Marne Hayes leads Montana Business Outdoors


Marne Hayes: Promoting and protecting Big Sky country

Marne Hayes experienced Big Sky during a unique period of expansion and growth during her more than 10 years at the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce. As executive director for the chamber from 2001 to 2011, she saw the community cope with unprecedented growth, a recession and then the uptick of growth following it.  

Successes under her belt include creating the framework for the marketing side of the chamber—now known as Visit Big Sky—which, along a number of other Big Sky initiatives, spearheaded the successful Biggest Skiing in America campaign. Hayes, along with one other chamber employee, also worked to bring the fifth round of the South Korean/U.S. Free Trade Agreement Negations to Big Sky in 2006, and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Conference that followed in 2011.

Flash forward to today, and you’ll find Hayes, her husband Erin and their two vizslas still residing in Big Sky. Hayes now works for Business for Montana Outdoors, a grant-funded organization that strives to preserve Montana’s public land.

The organization was started in 2011 following a roundtable conversation in Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s office with five businesses, discussing a report issued by Headwaters Economics of Bozeman, which focused on the value public land brings to areas of the West in terms of job creation and per capita income.  

“At the conclusion of the event, those businesses found a lot of value in formalizing a group that allowed for the conversation about why it is important to protect our public lands for the benefit of businesses not necessarily directly connected to the outdoors—the manufacturers, retailers, engineers, medical, software and tech companies who could be anywhere, but who move here to be a part of the lifestyle that Montana awards us, and largely that is due to our outdoors and public lands,” Hayes wrote in an email to the Lookout.

Members of Montana Business Outdoors include Buck’s T4, Simms and more than 130 more businesses from around the state representing 3,600 employees. To learn more about Business for Montana’s Outdoors, visit 


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