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LEWIS AND CLARK BICENTENNIAL COMMISSION
I. Call to Order
James Todd Building, UM Campus
May 27-28, 2003
Chairman Jack Lepley called the meeting to order at 1:30 p.m. and called for introductions.
Commissioners attending were: Jack Lepley chair, Betsy Baumgart, Kathy Doeden, Wyman McDonald, Darrell Martin, Doug Monger, Tootie Rasmussen, Homer Staves, Hal Stearns and Betty Stone. Staff included Clint Blackwood and Rita Cortright. Commissioners unable to attend were Arnie Olsen and Darrell Kipp.
Guests included: Steve Kubick, Richard Hopkins, Ron Clark, Aaron and Marilyn Strange, Lois Roby, Mike Sweeney, Kelly McPherson, Carol Bronson, Rita Blouke, Dave Walter, Lonnie Bookbinder, Ltc. Jonathan Jackson, Scott Sproull, Dyani Bingham, David Purviance and Loren Flynn.
Mr. Blackwood asked Commissioners to contact Rita Cortright regarding any changes to their room reservations. Handout copies of agenda items were made available to the audience. Mr. Blackwood announced the tour and reception at Travelers’ Rest following the meeting and listed the groups who were invited.
III. Approval of February 11, 2003, Meeting Minutes
Mr. Lepley called for additions or corrections to the February 11, 2003, meeting minutes. Ms. Baumgart made a motion to approve the minutes as mailed. Ms. Rasmussen seconded and the motion carried.
IV. Director's Report
Mr. Blackwood was called on to deliver the Director’s Report.
A. Tasks Completed This Year
Mr. Blackwood reviewed selected items from the list, and noted in particular the posting of Commission meeting information on the State of Montana’s web page E-calendar, and the expansion of the ‘Calendar of Events’ and “Corridor Breakout” information on Travel Montana’s web page, ‘lewisandclarkbicentennial.com.’ He encouraged everyone to review the information specific to their area’s events to ensure accuracy and inclusion. He said the new electronic press kit on this site was working well and he was directing travel writers to this site as L&C-related inquiries came in. Plans call for updating the site next year. Commissioners Darrell Kipp, Homer Staves and Betty Stone were reappointed for 3-year terms and Wyman McDonald was appointed to serve the balance of Germaine White’s term. He reviewed the Commission’s 3 types of grants programs and total funds awarded in 2003. Mr. Blackwood spoke briefly on the establishment of the L&C Legacy Campaign in partnership with the Montana History Foundation. Regarding statewide public safety planning, Mr. Blackwood said the Montana Sheriffs’ and Peace Officers’ Assn. would now be taking the lead through the county sheriff’s offices. He noted continued cooperation with the National Council and the Circle of State Advisors and his attendance at the Pendleton, Oregon meeting. Brief highlights of the January 18, 2003, kickoff events at Monticello and the State Capitol Rotunda were noted. Under the topic of Education, the Commission’s partnership with the UM in planning the Confluence of Cultures Symposium was recognized, and Mr. Blackwood commended David Purviance and staff for their coordination efforts. He noted ongoing work with the L&C Training Academy to expand the Tour Guide training program, and said he continues to receive inquiries from people looking for historians to accompany tours. Mr. Blackwood said about 50 Montanans traveled to Monticello for the January 18, 2003 kickoff event, and said it was a rousing success with respect to publicity. A copy of the Commission’s Interim Report was displayed, and Mr. Blackwood said all but 25 of the 500 printed had been distributed. The report and letter of invitation to attend a brief presentation, as well as a Campaign brochure and letter, were provided to each member of the Legislature; however only five members attended the update session held March 18 in the Capitol.
B. Tasks to be Completed Next Year
Administration & Communication:
Mr. Blackwood reviewed the coming year’s tasks, noting that his plan to expand the newsletter from three to four annual issues had been reversed due to the lack of staff time. Instead, he planned to expand the e-mail list serve process and encouraged people to register their e-mail addresses through the Commission’s web page as this process is more timely and cost-effective than the printed newsletter. He said in addition to the increased call for tour guides, requests have increased for people who could make presentations. As a result, plans were under way for expansion of the Commission’s on-line Resource Library. Mr. Blackwood reported on work with Dyani Bingham, coordinator for the Montana Tribal Tourism Alliance (MTTA) to tap into Indian resources.
Mr. Blackwood explained that the National Council, under the leadership of Bob Archibald, was targeting Foundation monies in its fundraising efforts. The Council’s priority list includes the meaningful involvement of Indians in the Bicentennial and Signature Events support, both of which were applicable to Montana. He noted the sponsorship package prepared in conjunction with Travel Montana that was being offered to corporate sponsors of the Legacy Campaign. He said there would be a cross-sharing of contacts with the National Council based on this program. Marketing of the bicentennial license plate was noted as an ongoing objective.
Mr. Blackwood noted the Lewis & Clark at the Confluence event planned for late April 2005. The next meeting of the planning group was scheduled for June 17, and would include Fort Union, the community of Williston, MTTA, the Montana and North Dakota state commissions, and the N.E. Plains regional bicentennial commission. He touched briefly on plans for a Spring ’06 event in the Lolo/Missoula area to mark the Expedition’s re-entry into Montana. Continued marketing of these events and in particular the two signature events was the focus of a recent meeting Mr. Blackwood had with Betsy Baumgart and Sarah Lawlor at Travel Montana. Regarding Corps II, Mr. Blackwood said Carol McBryant had promised to provide the list of Montana host locations by the end of May; however, planning was not yet completed for the Yellowstone corridor as there were more interested communities than time would allow. He expected that by mid-June the Park Service would make the final decisions and letters would be sent to the host communities. They have now determined that 4 days were needed between locations. Indian communities are given preference as host sites and Signature Events have a commitment that Corps II will be part of their events. Mr. Martin said that Ft. Belknap was working with area chambers of commerce to choose a central location for Corps II. Mr. McDonald asked about arrangements with the Salish and Mr. Blackwood explained that the NPS desired to communicate directly with the tribes and provided contact information for Carol McBryant.
Education & Research:
Continued partnership with the L&C Training Academy to provide guide training was noted; training might be offered again preceding the Fall Conference in Lewistown. Coordination with ITRR was noted, and Mr. Blackwood said Norma Nickerson would report during tomorrow’s meeting on the 2002 PLOG Study.
Main Goals for Next Year:
Mr. Blackwood reviewed the list of goals for next year: 1) directing the Legacy Campaign; 2) implementing an enhanced in-state PR/Publicity campaign; 3) soliciting Congressional funding; 4) generating a statewide Bicentennial Public Safety Strategy; 5) continuing to partner with Tribes, RBC’s and agencies; and 6) enhancing planning partnerships with Montana’s two signature events. Mr. Blackwood said he planned to travel and meet with tribal representatives and attend at least one meeting each of the regional commissions. He announced that Amy Mossett had recently accepted a position with the National Council to enhance Indian participation in the Bicentennial and he hoped that both Amy Mossett and Dyani Bingham would be able to participate in his tribal visits.
Mr. Martin raised the issue of newspaper reporting, and said it was his experience that reporters were trying to make news where there was no news. He referenced a recent article in which he was misquoted and said the Tribes were being pitted against the L&C story and said this needed to stop. Mr. Staves asked if arrangements had been made for press releases following the Symposium and Mr. Blackwood said Symposium planners provided a press kit to the media.
Betty Stone joined the meeting.
Supplement to L&C Video for Superhost
Mr. Blackwood explained that, at the suggestion of Jeri Mae Rowley with Superhost, the Commission contacted L&C Trail Heritage Foundation Chapters in an effort to obtain information on key sites/activities in their respective areas for inclusion in a printed supplement to the video. He said response from the Chapters was very low and subsequently Amy Baird gathered information and forwarded it to Ms. Rowley. He said possibly this information could be made available electronically, but as of yet he had not heard from Ms. Rowley regarding use of the information during this year’s Superhost training.
Congressional Appropriations Update
Mr. Blackwood introduced Kelly McPherson with Rep. Rehberg’s office in Missoula, who reported on the current status of the $500,000 appropriation request for interpretive signage. Ms. McPherson reported that the Interior Subcommittee had yet to schedule a date for mark-up, but Rep. Rehberg would meet in the next two weeks with the subcommittee to discuss his priorities for this year’s appropriations and the signs would be listed as one of his priorities.
Mr. Blackwood reported on the request through Senator Burns’ office for HUD funding to be used in a regrants program by the Commission; however action was not expected until July. A $1 million request for Public Safety Planning and Equipment had been moved to committee and was awaiting action.
Mr. Martin reported on his recent meeting with Gen. Prendergast regarding the tribes’ concerns with looting of graves and historic sites along the Trail.
Montana Tribal Tourism Alliance (MTTA)
Mr. Blackwood announced the recent hiring of Dyani Bingham as MTTA coordinator, P. O. Box 1224, Billings, MT 59103, (406) 259-4600. Richard Hopkins announced the upcoming MTTA meeting in Great Falls, June 26-27. Mr. Martin noted that all Montana tribes were represented or had provided a resolution in support of MTTA.
Montana Tourism Recreation Initiative (MTRI)
Margaret Gorski and Ken Soderberg were recognized as the co-chairs of the MTRI Bicentennial Focus Team. Mr. Blackwood displayed their recent stewardship brochure, and said because a reprint was not probable, he was considering making the information available through the Commission’s website. In 2002, MTRI worked with NPS Challenge Cost Share funds to provide for interpretive signs in the Yellowstone Corridor. A sign was ready for installation at the Visitor Center in Billings, and brochures were produced for distribution. Some of the 2002 funds also went to the Blackfoot Corridor for interpretive signs. This year, $20,000 was granted to MTRI and the regional commissions were contacted regarding their desire to work with MTRI on interpretive signs. These five groups have indicated an interest in corridor planning; the Northeastern Plains, Missouri Breaks, Western Montana, Southwestern Montana regional commissions and the Crimson Bluffs Chapter. A planning session would be set in the near future. The MTRI Focus Teams meets next on June 11, and might discuss providing assistance to host communities charged with developing programming for Corps II while it is in their area.
Mr. Blackwood displayed the Gateway Interpretive Sign produced by MTRI through a Challenge Cost Share grant. The sign was designed for placement at entry sites into Montana to serve as an introductory welcome to Lewis & Clark in Montana. He explained that NPS contacted him regarding unspent 2001 CCS funds that were previously allocated to a Montana project. Use of the funds was dependent on identifying matching funds and MTRI contacted the Montana Dept. of Transportation regarding partnering on the placement of additional Gateway signs at 12-15 rest areas statewide. An agreement is nearing completion whereby MDT will provide the installation manpower and materials for the signs, in addition to printing posters. He asked people to contact him with suggestions for possible sign locations.
Margaret Gorski touched on plans to expand interpretive training for Corps II communities at the Interpretive Center in Great Falls.
Mr. Blackwood announced that MDT had agreed to design and install “Historical Marker Ahead” signs displaying the Lewis & Clark figures to alert travelers they were approaching a Lewis & Clark interpretive site. Guidelines have not yet been developed, but would involve interpretive signs on or immediately adjacent to MDT rights-of-way. He offered to forward suggested sign locations to MDT.
C. National Planning Conference, Great Falls
Highlights of the 8th Annual Planning Conference were noted, including meetings of the Circle of State Advisors (COSA) and the Circle of Tribal Advisors (COTA). Conference attendance was estimated at about 300 people. He reported that the Trail States banner, containing information on the 15 Signature Events, was now available in poster format, and RBC/Tribal representatives attending the meeting were invited to take a supply with them. Commission members were also provided with a copy of the poster, as well as the BOR poster provided by Steve Morehouse in Dillon.
Mr. Blackwood reported on the National Council’s announcement regarding their securing a $2 million grant from the Hewlett Foundation, payable over 4 years. Funds would be used to address the Council’s priority list, one of which was tribal participation in the Bicentennial. Amy Mossett’s position was also made possible through this grant. Other priorities included Signature Event support and Trail stewardship. The National Ad Council’s $168 million Lewis & Clark awareness campaign is planned to begin airing this September.
A U.S. Mint bicentennial coin will be unveiled in St. Louis in May 2004. Anticipated sales could reach as high as $5 million for 500,000 coins, with the proceeds split between the National Park Service and the National Council. Also, President Bush’s Interior budget request contains a $5 million request for next fiscal year, and First Lady Laura Bush has accepted an invitation to serve as the Honorary Chair of the Bicentennial. (Note: This information cannot be published without permission from the White House).
Mr. Blackwood referenced the notes from Bob Archibald and Jane Weber thanking the Commission for providing financial assistance for the National Council’s meeting. Mr. Blackwood recognized Jane Weber, Peggy Bourne and Steve Kubick for their role in the National Council’s Conference.
Dyani Bingham, Scott Sproull and Ltc. Jon Jackson joined the meeting.
U.S. Forest Service – Rural Community Assistance Program
Mr. Blackwood announced that Scott Bell, U.S. Forest Service in Odgen, Utah, contacted him regarding their desire to review and possibly fund some of the 2003 grant projects the Commission was struggling to fund. He visited the Commission Office, reviewed the applications and identified two that met their program’s criteria for funding; 1) L&C Native Plant Garden & Original Specimen Procurement at Big Timber, and 2) the Twin Bridges L&C Interpretive Park. Ms. Gorski added that the Forest Service would like to be involved in the process early on in the future.
A. Budget Review
The FY 2003 Budget Worksheet was presented and reviewed by Mr. Blackwood. He noted the projected FY03 cash carry-forward balance of $3,056. Items in the Income section were reviewed, and he noted the differences between actual and projected amounts. Regarding projected license plate sales, Mr. Blackwood said this was the category where he was most apprehensive, as the projection might prove to be too high. There has been an explosion of new specialty license plates now available, and the actual plate revenues for May were not available ahead to today’s meeting. Mr. Blackwood then reviewed the items in the Expense section, and noted the differences between actual and projected amounts. In particular, he noted the Legacy Campaign item, and explained that when the budget was first proposed, anticipated expenses were projected at $243,935. However, due to termination of the Bentz contract, actual expenses totaled $166,432. Under the Commission Grants category, Mr. Blackwood explained that two groups had yet to claim their $2,000 in O&P Grants for 2003; Ft. Belknap had just submitted their signed contracts, and the 2002 report from the Blackfeet remained delinquent. The remaining $34,902 represented the net of 2003 Project Grants that the Commission voted to approve. He explained that if projected license plate revenues of $20,000 per month were accurate, funds would be available to pay the two O&P grants and the remaining six Project Grants, and would allow for a cash carry-forward balance of $3,056.
The Loan Status for the Board of Investments was reviewed next. The February 2003 payment of $38,355.74 was made, and the next payment of $36,176.47 would come due August 18, 2003. The loan’s final payment would come due in February 2005 and payments average about $37,000 in February and August. Mr. Blackwood confirmed that a second loan had been secured but no funds were drawn and would not be without Commission approval. Mr. Monger asked what budget items were not expended, based on the fact that income was about half of the amount projected. Mr. Blackwood said the grants program was reduced by a commensurate amount. Ms. Baumgart asked for clarification on the $34,902 in project grants and Mr. Blackwood confirmed that this amount represented the 6 remaining grants that had been scored by the committee and not funded during the February meeting. The first 5 grants were funded for a total of $54,500 that represented $50,000 from Commerce and $4,500 from the Commission’s budget. The remaining funds would come from license plate revenues.
The meeting recessed for a break.
Confluence of Cultures Symposium Update
David Purviance joined the meeting and reported on the Confluence of Cultures Symposium scheduled to begin tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. on the UM Campus. He reported that Secretary of the Interior Gail Norton issued a press release urging people to attend the conference. The National Endowment for the Humanities ran an article in their national magazine, and Horizon Airlines ran an article in their in-flight magazine. Idaho Public TV and Montana Public TV also planned coverage. National Native News also ran a story, and many other media have also run stories. He said the original number of 60 had now grown to 240 presenters/performers and registration totaled about 600 to date. He reported the committee had been successful in securing about $195,000 in grants and expenses to date were around $210,000. He said registration fees were expected to make up the $15,000 difference. He spoke about the sharing of cultures between the young people from Alaska and the Salish/Kootenai communities. In particular, he noted Friday’s noon luncheon, which was by invitation only, where the 240 presenters/performers would be honored. Mr. Blackwood said Symposium planning had been ongoing for three years, and originated in the Commission’s Education Committee. It grew into a partnership with the UM Bicentennial Committee, and would not have succeeded without David Purviance taking the leadership role. Mr. Purviance responded to a question regarding the recording of the Symposium by saying that a proceedings and DVD were planned and an order form would be available in the conference registration packet. He said s written request was made of every presenter/performer for approval to both videotape and provide their written remarks in the planned proceedings. With regard to media coverage, he urged respect of tribal traditions, in particular with regard to recordings and photographs, and asked people to obtain prior permission for both. He said a media hospitality room was available and those Commissioners serving as moderators would find information in their registration packets.
A. Budget Review - continued
The FY 2004 Proposed Budget was addressed next. Mr. Blackwood explained that the format had been modified from last year. He began by reviewing the proposed Income categories. The $3,500 for Grants Administration represents funds from the NPS to cover the cost of administering CCS Grants to Montana recipients through the Commission’s cooperative agreement with the NPS. The $50,000 for grants from the Dept. of Commerce was pending approval by the Tourism Advisory Council at their upcoming meeting. He noted that no income was budgeted from the Legacy Campaign, but said this could literally change overnight if the Campaign was successful in securing funds from their prospects. The sale of license plates was budgeted at $216,000, an average of $18,000 per month; last calendar year’s sales totaled $240,000. The projected cash carry-forward balance from FY 2003 was reflected at $3,056. The expense categories were reviewed next and Mr. Blackwood reviewed the categories that reflected a change from last year. Under the Grants category, he noted that if additional income were received, Project Grant could be increased. Also under Grants, he explained that the NPS CCS Grants amount reflected only those grants the Commission was directly involved in, not the total of pass-through funds. The Administrative Overhead to MHS was noted as a change from last year’s budget. Mr. Blackwood explained that the NPS offered $3,500 to administer the CCS grants; however the Historical Society was charging 3% on all grants this year which resulted in a $1,885 shortfall. Arnie Olsen had explained to Mr. Blackwood that the Society’s budget sustained deep cuts in the 2003 Legislative Session and they were forced to increase administrative overhead to the Commission. Therefore all grants funds will be subject to a 3% overhead and all operations funds will be subject to a 6% overhead. Operations overhead is slated to increase to 7% next fiscal year. The BOI Loan Repayment amount of $73,012 covers two payments this fiscal year, one in August 2003 and one in February 2004. Mr. Blackwood restated the Commission’s decision from the February meeting that first funds received from the Legacy Campaign were earmarked for repayment of the BOI Loan balance of $75,369. He explained that the balancing feature for the budget was that the Commission would not award more project grants than the net of revenue, minus set expenses. Mr. Blackwood noted that the spreadsheet format has been revised to more clearly identify the three types of grants. Mr. Blackwood clarified that the Commission would not make the decision on how much to allocate for project grants until the February 2003 Commission meeting. Mr. Staves noted that the increase on Admin. Overhead as a percentage of the budget was the largest growth item, and asked if there was a written agreement with the Society, or whether the decision arbitrary. Mr. Blackwood said the decision was Mr. Olsen’s. Overhead was set last year at 3% on operations and 1.5% on grants, excluding the NPS Pass Through Grants. Mr. Staves felt the current fee was quite large, and asked if the fee would continue to increase. Mr. Blackwood explained that Mr. Olsen had indicated that he was receiving either ‘directive’ or ‘encouragement’ from the Governor’s Office to increase the administrative fees, and that the Society had experienced large budget cuts, in addition to loosing the administrative overhead with the move of the Heritage Commission to Commerce. Mr. Staves asked if the enacting legislation addressed administrative fees and Mr. Blackwood replied that it did not. Mr. Martin asked if the reason for the increase was to make up for revenues the Society lost in other areas. Mr. Blackwood explained that the Society was not at fault for the revenue reductions they received. He said by statute the Commission was part of the budgeting system of the Society. Mr. Monger asked what specific services were provided by the Society. Mr. Blackwood said they were primarily bookkeeping, paying of invoices, payroll, SABRS accounting reports, and payment of all grants funds. Mr. Blackwood said other agencies were charging upwards of 8 to 10%. Mr. Monger said State Parks pays 10.9% on state revenues and 19.8% on federal revenues, but added it was not a fair comparison as their administration fees supported different functions that those being provided to the Commission. Ms. Stone reiterated that the Commission was administratively attached to the Society, and Mr. Staves agreed there was probably no choice in the matter.
Mr. Blackwood returned to the budget, and explained that expenditures were timed to allow for a positive cash flow throughout the fiscal year. He added that any revenues received from the Legacy Campaign would be in addition to the current budget. Mr. Stearns asked if federal funding would be harder to come by and there was discussion that 2004 might be the last year for Challenge Cost Share funds. Mr. Blackwood called for questions on the proposed budget and Mr. Stearns asked if the travel allocation was sufficient. Mr. Blackwood explained that it was reduced by $2,000 as this year’s budget ended with a positive $3,000 balance. He said 7 Signature Events would take place in 2004 and he planned to only attend those where COSA planned to meet as COSA received Challenge Cost Share grant funds to offset up to $250 per meeting to cover his expenses. He agreed to coordinate with Travel Montana or the Tourism Regions to possibly have a Montana booth at some of the Signature Events. Mr. Monger questioned the formula for determining the overhead charges for grants and operations and Mr. Blackwood explained that we did not bring the worksheet to the meeting, but agreed to double check the figures. Mr. Monger said he assumed we were paying overhead on the expense side, and Mr. Blackwood agreed that the percentage was charged monthly on expenses. Mr. Monger asked if assumptions were made with regard to salaries on the proposed budget, and Mr. Blackwood explained that Ms. Cortright’s position was recently reviewed and upgraded and the salary reflected an increase. The 2004 salary costs were provide by the Society’s Business Office, and did not reflect any other salary adjustments. Mr. Blackwood said the Commission’s practice was to conduct an annual performance review and there had been salary adjustments in some past years; however last year’s increase was the normal state employee increase. Mr. Monger complimented staff on the budget format, but noted the budget was quite tight. Mr. Blackwood said the balancing feature of the budget was the amount of funds provided for project grants. Ms. Stone noted that no revenues were projected from the Legacy Campaign, and that first funds were earmarked for the BOI loan repayment. She said if Legacy Campaign funds were received they would free up funds budgeted for loan repayment. Mr. Blackwood said the 3-year BOI loan repayment schedule was very flexible and, if needed, could be restructured. Ms. Baumgart asked about the $240,000 figure given as license plate sales for 2003, and questioned the $20,000 projected income for May and June 2003. Mr. Staves explained that was a calendar year figure, not a fiscal year figure, and said the first five months of calendar 2003 reflected inflated sales based on the early purchase of plates. Mr. Blackwood called for the license plate report.
C. License Plate Committee
Mr. Staves explained that plate sales averaged 1,000 plates per month during calendar 2002. In late 2002 and early 2003 the sale of bicentennial plates experienced strong competition based on the availability of many other specialty plates. He noted the recent legislation that placed some restrictions on specialty plates, but said competition would continue. Mr. Staves said he was under the impression that new legislation would allow for use of the bicentennial plate on recreational vehicles, which would include travel trailers as well as motor homes, but agreed to get a clarification on the legislation. Motor homes account for about 25% of RV’s, which would account for increased sales; however some sales would be lost to competition. He felt that because the bicentennial plate renewal process was more convenient that for other specialty plates, renewals would remain high. Mr. Blackwood said one of the challenges was that Motor Vehicles in Deer Lodge could not distinguish between renewals and new sales. We also detected a problem with the reporting of total plate sales from Deer Lodge, and was able to verify through direct contact to select counties that their sales were higher than what was being reported through Deer Lodge. It appeared that reported revenues from counties were correct, but plate sales from the Motor Vehicle Division were erroneous, which made accurate revenue projections for the Commission’s budget impossible. As an example, January sales were reported at 285, and revenues indicated sales of about 1,244 plates. Mr. Blackwood said he understood that the new legislation allowed for use on all vehicles, with the exception of those that displayed the smaller plate. Mr. Staves said a limited marketing campaign was planned to RV dealers and campgrounds to promote purchase of the bicentennial plate. Mr. Monger said pull-behind or fifth-wheel camper trailers would become permanently registered, and said statistics show that 54% of all vehicles are licensed in the first 41% of the year, which agreed with the bicentennial plate sales. Mr. Blackwood closed by saying that the Motor Vehicle Division was working to correct their reporting process.
D. Grants Committee
Ms. Cortright reviewed the handout on the NPS Challenge Cost Share grants and recapped the amount of funds received in Montana for projects from 1999 through 2003. The Commission continues to serve as a pass-through entity under a five-year Cooperative Agreement with the Park Service, and this year woud pass-through $179,500 in grant funds. She offered to provide a copy of the 2003 CCS Projects for Montana to anyone interested and said the information was also posted annually on the Commission’s web site. Ms. Cortright reviewed the handout that recapped the Commission’s grants program from 2000 through 2002, noting that seven 2001 project grants had requested extensions. In reviewing the 2002 Organization & Planning Grants, she explained that final reports from the Blackfeet and the Crow were delinquent. Six-month reports were current on the 2002 project grants. Ms. Cortright reported that during the February meeting, the Commission agreed to award $2,000 grants to 19 applicants for a total of $38,000. To date, $34,296.66 had been requested by 19 of the 22 possible applicants; the Salish did not apply, Ft. Belknap just signed contracts in mid-May, and the Blackfeet had yet received funds based on the delinquent 2002 report. Mr. Blackwood said the Commission had determined that receipt of O&P funds was based on compliance with the reporting procedures. Repeated requests have failed to produce their report, and he asked the Commission to address whether or not to continue to make the 2003 O&P funds available. Mr. Martin explained that Ft. Belknap’s Tourism Department was closed for half of the year, which resulted in their delay. Mr. McDonald asked when the next grants cycle would take place, and Mr. Blackwood explained that applications would be issued in October, with a mid-December application deadline. Ms. Cortright continued by reporting that in February the Commission approved funding for five project grants totaling $54,500. Contracts and checks had since been issued on those five grants. This left a balance of $42,630 to fund the remaining 8 projects, of which the Forest Service has agreed to fund $7,720 for two projects. This left a balance of $34,902 to fund the remaining grants and would require the Commission’s approval through a motion. Ms. Cortright referred to the Program Grants Summary handout, and noted that a reporting process, including draft budgets, had been implemented to ensure appropriate expenditure of the funds. Mr. Blackwood explained that Program Grants were provided outside of the competitive process; Project Grants were competitive, and O&P Grants were offered to regional commissions and tribes.
B. Fundraising & Promotion Committee
Mr. Blackwood distributed Sara Groves’ written report as she was attending the Economic Summit in Billings at the request of Tom Scott, campaign chair. He noted that the contract with Charles Bentz Associates was terminated at the end of April based on a decision by the Coordinating Committee, comprised of representatives from the five partners in the Campaign. In lieu of Bentz, the Campaign was seeking affordable Campaign support in key locations, possibly in Missoula/Western Montana, Great Falls/Northcentral, and Bozeman/Helena/Southcentral. Mr. Blackwood estimated the expense at $750/week for 15-20 hours of work. The Regional Campaign Teams and chairs were noted, along with their fundraising goals and current status. The Statewide Steering Committee continues to focus on larger prospects with a $3 million total goal. He reviewed the ongoing efforts for corporate sponsorships, in particular the in-kind marketing by Pepsi. Stephenie Ambrose Tubbs has agreed to continue the “Friends of Ambrose Society” and planed to cultivate a list of her father’s friends and associates. Campaign staff continues to seek other Foundation support through contacts and grant applications. To date, $657,630 has been committed to the Campaign, with $231,197 in actual receipts. Pledges were going well, but cash receipts were lagging. Mr. Blackwood said campaign funds could be either restricted or unrestricted. Unrestricted funds were governed by a detailed Cooperative Agreement and split out by percentages. To date the state Commission had invested approximately $175,000 in Campaign support, and the Campaign Agreement stipulates that the three entities that have made loans to the Campaign would be repaid prior to allocation of funds based on the percentages. Mr. Staves said Bentz did a good job of creating the necessary foundation for the Campaign, but the Campaign slowly slipped behind schedule, by about 4 months. This necessitated the termination of the Bentz contract to improve the cash flow situation. He felt the Campaign would remain in a good cash position through the end of the year. Mr. Sterns said he was asked to ensure that all members of the Commission were partnering in this effort, and encouraged those who had not yet contributed to consider doing so. He suggested that members of the Commission could join the Country Teams and work with them in their fundraising efforts. Mr. Blackwood agreed and encouraged Commissioners to become more involved at the local level.
Mr. Blackwood called for a motion on payment of the 6 remaining Project Grants. Ms. Stone suggested that receipt of funds was crucial to the Poplar project. Ms. Baumgart asked if contact had been made with the 6 remaining applicants and Mr. Blackwood said they had been contacted and there was consensus that late receipt of funds was better than never. After lengthy discussion and several rescinded motions, Betty Stone made a motion that the Commission authorize payment of the remaining project grant funds up to $34,902; that the Grants Committee contact applicants regarding timing of payment and provide that information to the Executive Committee; and that the Executive Committee make a determination of the grants to be awarded based on the current budget, leaving a balance of $3,056 to be carried forward into the 2004 budget, by June 30th. Darrell Martin seconded. Mr. Lepley called for further discussion. Hearing none, the motion carried.
Mr. Blackwood asked for direction on dealing with the 2003 O&P Grant to the Blackfeet Tribe. The policy in place states that funds would not be given out to a recipient if they had not complied with the previous year’s Letter of Agreement. There was consensus that a motion was not needed, that staff could operate under the conditions of the Letter of Agreement and should notify the Blackfeet contact regarding the non-qualification for their requested 2003 grant.
Homer Staves made a motion to approve the FY 2004 budget subject to withholding approval of project grants. Mr. Monger seconded. Mr. Lepley called for discussion. Ms. Baumgart asked for clarification on disbursement of $231,197.50 received by the Legacy Campaign, and Mr. Blackwood explained that those funds were retained by the Campaign to cover expenses. Mr. Lepley called for the vote and the motion carried. Ms. Baumgart asked for clarification on the accounting and administration of the Legacy Campaign. Mr. Blackwood explained that the Montana History Foundation operated as a private, non-profit and collects donations, pays salaries and expenses for the Campaign, all of which were approved by the Legacy Campaign’s Coordinating Committee. The five partners operate under a Campaign Agreement that sets forth the guidelines for disbursement of Campaign funds. The monthly operating budget for the Campaign had been as high as $35,000 per month while Bentz was on contract; now expense ranges from $12,000 to $15,000 monthly. Mr. Blackwood closed by saying the Coordinating Committee continues to closely monitor the Campaign’s progress.
A letter from Rozina George, addressed to Robert Archibald, President of the National Council of the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial, was distributed to Commissions for their review.
The meeting adjourned at 5:15 p.m.
May 28, 2003
I. Call to Order
Chairman Jack Lepley called the meeting to order at 8:30 a.m. on May 28, 2003, and called for introductions.
Commissioners attending were: Jack Lepley chair, Betsy Baumgart, Kathy Doeden, Darrell Kipp, Wyman McDonald, Doug Monger, Tootie Rasmussen, Homer Staves, Hal Stearns and Betty Stone. Staff included Clint Blackwood and Rita Cortright. Commissioners unable to attend were Arnie Olsen and Darrell Martin.
Guests included: Steve Kubick, Richard Hopkins, Ron Clark, Aaron and Marilyn Strange, Lois Roby, Peggy Bourne, Mike Sweeney, Kelly McPherson, Rita Blouke, Dave Walter, Norma Nickerson, Jim Wilton and Ltc. Jonathan Jackson.
The first order of business was the letter from Rozina George addressed to Robert Archibald that had been provided to the Commission at the close of yesterday’s meeting. The Commission discussed the issue, felt it was good to be informed on the matter, but agreed to take no action.
E. Conference Planning Committee
Betty Stone reported that the 5th Annual Fall Conference was set for Oct. 2-3, at the Yogo Inn in Lewistown, Montana. A “mark your calendar” post card would be mailed in the next few weeks. Gail Brockbank has been contracted again to serve as conference planner, and she met on May 8 with Clint and Rita to begin preliminary planning. The Commission received a $5,000 NPS Challenge Cost Share Grant to assist with conference expenses. Ms. Stone said the Montana Tribal Tourism Alliance would play a key role in this year’s conference with a traditional meal and Indian encampment. She asked people to contact her or Rita Cortright with topic ideas. Mr. Blackwood added that the Commission would meet on the afternoon of Oct. 1 and the morning of Oct. 2, immediately preceding the Conference. He reported on a recent corridor meeting of the groups in the Craig/Helena/Townsend area, noting that their meeting format might serve as a good model for corridor breakout sessions at the Fall Conference. Groups talked about the historic significance of the Trail in their area, how their group was organized, and what projects were under way in their region. She closed by saying Walt Marten and Loren Flynn volunteered at the Febr. Commission meeting to serve on the Conference Planning Committee with Betty Stone and Doug Monger.
F. Education Committee
Hal Stearns reported that, according to Bonnie Sachatello-Sawyer, a new edition of the Lewis and Clark Educators Resource Guide was expected by August. Many new titles and websites appear weekly, and although she has conducted two review sessions this spring and has a new draft prepared, she wanted to complete another review session before going to press. Ms. Rasmussen inquired regarding distribution of the Guide to schools and libraries. Mr. Blackwood explained that Ms. Sawyer had charged enough for the first release to provide for reprinting of the Guide and that distribution of the first release to libraries and school districts was covered by the Montana Historical Society. Mr. Blackwood offered to contact Ms. Sawyer regarding her distribution plans for the new edition and follow-up with the Society to determine their plans. Mr. Lepley suggested mailing information to the heads of history departments instead of school administrators.
Mr. Stearns addressed the Commission’s involvement with the Interpretive Center in Great Falls on Guide Training. He said the next training session was slated for October, and noted that 19 people were currently listed as Tour Guides on the Commission’s web site. The list continues to grow, and 11 applications were currently being reviewed for possible listing as guides. He reported that during the National Council’s meeting in Great Falls this pas April, a technical center was utilized to deliver well-received guide training to about 40 people in Alton, Illinois, which is near Wood River. He reported that the Nebraska L&C Commission was considering implementing a guide-training program patterned after Montana’s program.
Mr. Stearns reported that the Confluence of Cultures Symposium was scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. that afternoon on the UM Campus. Mr. Kipp suggested that the Commission give consideration to a future symposium that would address some of the long-standing cultural issues and advocate for a mutual settlement, possibly toward the end of the Commission’s term.
Mr. Blackwood referenced the printed supplement for the L&C video, and said the Education Committee planned to work with Jeri Mae Rowley to obtain enhanced information. Mr. Stearns suggested the Education Committee might also address boater safety as an educational topic and cited a very useful publication on the topic produced by the Corps of Engineers.
H. River Use Permitting Process
Mr. Blackwood said the topic of river use permits was proposed by Betty Stone at the Febr. meeting. He reported that Liz Lodman, Boat Education, FWP, was the point person collecting water safety information for both the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers that would be made available on a new website. She has been gathering information and contacts from all agencies on a variety of topics, including equipment, precautions, reading the water, and river maps. Once this information became available on the web, he suggested it could then be linked from Travel Montana’s web site, www.visitmt.com. He said MTRI had also given some consideration to the concept of utilizing a short-wave or low-frequency radio channel to provide information at key river access points and felt that boater safety would be a good topic for the Education Committee to take on.
Mr. Blackwood said he attended an April Public Safety meeting in Great Falls, where sheriffs and emergency response people discussed the topic of regulating access or notifying the public when they were crossing from public to private land. He suggested the use of markers along the river banks to help identify land ownership. Mr. Staves offered that BLM had produced river brochures to aide in identifying locations and land ownership. Mr. Hopkins said a map was available on the Wild & Scenic Area of the Missouri River. Mr. Monger said the Legislature had addressed this issue and determined it was the floater’s responsibility to determine where they were in relation to public/private lands. Mr. Hopkins said the idea of markers had always been discouraged due to the continued change in land ownership. Steve Kubick proposed the use of GPS points as a useful tool in identifying public vs. private land, and suggested a possible sponsorship by a GPS software company might be secured.
G. Events Committee
Tootie Rasmussen called on Betty Stone to report on plans for the event, “Lewis and Clark at the Confluence,” April 29-30, and May 1, 2005, an event to mark the entry of the Expedition into Montana. Ms. Stone reported on receiving a NPS CCS Grant of $9,000 to fund event planning. She announced plans for a June 17th committee meeting, where the possibility of hiring an events planner would be discussed. The event is being planned jointly with North Dakota, and will take place at Fort Union and the new Visitor Information Center at the Confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers scheduled to open August 22, 2003. The North Dakota Signature Event will take place in October 2004, and Mr. Blackwood said there was not other Signature Event planned in the Spring of 2005 to kick off the season; therefore this “significant event” was being planned at the Confluence to draw national attention to the Confluence area. Plans will include the L&C Honor Guard, an Indian encampment, and other living history exhibits at Fort Union. Mr. Stearns recommended extending invitations to the North Dakota commission to attend the Fall Conference in Lewistown and suggested this event could be a topic at the Conference. Ms. Stone said their committee might approach the Commission with a funding request in fiscal 2005 for the event. Mr. Monger asked the Commission to consider moving the May 2005 Commission meeting to coincide with the April event.
Mr. Blackwood said he was working with Loren Flynn on a “yet-to-be-named” event planned for the Lolo area in the Spring of 2006. Mr. Flynn said this 4-day ‘significant event’ might include an activity at the top of Lolo Pass, one at Travelers’ Rest, and one each in Missoula and Hamilton over the 4th of July. The event will commemorate the Expedition’s travels through the Lolo/Missoula/Hamilton area. Mr. Blackwood thanked Mr. Flynn for the previous evening’s tour and reception at Travelers’ Rest.
Ms. Rasmussen noted the growing list on the Commission’s web page “Calendar of Events.” Ms. Cortright addressed the National Council’s Calendar of Events, and explained that Amy Baird recently reviewed the events on the Montana Calendar and requested updated information on them prior to submitting those same events to the National Council for posting on their Events Calendar. She encouraged people to submit event information through the National Council’s website, ‘www.lewisandclark200.org’ and also contact Jan Wirak at Travel Montana with event information for that calendar. Forms were made available to the audience for submission of the different types of listings. Mr. Blackwood said a $168 million national ad campaign kicks off this September and will advertise the web site, ‘www.lewisandclark200.org’, which was an added reason for getting all kinds of appropriate events listed. He added that a multiple year calendar was also under development by Travel Montana.
Peggy Bourne was introduced and recognized for her efforts in planning the successful National Council conference held in Great Falls in April. She reported on the ongoing planning activities related to “Explore! the Big Sky,” which will begin on June 1, 2005, in the Fort Benton area and will move along the Trail to Great Falls. Currently they are in the foundation building process, focusing on marketing, safety, resources, community outreach and development of a community calendar. She said the Explorers Council just adopted the Marketing Plan, and she offered copies by request. A “Resource Checklist” and “Form for Events Committee Summaries” were distributed to the audience. She reported on working with a 60-member Safety Committee, representing fire, medical, police, military, and sheriffs departments. A copy of their Calendar of Events was displayed, and Ms. Bourne said they would utilize GPS to create a map showing event locations, times, activities, and numbers of people in an effort to accurately assign resources. Ms. Bourne said she was very pleased with the progress made to date. Mr. Kipp also complimented the Great Falls planning committee for their work on the National Council’s conference. Mr. Stearns asked how much time she was devoting to Signature Event planning and Ms. Bourne responded that she was investing about 75-80% of her 60-hour week to the project. Mr. Stearns suggested a presentation on the Signature Events at the Commission’s Fall Conference.
Mr. Blackwood noted that no one from the “Clark on the Yellowstone” Signature Event committee was present at the meeting to report on their plans.
Mr. Blackwood noted the planned opening of several interpretive/visitor centers statewide: 1) the Ft. Peck Interpretive Center opens May 2004; 2) The Upper Missouri Breaks BLM Facility in Fort Benton opens in 2006; and 3) the Pompeys Pillar Center opens in the Summer 2005.
H. Legacy Project Committee
Mr. Lepley reported on the Legacy Project, a bas-relief piece of art to be commissioned for display in the Senate Chambers in the State Capitol. Legislation passed this spring appointing six ex-legislators to serve on an advisory committee. The Commission’s Legacy Committee, comprised of Jack Lepley, Arnie Olsen and Hal Stearns, has met twice. The next step would be to compile a list of artists, and Mr. Lepley circulated the artist’s list provided by the Montana Arts Council, and asked that additions to the list be sent to the Commission office. A short list would be assembled and submittals would then be requested from those artists. The Commission suggested selecting a Montana artist for the project and Mr. Lepley added that he considered this to be the Commission’s project. The project would be financed through the sale of limited edition maquettes, which Mr. Lepley estimated would take about 18 months to complete. Mr. Monger raised the possibility of marketing the maquettes to local communities for display in public buildings. Mr. Blackwood asked if a Summer 2005 dedication was feasible and Mr. Lepley said it was possible. Kathy Doeden and Darrell Kipp agreed to join the Legacy Committee. Mr. Lepley agreed to continue as chair, and would move ahead with scheduling a meeting. Mr. Monger suggested including Senator Grimes.
VII. Old Business
A. Legislative Update
Betsy Baumgart explained that prior to the Session, all agencies were asked to prioritize their programs, knowing that those on the bottom of the list could be looked at for possible elimination. She said at Commerce, Travel Montana was well at the top of the list and they did not experience direct cuts to their program. She said HB 492, which proposed taking 2.65% from Travel Montana and redirecting it to the Arts Council, resulted in strained relations. Senate Bill 407, the Governor’s Tax Reform Bill, passed, and becomes effective June 1. This bill increased the accommodations tax by 3%, and established a 4% tax on rental cars, effective July 1, and increased cigarette taxes effective May 1. Lodging and campgrounds that had signed contracts prior to the effective date received a waiver. Also included in the bill was a 5% vendor allowance on the increased lodging and car rental taxes, based on timely payment of the taxes. Ms. Baumgart said that well before the Session, Travel Montana met with the Budget Director and tourism partners and agreed to re-allocate about $200,000 to the Montana Historical Society.
Mr. McDonald asked Ms. Baumgart if the tax situation had been resolved with the Kwa Taq Nuk Resort in Polson. Ms. Baumgart responded that this was an issue between the tribes and the Department of Revenue; however the resort could not be listed in Travel Montana’s publications based on the fact that an accommodations tax identification number was required. Mr. McDonald said the tribes would not agree to collect the bed tax, but would be willing to discuss a “fee for service” arrangement.
Mr. Monger said this Session had gone on record as the toughest both politically and financially. He also noted the loss of institutional memory brought about through term limits. He noted several bills that affected L&C issues specifically: HB 601 retained Tower Rock in state ownership. SB 118 implemented changes in the specialty license plate process by raising the application fee from $1,200 to $4,000 and implemented a sales performance evaluation on specialty plates. SB 435 did not pass, but Mr. Monger expected it would come up again. This bill proposed permanent licensing of all motor vehicles over 11 years old. SB 112, the Search and Rescue bill implemented a 50 cent surcharge on the registration of boats, snowmobiles and OHV’s and a 25 cent surcharge on hunting, fishing, and conservation licenses specific for search and rescue and allocated the funding. This bill would provide hundreds of thousands of dollars in increased funding statewide. Senator Kitzenberg proposed legislation requiring all users of small craft below Fort Benton on the Missouri to wear life jackets during the Bicentennial. This legislation was tabled but did raise awareness levels. Another bill that did not pass would have provided for a $5 registration decal on non-motorized boats that would have supported increased interpretation at fishing access sites. Successful legislation proposed by the State Parks Futures Committee included a $4 fee on all light vehicles and dedicated 87.5% to State Parks, 6.25% to Virginia City, and 6.25% to the Fishing Access Program for non-traditional uses. Of the 5.0 FTE added, he said half would be dedicated toward interpreter positions for Giant Springs, Headwaters State Park, Lewis & Clark Caverns.
Speaking for Mr. Olsen, Clint Blackwood referred to the handout, “2003 Legislative Summary – Montana Historical Society,” and noted that the Society lost $757,000 as a result of HB 2. Mr. Blackwood said he did not detect concern or panic on the part of legislators with regard to Lewis & Clark, and did not know how to read the lack of turnout at the Legislative Briefing on the Commission’s activities. He thanked Travel Montana for the $200,000 in HB 2 for the Commission’s budget.
B. Ambrose Plaque at Lolo Visitor Center
Mr. Blackwood referenced the handout depicting the image and text planned for display on a bronze plaque at the Lolo Visitor Center in honor of Stephen Ambrose. Dedication of the plaque was planned for Friday, June 27, 2003, and Hal Stearns and Clint Blackwood would represent the state Commission. This was a joint project between the MT Dept. Transportation, Idaho Dept. Transportation, U.S. Forest Service, and Clearwater National Forest. Both the Idaho and Montana L&C Bicentennial Commissions contributed $500 toward the cost of the plaque to be mounted on a boulder behind the Visitor Center along side the walking trail. Stephenie Ambrose Tubbs and Mora Ambrose will be in attendance.
D. Links Policy
Ms. Cortright addressed the draft links policy, noting that Travel Montana provided a copy of their current links policy and registration form to serve as guideline. Staff recommendations included not charging a fee for business links, and not issuing paper agreements, but instead operating on a ‘word of honor’ basis. Mr. Staves made a motion to adopt the policy as recommended. Mr. Kipp seconded and the motion carried.
I. MT National Guard Involvement
Ltc. Jon Jackson briefly addressed the Commission regarding National Guard involvement in the Bicentennial. He announced that Gen. Prendergast was recently named chair of the General Officers’ Steering Committee for the Trail states. He explained that the Guard was attempting to obtain funding through the Congressional L&C Caucus to help support L&C activities in Trail state communities. Ltc. Jackson said the Guard could not help relieve costs but could help enhance programs through participation in parades and equipment displays. Funding requests were made for 2004, 2005, and 2006 to provide assistance at Signature and Significant Events for security, communications, life safety, helicopter support, etc., and he was awaiting a response to the budget request. He explained the Guard could only work for the civil authorities, not local groups or the state Commission. Mr. Blackwood encouraged the audience to lend its support for Congressional funding of the Guard. Ltc. Jackson also addressed “innovative readiness training” and explained that he could provide labor and equipment to assist with local projects, such as building trails, bridges, etc. He encouraged people put their request in the form of a letter and send it to him for consideration and response. Mr. Blackwood encouraged people to contact Ltc. Jon Jackson, HQ STARC-MTARNG, Attn: DCSOPS-MS, P O Box 4789, Helena, MT 59604-4789.
VIII. New Business
F. Committee Assignments
Committee assignments were reviewed and the following changes were made:
Wyman McDonald joined the Education Committee
Betty Stone replaced Kathy Doeden
Hal Stearns replaced Doug Monger
A new TAC representative would replace Donna Madson
Wyman McDonald replaced Darrell Martin
Kathy Doeden and Darrell Kipp joined the Legacy Committee
Hal Stearns as Chair
Homer Staves as Vice Chair
Jack Lepley as immediate past Chair
One member to be named by new Chair
A. Nominating Committee Report & Election of Officers
Tootie Rasmussen presented the Nominating Committee’ recommendations, nominating Hal Stearns as Chair and Homer Staves as Vice Chair. Mr. Lepley called three times for nominations from the floor. Hearing none, Ms. Stone made a motion to accept the slate of nominations and cast unanimous ballot. Ms. Baumgart seconded and the motion carried.
B. Commissioners’ Terms Ending October 1, 2003
Mr. Blackwood announced that the following Commissioner’s terms would expire in October: Kathy Doeden, Jack Lepley and Darrell Martin. Those seeking reappointment, as well as others wishing to serve on the Commission, were encouraged to write a letter to the Governor. Generally the appointments are made prior to the October meeting; if not, Commissioners serve until appointment is made.
C. 2002 PLOG Research Study
Mr. Blackwood explained that in 2002 Montana participated in a PLOG Research Study, which was the second study conducted in the Trail States to determine interest in and awareness of the Bicentennial and Expedition. He invited Norma Nickerson and Jim Wilton, with the Institute for Tourism Recreation and Research, to present the highlights of this recent study and asked the Commission to be considering the types of research they might recommend ITRR conduct in the future to obtain more accurate numbers on the potential number of visitors to Montana. Ms. Nickerson began by explaining that ITRR primarily conducts non-resident surveys, and noted that in 2002, 9.7 million non-residents visited the state. Trail states and federal agencies contributed to fund the 2002 PLOG study that was mailed to 2,500 randomly selected people from their panel. The full report is available on their web site, www.forestry.umt.edu/itrr. She reviewed the data, and noted that many remain unaware of the Expedition, its history, and the upcoming Bicentennial. About 54% of the U.S. public was aware of the Expedition; about 61% of frequent travelers were aware of the Bicentennial. She said about 4% of the U.S. population became aware of Lewis & Clark over the past two years. Ms. Nickerson said the same questions were asked in both 2000 and 2002, and in two years, there was a 141% increase in awareness of the upcoming Bicentennial, which equated to 13% of the Nation being aware that a commemoration was planned. One question dealt with the likelihood of visitation to Trail States in the next 3 years; Virginia, Washington and Oregon topped the list, and Montana ranked 4th, which equated to 7.5 million people per year coming to Montana. Of those, 3.8 million indicated they would probably visit a L&C site. People were polled regarding their intention to visit specific L&C sites, and 15.1 million indicated an interest in visiting the Interpretive Center or Pompeys Pillar over the next 3 years. Ms. Nickerson said she felt this number was not an accurate reflection of probable visits. Eleven percent of the sample reported seeing media coverage, which equated to those people being three times more likely to visit L&C sites. Of those who had seen media, most of them could not recall a specific state, but of those who did Missouri, Oregon and Montana were the most frequently noted. Mr. Clark asked if she had an opinion on how the research would change once the Ad Council launched their campaign. Ms. Nickerson responded that the study should be conducted again to measure public response and added that the second study might have been done a little too soon. Mr. Clark encouraged her to get the message out to the Montana business community.
Mr. Kubick reported on visitation numbers at the Interpretive Center, noting that since 1998, over 400,000 people had toured the Center, including approximately 6,000 children per year.
Mr. Blackwood said he was frequently asked about visitation numbers, and asked Ms. Nickerson if she was providing a visitation number. She responded by saying that the survey numbers equated to 7.5 million, but she did not believe the projection was accurate; however there was potential for increased visitation.
Ms. Nickerson asked the audience to brainstorm ways to track visitation at key L&C sites in Montana. She said the Interpretive Center, Pompeys Pillar and Headwaters State Park tracked visitation, and asked if there was a way to piggy-back onto what was already in place to gain additional information. The following list of suggestions were given:
1. DOT traffic counts at Fort Peck L&C Overlook, Lolo Pass, Pompeys Pillar, Travelers’ Rest, Headwaters State Park (FWP has counts from all state parks sites already)
2. BLM registration numbers of people floating the Wild and Scenic Missouri River and Smith River
3. A website survey with a gift premium offer
4. Tracking gasoline consumption
5. Asking Superhost Training attendees to assist with conducting a survey
6. Tracking the sale of L&C merchandise
7. Piggy-back the survey on Montana tax statements or license plate renewals
8. Including the survey with requested visitor information packets
Ms. Nickerson said that in 2005 the non-resident survey would be repeated, and in that survey people would be asked if they were traveling to Montana specifically to visit L&C sites. She said they were considering how to also get resident information. Mr. Blackwood questioned whether the 2005 survey would provide information on visitor satisfaction. Ms. Nickerson said visitor satisfaction has been addressed with regard to roads and lodging, but felt the information would be best gathered at various sites statewide. Ms. Baumgart said in order for the state to really benefit from the Bicentennial, off-season travel was critical, as the summer months were already running at 80% capacity. Ms. Nickerson asked people to email her (email@example.com) or call (406) 243-5686 with additional ideas or suggestions.
D. Upcoming Meetings
The next Commission meeting will be in Lewistown the afternoon of October 1 and the morning of October 2, followed by the Fall Conference. The February 10, 2004 meeting location was discussed and Great Falls was chosen. Livingston was identified as a possible site for the June 8, 2004 meeting.
VI. Public Input Time/Open Discussion
Mr. Blackwood said the Commission agreed a couple of meetings back to allow for public input time on the agenda, and during the February meeting Mr. Kipp suggested having time on the agenda for general, philosophical discussion. He proposed considering whether a ‘significant event’ was needed to fill the gap in 2004. Margaret Gorski asked what his plans were with regard to promotion of other Signature Events. He responded that this topic was discussed yesterday, when Mr. Stearns questioned the adequacy of the travel budget. Seven Signature Events were planned for 2004, and the Commission would be represented at those where COSA meetings were planned. He offered to visit with Travel Montana to see determine the best locations for a Montana booth display. He has received no information yet regarding the appearance of the other Signature Events. Mr. Kipp said a number of Indian Honor Guards have been established and would like to be involved. He proposed working out coordination of in-state activities for the various groups, including public relations and the logistics of getting to activities.
Ron Clark asked for the details of Montana’s arrangement with the National Council’s product licensing program in terms of receiving a portion of proceeds. Mr. Blackwood responded that during the COSA meeting in Great Falls this past April, it was reported that the National merchandising program was just gearing up again and they were seeking the names of top retail outlets in states that could be approached to participate in the merchandising program. The distribution of potential funds was mentioned as still being a possibility, but there were no specific details. At one point plans called for pooling funds that would be made available through a competitive grants program. However, the National Council has identified its 5 priorities, including Indian participation and funding Signature Events, and he felt the Council’s needs would come first. He did not feel the state Commission would receive funds directly from the Merchandising Program, but the state would benefit indirectly through the Council’s priorities.
Mr. Clark asked why Mr. Blackwood and the Council had no interest in securing the federal trademarks that he offered to them. Mr. Staves explained that Mr. Clark offered to turn over some of his trademarks free as a contribution to the Legacy Campaign. He explained that the state Commission had voted several times to not pursue product endorsement or product licensing, and the only value the trademarks held was if the National Council was interested in obtaining them for their Merchandising Program, which they were not. Mr. Clark’s offer went through the Legacy Campaign to Robert Archibald. Mr. Staves reiterated that the state Commission had no interest in product licensing and advised Mr. Clark that he had the option of turning them over to the public if he desired without the Commission’s involvement.
Regarding the PLOG Study, Mr. McDonald asked if anyone knew the traffic counts on Hwy. 93 and of them, how many stopped at Travelers’ Rest. He suggested the focus was too narrow, that people who came to the area were also looking at sites other than Lewis & Clark sites. He suggested broadening the focus to accomplish our primary objectives.
Aaron Strange asked if the State had a plan to lead a marketing campaign. Ms. Baumgart responded that over the past two years Travel Montana dedicated about 25% of their overall consumer marketing to Lewis and Clark, primarily through television and cable buys on the national level, full-color, full-page magazine ads, and co-ops with neighboring states. People are directed toward the 800 phone line or the website to provide more information. Their focus has been on image building to let people know that Montana is part of the Lewis & Clark Trail; the focus will shift in the future to promotion of events. Currently, they are in the process of hiring a new advertising agency for the next 2-7 years, and they will address specifically how to market the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial in Montana. Once developed, she offered to share their new ads with the Commission. Mr. Strange asked about the availability of funds for the promotion of local events. Mr. Blackwood explained that early on the Commission determined to not duplicate the role of Travel Montana in marketing the State of Montana. The Commission does have plans to kick up an enhanced in-state public relations campaign in partnership with Travel Montana and the Historical Society. Mr. Blackwood also planned to do more traveling to attend local commission meetings and make himself available for local presentations.
Mr. Lepley adjourned the meeting at 11:55 a.m. for an Executive Session.
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