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Director's Report April, 2001
- The month of April commenced with my traveling to Washington, DC, to participate in the second annual Lewis & Clark Congressional Caucus Briefing. Held on April 4th in the Senate side of the Capitol, this briefing had an audience of 150+ comprised of Congressmen, staff, federal agencies and private sector partners. The featured presentation was the 2001 trail-wide project inventory that this year had in excess of 490 projects identified with a total financial "need" of almost $500 million! On behalf of the Circle of State Advisors, I made a short presentation stressing the financial need and overall goals of states along the trail. The day concluded with a reception in the Library of Congress, during which Dr. Stephen Ambrose presented to the National Council a check for $200,000 as his initial contribution in fulfillment of his challenge to raise money for the Bicentennial Commemoration.
- While in Washington, DC I also made personal calls on Montana's Congressional Delegation. During these meetings, I spoke to Congressman and staff to outline and summarize Montana's planning and preparation efforts.
- Also while in DC, I met as a member of the National Bicentennial Council's Events Committee to further discuss the selection of National Signature Events. The announcement of the Committee's recommendations will be made in during the National Council's meeting in Omaha on April 23rd.
- During April I worked to finalize the agenda for the semi-annual meeting of the COSA group (Circle of State Advisors), and also prepared comments to be delivered in breakout sessions during the 6th Annual National Bicentennial Planning Workshop. Both of these meetings, plus various other pertinent meetings took place in Omaha, NE, from April 21st through April 25th.
- In early April, I contacted the Lewis & Clark Training Academy located in the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center in Great Falls to visit about the need for more and better-trained Lewis & Clark guides. It was conceptually agreed that the Training Academy will develop a program in the near future with the goal of offering a qualified training course for persons wanting to become Lewis & Clark guides. More information will be forthcoming in the near future.
- The 'Bicentennial Public Safety Plan' organizing group met on April 10th in Helena to further the planning for a stakeholders' meeting to be held in Great Falls on May 15th and 16th. As the first step to create such a statewide plan, interested representatives from key stakeholder entities have been invited to convene to get a sense of what is in place, what needs exist, and what resources might be available. A $10,000 National Park Service Challenge Cost Share Grant was secured to offset the costs of hosting this key first meeting. A Congressional Appropriations Request through Senator Burns has been made to hopefully gain the necessary financial base to complete this planning process, which will set in motion future funding efforts for the plan's implementation.
- Following my meeting with Congressman Rehberg in Washington, DC, I have been working with his staff to generate a Congressional Appropriations Request of $500,000 to fund the implementation of the new Montana Lewis & Clark Interpretive Sign Strategy. This would be for funding in FY'02.
- On April 12th I attended the quarterly meeting of the Bicentennial Focus Team of the MTRI interagency coalition. The primary target of discussion was the Focus Team's efforts to initiate the steps necessary to develop a signing prototype of the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Sign Strategy. Both a state gateway interpretive sign and a corridor gateway interpretive sign will be designed and constructed utilizing a $20,000 Challenge Cost Share Grant from the National Park Service. This effort will create a model for future state gateway and corridor interpretive signing projects.
- The Montana Legislature was in session until Saturday, April 21st. Two positive and significant outcomes of this just-completed session will work to enhance the state Commission's direct planning and preparation efforts statewide. First, Travel Montana has re-committed to funding the state Commission's annual administrative and operation budget of $200,000. And, secondly a new Bicentennial License Plate bill was passed which will allow for a new specialty plate to be sold as soon as January, 2002. Other legislation that offered more funding for Lewis & Clark projects through a new proposed Heritage Tourism Program never saw the light of day.
- April 13th was the deadline for the submittal of applications for the state Commission's second annual Lewis & Clark Grants Program. Fifty applications were received, which reflected $757,982.80 in financial need. Up to $200,000 will be m made available from the state Commission and its funding partners, the Tourism Advisory Council and the Montana Department of Transportation. The grants committee is currently scoring the applications. The award recipients will be announced during the state Commission's meeting in Missoula on June 12th.
- To initiate the development of a fundraising "action plan," the state Commission has this month entered into a short-term contract with Lorraine Roach and The Hingston Roach Group (THRG) to more fully asses how sponsorships may fit as an element within the overall fundraising strategy. A Needs Questionnaire was developed and was sent to Regional Bicentennial Commissions (RBC's), Tourism Regions, Trail Heritage Chapters and members of the Montana Tribal Tourism Alliance (MTTA) in an attempt to both determine financial need, and to also assess the willingness of event organizers to work with potential sponsors. The RBC's and MTTA will discuss the results of this questionnaire in detail during their joint planning meeting on June 11th.
- Rita and I both traveled to Omaha, NE, for a series of meetings and the annual two-day national planning workshop being held from April 21 through the 25th.
- April 21st - Strategic Planning session for the Board of the National Council. Through this process the Council identified its five priorities: Tribal Indian Involvement, Corps II, National Signature Events, Trail Stewardship, and Core of Education Partners
- April 22nd - Circle of State Advisors Meeting. Fifteen of the 17 'trail-route states' were represented in this all-day meeting. Key topics included: marketing & research, endorsements and re-enactments, congressional strategies, signature event selection and marketing, Corps II, and licensing and sponsorship
- April 23rd (AM) - Partners Summit. A four-hour facilitated session to discover new partners, and to find common public relations/marketing themes and messages
- April 23rd (PM) - Meeting of the Board of Directors of the National Council. Key points of discussion included: selection of national signature events (two chosen for Montana - Great Falls area in July of 2005, and the Yellowstone River corridor/Pompeys Pillar in July of 2006), plans to develop a national fundraising strategy, and the announcement of new media partners (Smithsonian Magazine & National Geographic Society).
- April 24 & 25 - Sixth Annual National Planning Workshop
- April 26th - Local Tours Optional
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