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Director's Report June 30, 2000
- A significant amount of early June was spent preparing for the June 15th Commission meeting in Fort Benton. Year-end budgets were prepared, as was a projected budget for Fiscal Year 2001. A report was also generated to show "Tasks Completed in the Current Year", and "Tasks to be Completed in the Coming Year". Both of these latter two reports will be added to the Commission's web site in the near future.
- Initial planning has been underway for Montana's second annual Lewis & Clark Conference. This year's conference will be held in Great Falls (at the Holiday Inn) on Thursday afternoon and evening, October 5th, and until mid-afternoon on Friday, October 6th. Thursday evening's activities will take place at the new Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center. The Commission's Fall meeting will be held in conjunction with this Fall conference, and will be held on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning, October 4th & 5th. Look for more conference information to be forthcoming in July.
NOTE: The Commission is co-sponsoring a pre-conference workshop entitled 'Working Effectively with Volunteers'. Joining as cosponsors are the USFS, Bureau of Land Management, and the Upper Missouri Bicentennial Commission. This workshop will be held at the Great Falls Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center from October 2nd through the 4th, and will be offered at a very modest fee. More details will come your way with conference materials.
- Work continued on the development of the new statewide Bicentennial Master Plan through the month of June. Indian project templates were added to the growing inventory of Lewis & Clark projects. Additional information was requested and received from many key state and federal agencies. A questionnaire was prepared and a mailing list compiled to survey a sampling of Montana's top businesses and corporations regarding their potential interest in the upcoming Bicentennial. The summary of this survey will be a part of the Master Plan which is scheduled for completion in September.
- In anticipation of the Commission meeting in June, contracts were drawn-up for the grantees who would receive funding through the Commission's new grant program. The Commission, during its June 15th meeting, did approve the selection committee's recommendations and voted unanimously to fund 17 projects in 2000. Press releases were prepared and released to newspapers statewide. A summary of the grant awards are available from the Commission's office upon request. Necessary interagency agreements with U S WEST and the Montana Department of Transportation were also drafted and approved during June.
- The Commission's Spring meeting was held in Fort Benton as scheduled on June 15th at the newly refurbished Grand Union Hotel. Prior to the meeting, a local tour was arranged by Jack Lepley allowing Commission members see "Decision Point" near Loma, as well as the Ag Museum and community of Fort Benton. The Commission agreed to hold as many of its meetings as possible around the state to become better acquainted with the local L&C history, and to meet and visit with area residents.
- On June 16th I meet with the presidents of many of the Montana Trail Heritage Foundation Chapters to discuss Bicentennial planning concerns and opportunities. It was agreed that communications could be improved, and that at least annual meetings of the chapters with the Commission would be very helpful.
- The Commission will co-sponsor a series of Farm & Ranch Recreation Workshops in early 2001. The Commission will work with Travel Montana, MSU Extension and the Montana Stockgrowers Association. This effort is in support of the Stockgrower's Undaunted Stewardship Program which is focused on providing pertinent information to farmers and ranchers interested in participating in various ways in the upcoming Bicentennial.
- Information was sent to the 15 Regional Bicentennial Commissions, Trail Heritage Chapters and the MTRI Bicentennial Focus Team agencies regarding the National Bicentennial Council's solicitation of "Signature Event" proposals. It is anticipated that Montana event sponsors interested in submitting a proposal for the National Council's consideration must do so by late August or early September (Montana's state Commission will review and determine which Montana event proposal(s) to endorse before the proposals are sent to the National Council).
- On June 26th and 27th I traveled to Post Falls, Idaho to participate in a meeting of the Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER), an association of legislators and businessman from eight western states and Canadian Provinces. I was joined by the Bicentennial Coordinators from Washington, Oregon and Idaho, and collectively we discussed Bicentennial planning statewide, regionally and nationally. Following the presentation to PNWER, the four state coordinators met to discuss key topics of mutual concern:
- How to work with the NPS and its proposed Corps II program;
- How to more effectively work with the National Bicentennial Council on critical planning efforts, such as fundraising with Congress and private sector corporations;
- How to work cooperatively and effectively with the national marketing firm now being contracted by the National Council.
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