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Director's Report August, 2004
- Publicity Update:
- The Billings Gazette and select other Montana newspapers ran articles on the recent reorganization and present status of the Montana Legacy Campaign this month.
- On August 5th the Helena Independent Record interviewed me about the on-going fundraising efforts in Lewis & Clark County. Some follow-up letters to the editor also appeared in the Billings Gazette regarding local, on-going fundraising.
- I was interviewed by the Montana Standard (Butte) regarding updated visitation estimates for SW Montana.
- Tom Cook with the Montana Historical Society is presently coordinating with the Explore! the Big Sky Signature Event to soon announce their event ticket sales campaign.
- On August 3rd I joined Arnie Olsen and Homer Staves in a breakfast meeting to discuss options for the 12/31/06 sunset of the Bicentennial license plate legislation. This topic will be on the state Commission’s agenda in its October 14-15 meeting in Pablo. (Homer, thanks for breakfast!)
- Very possibly the largest amount of my time in August was invested in the initial planning of a series of proposed “Lewis & Clark Interpretive Camps” for 2005. Presently four re-enactor groups have agreed to share the lead in staging up to ten “mini-camps” in communities from Tower Rock State Park to Travelers’ Rest State Park from early July to early September, 2005. These “mini-camps” will be coordinated along the Missouri River from Tower Rock to the Headwaters State Park, up the Jefferson and Beaverhead Rivers to Dillon, and then west to Ross’s Hole and north through the Bitterroot Valley to Hamilton and Lolo, MT. The camps, when viewed by visitors, will offer essentially a retracing of the Lewis & Clark Expedition through central and western Montana after the Expedition’s portage near Great Falls. Smaller Montana communities will be able to host visitors for a fun and educational day or weekend. Proposed campsite locations and dates have been identified, but much work remains to make this interpretive camp series a reality this coming summer. Montana Tribes, National Guard and public sector agencies will be invited to participate.
NOTE: I will be working with the Discovery Expedition of St. Charles in their effort to offer similar interpretive camps along Montana’s Hi-Line as that group retraces the Missouri River from the North Dakota border to Fort Benton from late April to early June, 2005. An October 7th planning meeting has been set in Glasgow for introduction of these interpretive camps to Hi-Line communities. More information on all of the 2005 interpretive camp planning efforts will be shared during the state Commission’s October meeting.
- Also on August 3rd I met with Bill Smith, the new Director of Tourism for Idaho’s Nez Perce Tribe. Bill was pleased to learn more about Montana’s Bicentennial planning, and offered to feature Montana’s 2006 “Lewis & Clark in the Rockies” and “Clark on the Yellowstone events during the Nez Perce National Signature Event in June of 2006.
- On August 4th the Coordinating Committee of the Lewis & Clark Legacy Campaign met via a conference call to get an update from the state Commission staff on the status of the campaign. The campaign continues to receive and distribute existing campaign pledges to the Legacy Partners, and works to follow up on leads in coordination with local fundraising committees in Great Falls and Billings.
- Work continued this month with Travel Montana to polish the Lewis & Clark web site database. Images were added and select format changes made. As always, more detailed information (with images) is encouraged. As soon as dates and locations are known for events in 2005 or 2006, please let Travel Montana or the state Commission office know.
- In partnership with the Montana Department of Transportation a new color “Lewis & Clark in Montana” trail map has been designed and is now available on-line for downloading. In addition to the 1805 and 1806 routes, this new map illustrates Corps II host communities and key Montana events. The state Commission will host on its website (under both What’s New and Montana Events) a link to files allowing interested persons the ability to print their own maps.
- The MTRI Focus Team met via a conference call on Tuesday, August 10 to discuss interest in presenting an “agency tent” in Montana Signature Event host communities. It was agreed to move forward with that effort and coordinate with Signature Event planners as many Focus Team agencies have quality Lewis & Clark programming to compliment the Tent of Many Voices venue. The agencies also discussed agency programming in other Corps II sites around the state in ’05 and ’06.
- As many of you probably read in an early August press release, the FY’05 Defense Appropriations Bill delineates $1.9 M for “Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Commemoration Support.” However, contrary to some interpretations, that amount is a national, and not a state allocation. I will be meeting with the Montana National Guard in early September to learn more of what it sees as its priorities this coming year. I will know more to report at the state Commission meeting in Pablo. Thanks to Montana’s Senator Burns and the entire Montana Congressional delegation for supporting this bill!
- I was involved in two conference calls with the COSA representatives. The first call on the 12th was specifically to discuss options and strategies for “post-bicentennial” efforts. Many trail states join the Trail Heritage Foundation and the National Park Service in having some question as to what will be the long-term future of the L&C Trail after 2006. The future of the Challenge Cost Share funding was also discussed. Each state was challenged to prepare a “transition plan,” which in part would outline what each state sees as its trail priorities. The second COSA meeting was convened on August 19th with virtually all trail states represented. We discussed Signature Event “lessons learned” in down river states, and also discussed the Trail Heritage Foundation’s “Third Century” planning effort (what happens after 2007?). COSA will meet in person in Bismarck during their Signature Event on October 22nd.
- During August I had conversation with PPL Montana regarding their desires for allocation of their second payment of funds to the Legacy Campaign for new Lewis & Clark signage (anticipated by October 1, 2005). They indicated an interest in projects in a corridor from Lewis & Clark County to Gallatin County. I then contacted the Regional Bicentennial Commissions in Lewis & Clark, Broadwater and Gallatin Counties and requested they each identify their signage priorities which I then presented to PPL Montana. Through this process PPL Montana approved $13,000 for Lewis & Clark signage at the soon to be constructed “Lewis & Clark Montana Experience” in Helena’s new Great Northern Town Center, and a bronze entry sign at the new “Two Camps Vista” at Devil’s Elbow on the Missouri River. In addition $5,000 will be allocated for three new interpretive signs at the Headwaters State Park. Broadwater County declined to request funds from PPL at this time.
- Throughout August I made contact with many of the Montana Corps II host communities to get planning updates. I remain very concerned about the National Park Service not following up in its efforts to contact Montana Tribes. However, at the time I am drafting this Director’s Report I am of the understanding that a NPS representative will be in Montana to make initial Tribal visits in mid-September.
NOTE: In August I learned that Carol McBryant is leaving her position as Logistics Coordinator for Corps II. Her position will be assumed by Patricia Jones, who had been (and may continue to be?) the Chief of Interpretation for Corps II. Carol has assumed a new interpretive position in the new NPS center in Omaha, NE. Thanks Carol for all of her hard work; we wish you the best!
- On August 19th I met via conference call with Peggy Bourne, Melody Dobson and obbie Carpenter to discuss the “Montana Booth” that will be designed and staffed during the Bismarck Signature Event from October 22-31. Travel Montana will also partner by providing their stand-up display booth and Lewis & Clark literature. Information on Montana’s key events and select agency information will also be distributed.
- On August 20th I traveled to the UofM Western’s education facility at Birch Creek near Dillon to present a Bicentennial update to Region 3 of Fish, Wildlife & Parks. Following that presentation I went into Dillon to see their brand new Camp Fortunate Visitor Center (it looks great!!), and the newly enhanced Clark’s Lookout State Park (which also looks great!!). It continues to amaze me how agencies, private organizations and communities are moving forward to complete key Lewis & Clark projects! Job well done!
- In June the Commission directed staff to create a “presentation kit” for use in publicity efforts for agencies, tribes and local communities. In August the new MDT “Lewis & Clark in Montana” trail map was sent out to numerous contacts along with a set of three glossy prints of Corps II. Rita and I are now in the final throws of creating an updated PowerPoint presentation that illustrates the many facets of Montana’s Bicentennial. And, the NPS just sent our office a great PowerPoint presentation of the April 7th Corps II “Programming Workshop” which was held in Billings. Any and all of the above is available from the Commission office for use in letting folks know what is being planned for these next two years.
- I also continued this month to communicate with the Western Montana Regional Commission and the Salish Tribe re: a commemorative event to be held in the Ross’s Hole area in late summer, 2005. No firm plans have been made to date.
NOTE: Planning and work is moving forward on the enhanced Salish/Expedition interpretive area near Ross’s Hole adjacent to the Sula store on Hwy. 93. This will be a significant new interpretive component scheduled for completion in the Spring 2005.
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