By Tim Leeds
A special section of the September/October issue of Montana Living magazine will focus on Havre.
Debbie Vandeberg, executive director of the Havre Area Chamber of Commerce, said she hopes the article "will enlighten residents of the state of Montana on the wonderful treasures and opportunities that abound in north-central Montana.
"We have a lot of treasures in the surroundings as well as in the people who live here."
The magazine has about 25,000 readers, fairly evenly split between men and women and between Montana and out-of-state residents, said publisher Jeff Smith Jr.
The first "Discovering Montana" section, in the March/April issue, focused on Missoula. The second, in the July/August issue, is about Livingston.
Smith said his magazine highlights the best in Montana, from sports to history to recreation. The special sections are intended to include tourism as part of the magazine's focus.
"I think it's been really well-received," Smith said.
Smith has published the magazine since 1999. It was originally called Whitefish Magazine when it was created in the early 1990s, he said.
Amity Moore, managing editor of Montana Living, said the magazine picks an event to be the focus of the main "Discovering Montana" article.
"The event is actually the catalyst for the area article," she said.
For Missoula, the event was the International Wildlife Film Festival. For Havre, it will be the Montana Historical Society's Montana History Conference, which will be held in Havre in October.
The section will contain several articles describing the area, including a "then and now" story by Vandeberg and local historian Gary Wilson. It describes the history of the area, and its strengths and characteristics.
"It's designed to define the character of the town through its history," Moore said.
The magazine is paying for the article, but Wilson said he and Vandeberg are going to donate the money to the Chamber's Tourism Committee. That committee's budget was depleted this year when it joined Russell Country, a tourism group, in erecting a fourth billboard promoting Havre, near Fort Benton. The other billboards are near Havre, on the highways on the east, west and north.
Other articles in the section describe a scenic destination, a roadside attraction, and local businesses.
"We try to give a local perspective on what are good places to see, eat at, stay at, shop at," Moore said.
Some of the areas the section may focus on are a drive through Beaver Creek Park and back to Havre through Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation, the Wahkpa Chu'gn bison kill site, and businesses on Third Avenue.
The sections generally mention most attractions in a town, Moore said, but the writing will supplement information provided by the local Chambers of Commerce, rather than repeat it.
"We try to uncover other things that might be of interest to readership," she said.
Seeing wheat fields north of town on the highway to Canada was a wonderful experience for her, said Moore, who works in Kalispell.
"I had not been to Havre before so I took a quick trip, kind of spur of the moment, and had a great trip. People are really nice," she said.
The readership of Montana Living tends to be between ages 24 to 60, educated and active, Smith said. Focusing on attractions in communities could have a significant impact on tourism, he added.
"We have a pretty active readership, based on our last survey," he said.