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2016 WP & MAP Joint Conference

  • Great Falls, Montana (map)


Landscapes, Landmarks, and Leadership

This year’s event will take place August 10- 12, 2016, at the Civic Center in Great Falls, Montana. Download the latest article about the conference


If conference abstracts were submitted, it would be prudent to resubmit in the event they were not received. There was an issue with the email.

Email to confirm your interest in presenting by March 7, 2016, and please fill out and submit the form by April 18, 2016.  DOWNLOAD THE FORM (PDF)


  • Keynote – Gary Ferguson: Bestselling national author Gary Ferguson will tie the elements of our conference theme together in a keynote speech. Beyond his literary accomplishments, Gary was deeply involved in the creation of the Beartooth Front Community Forum (BFCF) in Red Lodge, MT. The BFCF led the City of Red Lodge to develop its first master plan, which won Western Planning Resources’ Sheldon Gerber Award for Excellence, and gave the community the confidence to oppose U.S. Postal Service plans to move the post office to the fringe of town. The Red Lodge Post Office remains downtown. Ferguson has been a keynote speaker for a variety of national and international organizations, including the National Conservation Training Center, the Land Trust Alliance, the National Parks Conservation Association, and the Conservation Alliance. His lectures draw from thirty years researching – and more important still, experiencing – the marriage of ecology, cultural history, and psychology. He has lectured at universities around the country, including Washington University, St. Louis, where he served as the 2002 Seigel Scholar. He is also a member of the National Geographic Lecture Series. Gary has written for a variety of national publications, including Vanity Fair and the Los Angeles Times, and is the author of 23 books on nature and science.
  • The conference will be preceded by a world class training on how communities can plan to address wildfire hazards. This full-day training, led by Molly Mowery of Wildfire Planning International, will offer an in-depth look at how wildfires are affecting the West and which planning and regulatory tools can reduce their impacts at all scales: buildings, lots, subdivisions, and communities. Case studies will come from several Western jurisdictions, and show how to effectively reduce wildfire risk using the comprehensive plan, development code, and wildfire protection plan. This interactive training is a must for anyone who wants a better understanding of the trends and risks associated with development in wildfire-prone areas and the role that planning can play in wildfire mitigation. CM credit will be available for this and all sessions.
  • More Trees = Dollars in the Till: Dr. Kathleen L. Wolf of the University of Washington has been invited to help us understand how landscaping contributes to the bottom line for property owners and business people. Preview her research at
  • Speaking of Landmarks: Charles Flynn, Executive Director of the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area, has tentatively agreed to offer a session on National Heritage Areas (NHA). There will also be a report on efforts to establish such an NHA along the Missouri River.


La Quinta Inn
The La Quinta Inn is located right on the river, with immediate access to River’s Edge Trail and MacKenzie River Pizza a hop, skip, and a jump away. Block rates for the conference include: Standard king or 2 queens: $89 + tax. Book early because the block rates cannot be guaranteed after June 30, 2016.

O’haire Motor Inn
The O’haire Motor Inn is located in downtown Great Falls and is home to the one and only Sip ‘n Dip lounge, which includes mermaids(!) and Piano Pat. Book early because the block rates cannot be guaranteed after July 10, 2016. Block rates for the conference include: Single queen or 2 oversized twins: $65 + tax; 2 queens: $85 + tax; or Family rooms: $125 + tax.

Extended Stay
The newly renovated Extended Stay is located on the river, next to Odd Fellows Park, and River’s Edge Trail. Block rates for the conference include: 1 queen or 2 double beds: $79 + tax Note – There are full kitchens in every room, including: a 2 burner stovetop, full size fridge, and microwave. There is no pool or hot tub at this location. Book early because the block rates cannot be guaranteed after June 29, 2016.

Hotel Arvon
Also check out the Hotel Arvon, a brand new boutique hotel in the historic Arvon building that offers government rates. It is next to the Celtic Cowboy Irish pub and restaurant, and both are kitty corner from the Civic Center.


Resting on the high plains along Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front Range, Great Falls is located at the confluence of the Missouri and Sun Rivers. Great Falls is Montana’s third largest city, at approximately 60,000 residents. It is also the home of Malmstrom Air Force Base, the center of our nation’s first Minuteman Missile Complex.

Great Falls has a rich history, yet strives to appeal to modern interests. You can find contemporary art at Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art, named for the founder of Great Falls, catch a Pioneer League baseball game with theVoyagers, or visit one of the three local microbreweries. The convenient central location also creates a splendid excuse for a road trip!

Coming from the south? Visit Yellowstone! Rise early and you can hike the Beaver Ponds Loop at Mammoth Hot Springs and still make it to the Wednesday evening reception. The drive is less than six hours. If you’re not up with the sun, you can enjoy a leisurely scenic drive through the Little Belt Mountains southeast of Great Falls, stopping to stretch your legs on the short walk to Memorial Falls.

If you are following Lewis and Clark from the east don’t miss the Highwood Mountains. This volcanic range lies about 30 miles east of Great Falls. It features fabulous day hikes and offers sweeping vistas out across the plains. Farther east is historic Fort Benton, the Upper Missouri Breaks National Monument, and the Bear Paw Battlefield unit of the Nez Perce National Historic Park.

Planners coming from the west have the option of swinging north to Glacier National Park, where they drive the spectacular Going to the Sun Highway and find numerous trails, or of visiting Montana’s capitol city, Helena with its unique Last Chance Gulch downtown. It takes less than four hours to get into Great Falls from Glacier, less than two from Helena.

There is much more to see and do on the road to Great Falls! Beyond, Calgary and the national parks of the Canadian Rockies are not far.


You don’t have to drive. Great Falls has excellent air service for a small city. There are typically 11 arrivals at Great Falls International daily, including flights from Denver, Seattle, Salt Lake, and the Twin Cities. There are also nondaily connections from Las Vegas and Phoenix.