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    The people of Montana and Idaho will join hands across the border Friday to publicly celebrate the completion of the Lolo Pass Visitor Center and Rest Area that will include a dedication of a memorial to Lewis and Clark historian Stephen Ambrose.

    "The concept for the Lolo Pass Visitor Center and Rest Area became reality because of a collaborative effort,” Montana Gov. Judy Martz said. “I want to thank all who helped make this happen and encourage the public to explore the site and all that the center and trail have to offer. Lolo Pass is rich with history, and the new center showcases the area well.”

    Ambrose’s wife Moira and daughter Stephenie will be on hand to make some comments and talk about the importance of the pass and the love that Stephen had for the important Lewis and Clark site.

    “This is a great example of how the Montana Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commission and the Idaho Governor’s Lewis and Clark Trail Committee are working together with other agencies to make the commemoration of the Corps of Discovery an exciting adventure for those who want to follow the trail,” Montana Bicentennial Commission Executive Director Clint Blackwood said.

    The Montana Department of Transportation, the Idaho Transportation Department and the USDA National Forest Service will host the dedication of the visitor center that they worked on jointly. The public is invited to day-long activities at the new center, which is located along U.S. Highway 12 at the Montana-Idaho border, that will include historic recreators, food, and other fun events that begin at 11 a.m. Montana time and 10 a.m. Idaho time with formal ceremonies.

    The unveiling of the Ambrose Memorial and its dedication will begin at 1 p.m., Blackwood said. Tom Beck, chief policy advisor to Gov. Martz, Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne and other state and federal representatives will be on hand for the event.

    Native American groups will be represented at the event including the joint presentation of colors by the Nez Perce Tribe, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, and the Lewis and Clark Fife and Drum Corps.

    Sack lunches for $2 apiece will be available from noon to 1 p.m. with other activities including a parade by The Nez Perce Horse group, which will include descendants of the horses that Lewis described as “lofty, elegantly formed, active and durable.”

    Throughout the afternoon tours of the center, interpretive hikes, presentations of the history and culture of Native Americans and other exhibits and displays will be available to those who attend. “This will be a memorable and fun event that we can share with all of our wonderful partners in a beautiful place that has been little changed since Lewis and Clark first came upon it 200 years ago,” Blackwood said.

    Because of the size of the expected crowd, special parking areas will be set up and marked along the highway with a shuttle bus to move people back and forth to the center.



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