rivers, forests and wide open spaces — offers a competitive advantage for attracting new businesses and a talented workforce to Montana.

Glacier National Park entrance sign.
Flickr user photommo (CC-BY-ND)

President Donald Trump Thursday proposed a 12 percent cut to the Interior Department's 2018 budget. And national park advocates like Phil Francis are not happy about it: