FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TO: NEWS MEDIA OUTLETS
FROM: RICH ECKE, VICE CHAIRMAN, BIG SKY COUNTRY NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA
CONTACT ABOUT NEWS RELEASE: RICH at 406-788-1893
GREAT FALLS -- The nonprofit Big Sky Country National Heritage Area has announced the Partner Project Fund, a program to assist community groups that are working to renovate historic structures, improve historic sites, develop educational programs, boost heritage tourism and more.
Projects must be located in Cascade County or a portion of Chouteau County where the heritage area is to be located. In this initial round, Partner Project Funds from $500 to $1,000 each will be awarded up to a total of $5,000, after requests for funds are evaluated by the group.
An application package is available from the group’s website at www.bigskycountrynha.org; or applicants can request an application packet by writing P.O. Box 1323, Great Falls, MT 59403, or by sending a request via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We’re very excited about this new program, and we will begin accepting applications immediately,” said Jane Weber, chair of the Big Sky Country National Heritage Area and a former Cascade County commissioner. “The heritage area aims to enhance local communities and boost the area’s economy, and we appreciate all the support we have received from thoughtful folks throughout the region.”
The heritage area will submit a feasibility study to the National Park Service in 2021; action by Congress on the proposal is expected in the next several years. Congress has the final say.
Officials from the heritage area group will announce approval of Partner Project Funds in the coming weeks and months.
Efforts by community volunteers to create a national heritage area in central Montana began in earnest half a decade ago. To donate to the Big Sky Country National Heritage Area, go to the group’s website or Facebook page. Personal checks and all major credit cards are accepted. For more information or to offer any questions or concerns, write the Big Sky Country National Heritage Area, P.O. Box 1323, Great Falls MT 59403. The organization is a 501 (c)(3) private nonprofit.
According to a news release, Partner Project Funds can be used for:
Partner Project Funds cannot be used for:
The Upper Missouri River Heritage Area is proud to have supported the many events in Cascade, MT yesterday, September 7. Special thanks go to Donna and Channing Hartelius for having the foresight to save Charlie and Nancy Russell's Honeymoon Cottage.
Yesterday, Charlie and Nancy renewed their wedding vows, Montana PBS debuted their new extraordinary documentary on Charlie Russell and the Town of Cascade put on quite a feast. Over 250 people came on a beautiful Saturday afternoon and evening to enjoy all that Cascade had to offer. John Godwin and others captured the festivities on the event's Facebook page: C.M.”Charlie” & Nancy Russell Honeymoon Cottage.
JOIN US as the Upper Missouri River Heritage Area Planning Corp. holds our final Community Conversations for our Feasibility Study, 6 p.m. on Thursday, September 12, 2019 at the historic Belt Theater, 58 Castner Street. We've worked hard, holding 5 previous public meetings (Helena, Cascade, Great Falls, Black Eagle, 2 in Fort Benton) in the last year and a half, to gather people's insight and thoughts about the proposed Heritage Area. The one in September will be our last; we expect the Feasibility Study to be complete by the end of 2019.
In addition to good conversations at the meeting in Belt about the final themes, boundaries and other details, there will be tours of the theater, as well as refreshments and adult beverages. Plan on having dinner on us!
The Heritage Area Board and consultants have been working hard to finalize the themes and other details of the proposed Upper Missouri River Heritage Area. This background information now has gone to our National Feasibility Advisory Council, made up of Carrol Van West, Ellen Baumler, Jay Buckley, Gerald Gray, Sr., Micheal Duchemin and others.
JOIN US for the latest information on themes, boundaries and more on January 30, 2019 at 6 p.m. at the Black Eagle Community Center and on January 31, 2019 at 6 p.m. at the Agricultural Center in Fort Benton.
Want to learn more about the efforts to create a Heritage Area here in Central Montana? In January, nationally acclaimed consultants Nancy Morgan and Augie Carlino came to the area to help us work on our proposal to create the Upper Missouri River Heritage Area, from Fort Benton to the Gates of the Mountains.
They will be back in early May, to talk to folks in Fort Benton, Great Falls and Helena, to bring everyone up to date on what they've gathered so far and hear from the folks as to what they think. They will also be discussing how Heritage Areas throughout the country have helped to boost their local economies.
Come learn more about our work at these three Community Conversations, each from 6 - 8 p.m. In Helena, the meeting will take place on May 1 at the Historical Society. In Fort Benton, the meeting will take place on May 2 at the Agricultural Musuem and on May 3, the meeting in Great Falls will take place at the Civic Center. Refreshments will be served. Questions? Call Jane Weber at 454-6814. See you there.
Central Montana exemplifies Big Sky Country. Spectacular open horizons plunge into deep ravines and canyons where the Missouri River carved its path across the prairie; evidence of our First Peoples marks the land; and stories of historic steamboat trips and harrowing exploration escapades leap from the pages of leather-bound journals. Central Montana, where the real west captivates the imagination of archeologists, anthropologists, historians, artists and modern-day explorers, is poised for additional tourists and corresponding new economic development.
States with NHA's have experienced positive economic growth and community vibrancy. NHA's across the nation notably attract secondary service and retail businesses in communities within and near such landscapes. Central Montana will be no different - communities along the Missouri River and outlying arenas of the NHA can anticipate increased business.
To achieve national status, a community must prove the cultural, historic and natural ecosystem form a cohesive, nationally significant landscape. Congress requires the submission of a Feasibility Study as a part of the process. A Feasibility Study assembles available resource information, demonstrates community support and provides justification for Congressional designation. Having four National Historic Landmarks within our proposed NHA boundary is a strong indicator that we have stories of national significance about America and our nation's heritage.