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Director's Report March 2006
- On March 1st Hal Stearns and I met to discuss various methods we could use to promote the Senate Art Bronze Maquette. After some discussion we decided on a trip to Bozeman and Billings on March 27 & 28.
- Bozeman on March 27th – we first met with the newspaper reporter from the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and gave her a full countdown of not only the Senate Bronze, but also of commemoration plans for 2006. From the Chronicle, we had an interview with the local CBS station (which sent the interview to the Billings CBS station which played it on their local news telecast that same afternoon!).
- Billings on March 28th – our first presentation was at a Chamber of Commerce-sponsored breakfast “Rise ‘N Shine” which was held at the Mansfield Center starting at 7:30 AM. From there we went to the Berg in the Morning Show. We sold three maquettes as a result of this hour-long radio show. From this show we made a call on the Billings Airport, and then to tape a Face the State show at the local CBS TV station (this will probably air on Sunday, April 9th). We also had an appointment at the local Crowley Law Firm, but our contact had left prior to our arrival as we were detained at the TV station, and were about 30 minutes tardy in arriving. We however left some promotional literature.
- The COSA Banner has been found! When in Great Falls for the Lewis & Clark meetings I checked at the visitor center at the west edge of the city, and found the banner safe ‘n sound neatly packaged away just beneath the stairwell!! Keith Peterson now has the banner and flags from the Oregon Signature Event and plans to display them all at Idaho’s Signature Event in mid-June.
- In early March I was asked to share my thoughts on the retirement of Dick Williams, the long-time Lewis & Clark Trail Coordinator for the National Park Service. I was very happy to put some thoughts down regarding Dick’s long association with the L&C Trail, and his dedication to that position over many years. As of March 31st, Dick entered the world of retirement, and we wish him well!
- The 2006 “placemat maps” are now complete with advertising sold around the edges of the map to offset the costs of printing and distribution; the maps are presently at the printer in Great Falls. The Great Falls Tribune has taken the lead in producing these maps, which will be bound in quantities of 100. The full order of maps will not be ready for the Governor’s Conference on April 9-11, as there was a mix-up in scheduling. Rita and I will however still have some available at our booth in Great Falls. The Tribune assures me that they will assume the cost of delivery to statewide VIC’s in mid-April.
- In early March I was notified that Russ Copeland had submitted his resignation as the Event Coordinator for the Lewis & Clark in the Rockies Bicentennial Festival set for western Montana in late June. Trisha Piedalue, Marketing Manager for the Southgate Mall, is now working with NPS to confirm Corps II speakers, and the many remaining tasks associated with pulling this event together are now distributed amongst the committee members. The Festival runs from June 21-July 9, and within that time span the Corps II will be at the Southgate Mall from June 22-25, 2006. I attended a meeting of the event’s planning committee held at Fort Missoula on March 15th.
- As you know we have been working with the Upper Missouri Regional Commission to wrap-up their PPL grant. Finally, in early March we made the decision to have Steve Kubick complete his report on the signs placed at Tower Rock, Ryan Dam, and at Loma Hill and Carter. Steve agreed to do this once he had received an invoice from Sea Reach, and he had inspected the completed sign panels that had already been sent to Great Falls. The returned money from the Upper Missouri Regional Commission will be re-granted to the Little Shell Tribe for the finalization of the Tribal signs destined for the Great Falls Airport.
NOTE: It was very recently reinforced that a direct result of the Upper Missouri Regional Commission, the sign fabricator, and the NPS not completing these new interpretive signs in the Great Falls area in a timely manner has prompted PPL to cancel their funding commitment for continued funding of L&C signs statewide.
- I had conversations in March with Greg Lemon, a contractor with Lee Enterprises, for the submission of 2006 event attractions for inclusion in the new edition of the “Re-Discover Montana” publication that will be included in distribution of Lee Enterprise newspapers this year.
- On March 10th, and again on March 22nd, I conducted conference calls with various people in SW Montana, and Bud Clark with the Discovery Expedition of St. Charles. Bud will retrace most of the 2005 route in 2006 as he moves toward the reunion with Capt. Lewis at the Confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers in late August 2006. We discussed that as Bud and his men move down the Beaverhead and Jefferson rivers in July 2006, various communities will host Bud’s re-enactment group for an activity and/or a meal to mark Capt. Clark’s return trip of 1806. It was very gratifying to have various community representatives on the phone and willing to accommodate Bud’s travel itinerary. As of now this return trip is being discussed and is very close to being set.
- I called the USFS, the MT. Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks, the BLM and the BOR to remind them to submit inventories of their L&C signage that has been installed along the Montana Trail. This information will then be added to information already submitted by many private sector groups in Montana, and will form a comprehensive listing of new signs constructed along the L&C Trail during the Bicentennial timeframe. Although not compiled at this time, this impressive sign inventory will show the work completed in the last 3-4 years when considering all agencies working on the Trail.
- On March 31st the Lewis & Clark National Bicentennial Council and the Circle of State Advisors (COSA) met in Great Falls. The National Council met to bring its members up to date on numerous issues, including obtaining the full amount the Council believes is owed to them from the US Mint (it comes down to calculating the amount of non-federal monetary match that has been invested in the Bicentennial). The COSA group met from 2-4 that day to discuss mostly “how to maintain the Trail after the Bicentennial,” and a reception was held that evening at the Lewis & Clark Trail Interpretive Center. The evening reception was very successful with featured presentations on the Undaunted Stewardship Program, and the success of the Challenge Cost Share Program. Senator Burns was present and made some concluding remarks. Approximately 50 people attended the reception and dinner. The Lewis & Clark Trail Heritage Foundation met on April 1st and 2nd also in Great Falls.
- I met with Chas VanGenderen and Joe Maurier, the new State Parks Administrator, on March 13th to discuss how FW&P might work with other agencies in Montana to oversee, and/or to monitor the L&C Trail after 2006. Suzanne Gucciardo, with the NPS then followed-up my meeting with a phone call to Chas. We discussed having a “partners meeting” on May 17th to discuss options for Trail stewardship. I will work to convene that meeting.
- On March 17th and 18th I traveled to Spokane, WA, to participate as a guest panelist on the upcoming David Thompson Bicentennial. I spoke of the challenges faced by the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Commemorative efforts at the state level. Allen Pinkham spoke on Tribal challenges and successes. This will be a five-year commemoration of David Thompson’s travels along the Columbia River, and into western Montana from 2007 – 2011. Keith Peterson, my current colleague on the Lewis & Clark Commemoration in Idaho, and the newly elected David Thompson representative for the United States, extended the invitation, and paid for my trip.
- The newly formed Marketing Committee of the state Commission met via conference call on March 21st to brainstorm ideas to assist in selling the maquettes of the Senate Art Bronze. One idea was to create printed “sales pieces” that could more easily be shown to prospective buyers (the use of a DVD was discussed, but wasn’t deemed as useful as printed documents as not everyone has a DVD player and projector at their immediate disposal). We also reviewed all the background work done to date, and discussed who should receive the new printed sales aids. All agreed that the MHS has accomplished much on a very limited budget.
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