Finding Kalispell’s historic attractions and public venues has gotten a lot easier with the help of 68 new wayfinding signs that now dot the city’s downtown and greater business area. The Kalispell Convention & Visitor Bureau has completed the installation of 68 new wayfinding signs that will direct visitors and residents to iconic attractions across town.
The Kalispell CVB partnered on the project with the city of Kalispell and Kalispell Downtown Association.
The wayfinding project was created to enhance visitor experiences in Kalispell by helping them navigate the city and easily find historic and cultural attractions and public places, according to CVB staff. The signs point visitors in the direction of Kalispell’s museums, parks and sporting venues as well as Glacier Park International Airport, Flathead Valley Community College and Flathead County Fairgrounds.
“We have thousands of visitors traveling through Kalispell each year on their way to Glacier National Park or Flathead Lake. We, of course, want as many as possible to stop and discover our great community as well,” said Diane Medler, director of the Kalispell CVB. “Wayfinding signage is a proven tool to help visitors find significant attractions and encourage them to explore what destinations have to offer.”
The wayfinding signage project started in 2011 with a study to develop the preliminary system framework. Sign installation was completed this month in cooperation with the city’s Public Works Department and the Montana Department of Transportation.
In the city center, 32 of the new signs designate Kalispell’s historic downtown and direct pedestrians and drivers to the Visitor Center as well as to downtown museums and Woodland Park.
“Our historic downtown is a treasure to share, and we want our visitors to discover its iconic places,” said Pam Carbonari, coordinator of the Kalispell Downtown Association. “The wayfinding signs help them recognize that we’re much more than a gateway community — we’re the cultural hub of Northwest Montana.”
Kalispell’s downtown wayfinding system was funded through a National Park Service Preserve America matching grant worth $34,000. Matching funds were provided by the Kalispell Business Improvement District, Flathead Rotary Community Foundation, the city of Kalispell’s Community and Economic Development Department, Hockaday Museum of Art, Museum at Central School and the Conrad Mansion Museum.
“The Preserve America Grant made the downtown portion of the wayfinding project possible,” said Katharine Thompson, assistant director of community development at the city of Kalispell. “It was the first time a local government in Montana had been funded under the program, recognizing the cultural significance of Kalispell and our relationship with the National Park Service and Glacier National Park.”
The citywide wayfinding sign system was funded through a grant from the Montana Department of Commerce Tourism Infrastructure Improvement Program in the amount of $63,000 and matched with bed tax funds through the Kalispell CVB.