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Director's Report August, 2001
- August started with a trip to Park City on the 1st to meet with representatives from the Stillwater County, Park County and Yellowstone County Regional Bicentennial Commissions. The meeting was very informative as updates were presented by each commission and interest was evident that future meetings of these three groups should be planned on a periodic basis.
- Throughout August plans were set in place for the 3rd annual Lewis & Clark Conference planned for Billings on October 11th & 12th. The conference agenda was finalized and speakers confirmed. Three tracks will be offered: Funding/Education & Interpretation/Show & Tell (what is happening with agencies, tribes, regional commissions and with grant recipients).
- Note: a pre-conference workshop entitled "Before Your Event Opens" will be held on October 10th from 1 to 5 PM at the Billings Hotel.
- Conference registration material (to include the Event Planning Workshop) will be mailed in early September.
- A significant amount of time in August was focused on the early stages of developing a Fundraising Program for Montana's Bicentennial effort. Applications for the new Fundraising Coordinator (to be an employee of the Montana Historical Society Foundation) were received, reviewed and scored. Three applicants were interviewed on August 23rd; one candidate was invited for a second interview to be held on September 13th. Responses from the RFQ to secure the services of a fundraising consulting firm were received, reviewed and scored. Three firms were interviewed on Friday, August 31st. Reference checks will now be conducted prior to the committee making its final selection recommendation.
- A component of developing this new Fundraising Program is the securing of a loan from the Board of Investment (BOI), guaranteed by future sales of the Bicentennial license plate (the Commission's goal is to create an "up-front" funding source to underwrite the development of a comprehensive Montana Bicentennial Fundraising program). To that end, we have been working in August to complete a loan application for the consideration of the BOI.
- In mid-August I coordinated with the National Council of the L&C Bicentennial to draft and distribute the COSA Update #7. This is a periodic update sent to my counter parts in each of the 17 Trail States in an effort to keep everyone informed with various planning efforts.
- Note: I will be traveling to St. Louis on October 25th to participate in the semi-annual meeting of COSA (the Circle of State Bicentennial Advisors) and a meeting of the National Bicentennial Council.
- On August 14th I met in the State Capitol with Congressional staff from numerous Lewis & Clark trail states as they toured Montana as the guests of the BLM. The tour was organized to offer these staffers a personal look at the Lewis & Clark trail in Montana.
- On August 15th I traveled to the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center in Great Falls to meet with USFS Recreation Planners from throughout the United States. As with the Congressional staff tour, this effort was designed to introduce the Lewis & Clark Trail in Montana to key USFS personnel that may not have been familiar with the Trail and/or the upcoming Lewis & Clark Bicentennial.
- Now that the Montana Bicentennial license plate is finalized (the design is now at 3M being prepared for printing), Rita and I met with H2O advertising to initiate the planning for a marketing campaign to let folks know about the new plate which goes on sale statewide on January 1, 2002. Look for some promotional material coming your way soon.
- On August 22nd I traveled to the Montana State University Campus (GO CATS!), to participate in a meeting of the Undaunted Stewardship program. This program, in a nutshell, provides some funding to ranchers interested in preserving and/or restoring sensitive natural and cultural resources along the L&C Trail in Montana. In exchange for receiving this funding, the ranchers must agree to allow public access to select L&C sites on their property. Presently this program is funded from a Congressional appropriation that is administered by the Bureau of Land Management in partnership with Montana State University.
- I was involved in a conference call of the National Signature Events committee on August 23rd. This is the committee charged with the task of identifying and sorting through proposals from possible other sites for national signature events. Two areas of focus are more Indian-oriented events (i.e. an event sponsored by the Nez Perce), and finding a concluding/final event (i.e. in St. Louis and/or on the East coast).
- On August 27th I met with Jane Weber and Sue Buchel to discuss the proposed L&C Guide training course to be offered by the Lewis & Clark Training Academy at the L&C Interpretive Center in Great Falls. It was decided that the intent is to facilitate the expansion of the state Commission's Resource Library in an effort to satisfy what we think will be an ever-increasing demand for qualified tour guides. Work in now underway to structure an application form and process for those wishing to enhance their tour guide training. Pertinent education and training standards will be established that a person would need to attain in order to be listed in the Commission's Resource Library database. More information on this new course will be made available at the Fall Conference in Billings.
- During August we continued to explore options for relocation of our commission office. We were also working very closely with the Montana Historical Society Foundation to prepare for the hiring of the new Bicentennial Fundraising Coordinator (anticipated to come on-line by mid to late September).
- The Bicentennial Focus Team of MTRI met in Bonner on August 29th. Once again the main focus of the meeting was an update and discussion on the design and installation of orientation signs at both the statewide and corridor levels. It was very appropriate to meet in Bonner since that community had previously been selected for orientation signs for the Blackfoot River Corridor. The team will present an agency update at the Fall Conference, and agreed to have its next meeting in Bozeman on November 14th.
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