First, let me express my thanks for all the cards and well wishes sent to me as a result of my recent surgery. I am now back at work on an almost full-time basis (now, if Rita can put up with my many questions??). The surgery in Seattle went very well and my recovery has been pretty rapid. I do struggle with some short-term memory challenges, so be prepared if you call and visit with me about any particular project or program?! It is good to be back amongst my Lewis & Clark friends. Thanks again for the expressions of concern!!
Legislative Wrap Up:
Here is a brief summary of the Legislation of interest as the 2005 Legislative session came to a conclusion:
HB 301 (the "license plate bill") – After numerous twists and turns this bill survived and was signed into law. The bill outlines that revenues from the L&C plate starting in January 2007 will be split between the Montana Historical Society, and the Montana Department of Commerce (to then be split equally between Pompeys Pillar, Travelers’ Rest and the L&C Interpretive Center in Great Falls). Revenues until 1/07 will continue to come to the state Bicentennial Commission.
HJ 24 – This Joint Resolution speaks to the historical importance of the Lewis & Clark Expedition and the American Indians of Montana. The Resolution was signed by the Governor on April 7, 2005
HB 417 and HB 771 (bills for the partial financing of the two National Signature Events from the general fund) – these two bills were killed in committee.
The mapping efforts of the Montana Department of Transportation, the Department of Commerce (Travel Montana), and the state Commission are proving to be very much in demand:
First was the modification of the Lewis & Clark in Montana map which was improved with the addition of some clarifications printed on the front side, and then taken by the Great Falls Tribune for copying into tear-off maps for visitor centers and restaurants. 60,000 of these maps were printed and distributed statewide. This essentially put the essence of what Montana was prepared to present on a one-page front and back tear-off page for easy reference. These have been very much in demand, and may be updated for 2006.
The second map was the 2005-2006 Montana Highway Map that was printed and distributed this Spring. This was a partnership between the Montana Department of Transportation and Travel Montana. The final product was a Commemorative Edition map that that is destined to become a collector’s piece.
Corps II Update -
The Montana National Guard has been featuring their “Then & Now” exhibit in addition to offering to assist with the set-up and tear-down of the Corps II exhibits, and security assistance. Thanks!
The Corps II exhibits include the “Tent of Many Voices,” a Welcoming Tent and an adjoining Display Tent that tells the story of Lewis & Clark on their journey. Additionally the US Army’s Corps of Engineers has a display staffed by Steve Morehouse from Dillon. A keelboat and some teepees complete the Corps II footprint.
The Corps II has made visits to Williston for the Lewis & Clark at the Confluence event; the Fort Peck Indian community; Glasgow; Fort Benton; the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation; and now presently is set-up at the Great Falls Fairgrounds. Yet to be visited are Helena, Bozeman, Dillon, Hamilton and Lolo, MT.
NOTE: The community of Fort Belknap chose not to have Corps II visit due to the limited preparation time.
The Discovery Expedition of St. Charles has been re-enacting the journey on the river thus far. One special mention should be made of stop the DESC made at the James Kipp Recreation Area late in June. Schools sent buses loaded with children to meet and visit with the re-enactors as they made camp. Special interpretive stations were set up to explain the dress, camp life, medicine and the boats to these students. From all accounts this was a very informative field trip for the local schools. The DESC plans to continue the retracing of the trail through Montana.
The state Commission held its Spring meeting in Great Falls and in Fort Benton on 2nd and 3rd. Here are some meeting highlighs-
To address concerns related to archiving Bicentennial materials, the Montana Historical Society’s archives staff agreed to develop guidelines for distribution to RBCs, Tribal contacts, Foundation Chapters, and others statewide who wish to preserve materials that have resulted from Bicentennial activities. A segment of the October 11 meeting will be devoted to this topic.
The Commission’s FY06 budget was presented and adopted and provides for the following FY06 Program Grants:
$9,000 for Corps II host communities
$10,000 for Lewis & Clark in the Rockies
$8,000 for the tentative Blackfeet Event
$20,000 for Explore! the Big Sky
$80,000 for Clark on the Yellowstone
$5,000 for MTTA
$19,000 for O&P Grants
The topic of Interpretive Sign Maintenance and Upkeep past the life of the Commission was discussed at length. More on this subject during the Oct. meeting.
Discussed how to appropriately recognize volunteers who have invested so much time and effort in ensuring a successful Bicentennial Observance. Plans are being developed for Volunteer Awards Ceremony, possibly in conjunction with the Clark on the Yellowstone signature event. More later.
Homer Staves, chair and Hal Sterns, vice chair, were elected to serve a second term. Congratulations!
The Circle of State Advisors also met in Great Falls and in Fort Benton on June 2nd and June 3rd. On the first night there was a facilitated session to explore how the Challenge Cost Share Program of the National Park Service could be extended beyond the Bicentennial to provide for on-going trail improvements. It became very apparent as Steve Adams spoke that he (and the NPS) had to follow certain processes in an effort to extend the CCS program beyond 2006. He volunteered to draft and circulate a “white paper,” and will work to have this accomplished in the very near future. (I have now received and reviewed that draft paper.)
During this past month I spoke to both Lisa Perry and David Hoffman with PPL Montana regarding their plans to contribute more money toward the fulfillment of their pledge to the Montana Legacy Campaign (was originally a 5-year commitment starting in 2003). At issue is the successful investment of monies already given by PPL for signs in the Great Falls, Helena and Headwaters State Park areas. The Great Falls projects have been delayed for numerous reasons; the projects in the Helena area will be dedicated in July of this summer. No progress has been made at the Headwaters State Park. If PPL decides to stay with their pledge for 2005 (most likely for signs in the Yellowstone River drainage), there is fading interest for having them remain committed for 2006 and 2007.
The Bicentennial Focus Team of the Montana Tourism & Recreation Initiative met recently to make plans to have a joint display in the Exhibition Hall at the Great Falls Fairgrounds in support of the Explore! the Big Sky event. As we speak the various agencies of the Focus Team are in Great Falls setting up their respective displays. More on how this all comes together in my next Director’s Report.
Work continues on the preparation of the 2006 and 2007 proposed annual budgets for the state Commission, and of the Transition Plan that will outline the “exit strategy” of the Bicentennial Commission. More later.
Rob Bauer continues to work on the rough outline of his Legacy Document. Perhaps some out in the field have communicated with him already? Rob’s plan is to work through the summer of 2005 and 2006, with a final draft report being generated late in 2006.
On Friday, June 10th Rita and I made a trip to Loma (and Decision Point), Fort Benton and Great Falls. While in Fort Benton we looked took in the Art on the Levy Western Art Show, and toured Corps II at the fairgrounds. In Great Falls we made a visit to the Interpretive Center; dropped off Lewis & Clark in Montana maps, and paid a visit to the Lewis & Clark Merchandise Market at the fairgrounds.
I did draft a letter on behalf of the state Commission to Patti Keebler, the Appointments Coordinator, citing the desire of the state Commission for the reappointment of Betty Stone, Darrell Kipp and Homer Staves. I also drafted “Thank You” letters to the Great Falls Tribune for their on-going support of the Bicentennial, and to the Department of Transportation and Travel Montana for the newest state highway map.
Rita and I successfully drafted the July 2005 version of the ‘journal notes’ newsletter.
On Friday, June 17th Rita and I again hit the road as we traveled north to the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation as they were host to Corps II. A slow-cooking pit was dug in anticipation of cooking a freshly harvested buffalo. A special note of thanks for Rocky Boy taking on the challenge of hosting Corps II for three days! Well done!