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Director's Report May, 2002
- Fundraising Program Update: Throughout May work continued on the crafting of the new Montana Lewis & Clark Legacy Campaign (the newly named fundraising campaign for the Montana Bicentennial). A decision has been made to retain the Charles Bentz & Associates consulting firm as residency fund counsel at least through December 2002. Additionally, the Pompeys Pillar Historical Society, the Montana Historical Society, the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center Foundation, and the Travelers’ Rest Preservation and Heritage Association have all agreed to partner to work within the Legacy Campaign to maximize efforts and to minimize duplication and competition for limited financial resources. Efforts are currently focused on the establishment of a central campaign office and budget, refinement of a Memorandum of Agreement, and the identification of a Steering Committee. With time short, much work needs to happen very quickly. An expanded campaign overview will be offered during the Commission’s June meeting in Glasgow on the 18th.
- On May 1st I made a Bicentennial Update for the newly formed Indian Advisory Panel that was created by the Montana Historical Society in an effort to enhance communications and historical accuracy with Montana’s Indian nations.
- I traveled to Missoula on May 3rd to participate in a planning meeting of the Confluence of Cultures Symposium. It is great to report that this symposium is really coming together under the guidance of the University of Montana’s Bicentennial Committee, the Education Committee of the state Commission, and David Purviance, the Symposium Coordinator. Funds were very recently committed by UofM President George Dennison, and by the National Park Service’s Challenge Cost Share Program (the state Commission also has invested start-up funding this past year). The symposium will be held from May 28-31, 2003 on the UofM campus. Invitations to participate have been sent to tribal colleges and ads placed in key publications. For more information contact David Purviance at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 406-243-6093.
- During May, the state Commission un-officially adopted a new slogan “A Century of Experience for the Bicentennial.” As some of you know, I turned the big “50” in January, and during this past month the Commission’s very able Administrative Assistant joined that club; hence the new slogan. Happy Birthday Rita! Also, during May, Rita celebrated her 2nd anniversary of work for the Commission. Congrats and thanks for all of your hard work!
- The June Commission meeting means a lot of work during April and May in preparation. To summarize the Commission’s work this year I drafted the Tasks Completed 2002 Report; to set the stage for the coming year, I drafted the Tasks to be Completed 2003 Report. A proposed budget for fiscal year 2003 was also generated. A budget review and budget forecast will be given during the Commission’s June meeting. These reports will be posted to the Commission’s web site.
- 2002 Challenge Cost Share Grant Summary: The National Park Service has been very busy these past few weeks sending literally dozens and dozens of letters to notify grant applicants of non-funding, and of funding awards. Montana applicants competed well and overall were quite successful, as 27 out of 48 applicants will receive funds in the 2002 CCS program. This equates to almost $600,000 in CCS grant funds to Montana projects; the total awarded by the NPS this year was $5M. Contact the NPS or the state Commission office for more details.
- To compliment the two designated National Heritage Signature Events to be held in Montana in 2005 and 2006, I contacted pertinent groups to discuss the interest and feasibility of additional events. Preliminary planning has now commenced to determine how Montana will participate on-site with other trail-route states during Monticello’s inaugural National Signature Event in January of 2003, and how Montana will host a “complimentary event” to be held in the state at that same time (tentatively to include a Lewis & Clark day in the Capitol Rotunda, with Lewis & Clark presenting the colors to Montana’s Legislature). Looking further down the road, preliminary planning has also been initiated for staging an event in the spring of 2005 to announce the arrival of the Lewis & Clark Expedition to Montana. More on these ideas and others to come soon.
- Amy Baird started to work for the Montana History Foundation on May 20th, and via a partnership agreement, began providing grant administration support for the state Commission’s grant programs. We are excited to have Amy’s involvement and commitment to enhance the Commission’s efforts to provide critical funding through annual grant programs. Presently Amy is working in the Commission’s office 20 hours/week from 1 to 5 PM daily. Welcome aboard Amy!
- In April 2003, working in partnership with the state Commission and the National Council of the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial, Great Falls will host the first National Bicentennial Planning Forum (tentative name). This series of meetings will be held in lieu of the National Planning Workshops held in each of the past seven years. Anticipated attendance for these meetings is 150+, with attendees coming from coast to coast. Monticello’s first National Signature Event will have taken place announcing the start of the national commemoration. The Great Falls meetings will provide a great opportunity to review Monticello’s event, and to refine overall national planning efforts. Look for more on this upcoming planning forum within the next few months.
- In response to a suggestion outlined in Montana’s Bicentennial Master Plan, I initiated planning efforts with Travel Montana to package events, activities and attractions via a new database of information on Travel Montana’s Lewis & Clark’s web site. When completed (hopefully within 30-45 days), visitors will be able to access any one of the seven corridors of the 2,000 mile trail system in the state, and find a user-friendly database of “what to see” and “what to do” related to Lewis & Clark in that corridor. Specific corridor package tours will also be highlighted.
- And finally, on May 29th I attended a meeting of the interagency Bicentennial Focus Team. Two projects of this team were summarized. First, the Blackfoot River Corridor Interpretive Sign project was reviewed. The designs for three large “corridor gateway kiosks” were unveiled. They look GREAT! These kiosks will be installed along Highway 200 in Bonner, the Clearwater Junction, and in Lincoln. As planned this signing project will not only greatly enhance the visitor’s experience in this corridor, the results of the project will be a template for other corridor signing strategies. In fact, the Focus Team was successful in securing a 2002 National Park Service CCS grant of $20,000 for implementing a similar corridor interpretive plan elsewhere in Montana this coming year. Great work Team!! The Focus Team is also about to publish a very high quality Trial Stewardship Brochure. To be printed and distributed at visitor centers, agency visitor contact stations and other locations, this new brochure will stress the sensitivity of the trail, and offer pertinent information regarding the themes of “Leave No Trace,” Know Before You Go,” and “Be a Warrior Against Invasive Species and Noxious Weeds & Non-Native Plants.” The brochure will also include a collector-quality poster depicting the Lewis & Clark Trail in Montana.
NOTE: The Great Bend of the Yellowstone Regional Bicentennial Commission is also announcing the installation of a new information kiosk on I-90, just West of Livingston. This kiosk, combined with plans for a complimentary kiosks near Big Timber and Glendive will provide great visitor information for visitors along the Clark on the Yellowstone segment of the trail. Congratulations to the Great Bend Commission!
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