The Montana Parks in Focus Commission will host its inaugural public meeting Feb. 15-16 in Montana’s first and most well-known state park, Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park.

The public meeting is the first of four to be held at state parks across Montana intended to gather public input and develop recommendations to sustain and strengthen support for Montana’s state park system.

“Our state parks are Montanan’s gateways to adventure, recreation, our history and culture. Montana’s first state park is an ideal location to begin hammering out the future of our state park system,” said Stace Lindsay, chair of the commission. “We invite Montanans to attend these meetings and work with us as we discuss how best to enable the state park system to achieve its goal of providing extraordinary experiences for our visitors while keeping the state park system strong for generations to come.”

Parks in Focus consists of 12 volunteer professionals with backgrounds in outdoor businesses, local government, education, tourism and health care.

The commission was created by Gov. Steve Bullock to strengthen Montana’s state park system and to ensure the Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks has the resources, capacity, and expertise to implement the Montana State Parks and Recreation Strategic Plan, FWP said in a news release.

Specifically, the commission will use the upcoming public meetings to discuss implementation of three recommendations from the strategic plan: developing diversified revenue streams, growing strategic partnerships, and building an engaged constituency for state parks.

“I’m excited that they’re both willing to step up and provide resources, ideas and expertise to address something that I think is very very important to all Montanans,” Bullock said last month. “It’s a great group of folks willing to roll up their sleeves and dive into this.”

The commission is expected to provide final recommendations to the governor’s office by December of this year.

The commission will meet for a kick-off dinner on Thursday, Feb. 15. The agenda for Friday, February 16 includes morning tours of Missouri Headwaters State Park and Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park followed by the afternoon meeting from noon-4 p.m.

To view the full Parks in Focus Commission public meeting agenda visit: http://www.chartinganewtomorrow.com/parks-in-focus/.

Here is the full list of upcoming Commission meetings and agenda for the first meeting:

  • Feb. 15-16, Three Forks, Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park
  • May 10-11, Kalispell, Flathead Lake State Park - Big Arm
  • Sept. 20-21, Glendive, Makoshika State Park
  • Dec. 13-14, Great Falls, First Peoples Buffalo Jump State
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