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Director's Report October, 2001
- The first week of October was primarily focused on the final preparations for the meetings and 3rd Annual Lewis & Clark Conference held in Billings from October 10th through the 12th. The Confluence of Cultures Committee, the Education Committee and the Regional Commissions and Montana Tribal Tourism Alliance (MTTA) all met on Wednesday, October 10th. The state Commission met the afternoon of the 10th and the morning of the 11th. The conference ran from 1:00 p.m. on Thursday the 11th through late afternoon October 12th. A very busy three days, but by most accounts a very worthwhile investment of time. Look for the committee meeting summaries to be posted on the state Commission's web site very soon. A limited number of conference Resource Directories are available upon request.
- On October 3rd I attended a meeting of the coordinating group for the development of a statewide Public Safety Plan. A comprehensive inventory is now being compiled and a proposed "Action Binder" outlining basic planning steps a county or community could reference is being created as Phase I of this plan development concludes. Strategies are now being considered to secure the necessary funding to complete Phase II of this critical plan to articulate a "Needs List" to facilitate the pursuit of implementation funding.
- The Congressional Task Force of COSA (the Circle of State Advisors) met via conference call on October 16th to discuss the progress made to date on formulating a "next step" in seeking partnerships on key projects trail wide in an effort to more effectively work with the Congressional Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Caucuses for funding. In summary it was agreed to move forward with the project sorting process of the 2001 Master Project Inventory initiated by this Task Force. This sorting of projects resulted in the Potential Federal Partnerships Report that will be given to the National Bicentennial Council, who will in turn offer the Report to the Federal Agency MOU Group. This strategy will hopefully result in some funding partnerships being created between federal agencies and project sponsors along the Lewis & Clark Trail.
- Following the October meeting of the state Commission work has progressed on the development of an aggressive marketing plan for the January introduction of Montana's new Bicentennial license plate. In part this plan will include a press conference/announcement hopefully with Governor Martz, a promotional design on monthly vehicle registration renewal forms, posters, inserts in key mass distribution mailings, updates in newsletters, TV and radio advertisements, and public service announcements.
- Also following the most recent state Commission meeting, work has begun to develop Montana's Bicentennial fundraising program in partnership with the Montana History Foundation. As of October 22nd Sara Groves has been working full time for the Foundation as the new Fundraising Coordinator, while the firm of Charles Bentz Associates has been contracted to facilitate the building of the overall campaign.
- The November 2001 edition of the Commission's 'journal notes' newsletter was drafted, edited and printed. This latest newsletter will be mailed by the 9th.
- On October 22nd I attended a meeting to discuss the future of State Parks. A task force was recently appointed to carefully review the current status of Montana's state park system, and where appropriate offer suggestions for improvement. Six state parks are closely linked to the Lewis & Clark heritage in Montana.
- The COSA and the National Bicentennial Council met in St. Louis on October 26th, 27th, and 28th. I was unable to attend, however state Commissioner Hal Stearns sat in on the COSA meeting on my behalf. Some of the topics discussed were:
- A proposed second research project to better estimate the potential number of visitors for the Bicentennial was discussed. This next study is now tentatively planned for early 2003.
- COSA members were also briefed on the National Council's efforts to launch a national product-licensing program. The Council has partnered with Diane Norton of 'Lewis & Clark.com' on this new program. More details will be forthcoming soon to explain how interested manufacturers and retailers could be considered for participation.
- The Public Relations firm of Eisner Sanderson has been hired by the National Council.
- The two newest member of the National Park Service's Corps II team were introduced, Sue Pridemore and Carol McBryant. Plans call for Sue and Carol to travel the trail from St. Louis to Oregon starting later in November.
- Ideas for how states trail wide could participate in the National Signature Events were discussed.
- And, Idaho's Bicentennial Coordinator, Keith Peterson was selected to be the COSA chair for the next 12 months.
- On October 26th Betty Stone and I participated in a radio interview program geared to raise funds for the soon to be built Fort Peck Interpretive Center. This new center is anticipated to open in 2004.
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