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MINUTES

LEWIS AND CLARK BICENTENNIAL COMMISSION
Montana Historical Society, Helena, Montana
December 8, 1997

Commission members in attendance were Matthew Cohn, Jeanne Eder, Leif Johnson, Darrell Kipp, Teresa Korpela, John Lepley, Edythe McCleary, Arnie Olsen, Hal Stearns, Betty Stone, and Curley Youpee. Guests included Dave Walter, Patty McLaughlin, Rita Cortright, Linda Reed, Clint Blackwood and Victor Bjornberg.

Matthew Cohn opened the meeting at 10:00 a.m. stating he would serve as chair today in Brian Cockhill's absence. Mr. Cohn said the group would elect a chairman probably at their next meeting. He explained that House Bill 568 was introduced and passed by the legislature creating the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commission and came about as a recommendation from the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Celebration Advisory Council to Governor Racicot. Mr. Cohn spoke about the State's Bicentennial Celebration and the problems they experienced and said proper planning would help to avoid similar problems with this bicentennial observance.

Commission members and guests were called on to introduce themselves.

Mr. Cohn addressed the day's agenda and announced that lunch would not be served until 1:00 p.m. as he had to leave the meeting at 1:30 p.m. He said in planning for the meeting, broad issues and organizational structure surfaced as two items that were significant. He encouraged members to feel free to suggest topics and comment on the agenda items.

Mr. Cohn introduced the meeting segment, an Overview of Current Statewide Activities, and called on Victor Bjornberg to review the publicity efforts to date. Mr. Bjornberg distributed copies of press stories on Lewis and Clark in Montana that have run over the last couple of years. He said their publicity program's emphasis is on working with travel writers and TV producers to do stories on travel opportunities to Montana. He also spoke about planning with media for group tours to the six tourism regions in Montana. Mr. Bjornberg said the Lewis and Clark theme is ideal from a statewide tourism promotion perspective as it covers the entire state. He spoke briefly about each promotional piece in his handout and said he will be working with the Interpretive Center in Great Falls on publicity for their grand opening activities planned for June 25 through July 4, 1998. With regard to work on the Ken Burns film, he noted that Travel Montana's toll-free number is listed on the videotape and a response card from Travel Montana is enclosed for use in requesting travel information from Travel Montana. Sales are projected at 30,000 copies. He said Ken Burns allowed Travel Montana to copy, with very few restrictions, the six hours of film footage shot in Montana to produce the documentary. This film may be used to create a Lewis and Clark in Montana site video. Mr. Bjornberg said next fall the National Geographic/ABC film based on Undaunted Courage will air. Mr. Bjornberg closed by saying that even though 2003 seems like a long way out, it is not too early for publicity planning to take place.

Jeanne Eder asked Mr. Bjornberg for his opinion on how he felt Native Americans have been portrayed so far, and if he has any plans to work for a better portrayal, as she did not see much in the handout on Montana Indians.

Mr. Bjornberg responded that portrayal in the film was very favorable. He said working with the tribes and reservations depends on how invited they are, and that participation by the tribes in travel promotions is solicited and that he is open to participation.

Curley Youpee said he shared Ms. Eder's concerns, as the reservations are not included on the Lewis and Clark's Montana Journey map produced by Travel Montana. He said his impression is that people want to come and experience the cultural content, what it was like to live on the prairies, what it was like during the military campaigns and Indian Wars, and where the people lived during the hostility. He said the experience with Lewis and Clark was one of sharing, the people shared a great deal of the land and resources with Lewis and Clark, and this should be noted.

Mr. Bjornberg responded that this is a good opportunity for cultural sharing, that identifying opportunities for participation was key. Edythe McCleary suggested utilizing Shari Nault Pullar, Cultural Liaison for Travel Montana, to facilitate communication among the tribes and communities.

Mr. Cohn said part of this discussion is why the Commission is here, to identify areas of concern, and to choose what and how things are portrayed in regards to the Bicentennial opportunity. He said the "Montana Journey" publication was the result of the need for a quick identification of sites in Montana that are automobile accessible, and should be considered as the first of many types of publications that will be produced. He said Travel Montana is concerned about the possibility that their enthusiasm for Lewis and Clark will not be shared by people outside of the state. Mr. Cohn spoke about the tremendous acceptance of the book by Stephen Ambrose, with sales over 800,000 copies to date. He said the acceptance of the PBS special has also been pleasantly surprising, as Travel Montana contributed $150,000 to its production. Mr. Cohn distributed copies of a brochure designed last year for the group tour bus market.

Jeanne Eder asked if the group had an idea of what they want to present, other than what is already happening, and Mr. Cohn replied that he was providing historic information so the Commission could gain a sense of where Travel Montana has been coming from and hopefully then get from the Commission a sense of where they should be going. He said the Commission did not exist when Travel Montana began work on the materials 18 months ago. Ms. Eder asked if their plans included looking at a larger legacy. Mr. Cohn responded that the legacy is one of the major parts of the project. He said he was trying to present a perspective of where they have been. Ms. Eder said we already know what the perspective is, it is going to be pretty much very white oriented. Mr. Cohn said he did not agree with that and Ms. Eder responded that that is what was reflected in the brochures.

Ms. McCleary said that this brochure cannot be all things to all people. She said their region has developed additional specific handouts to compliment the brochure. Ms. Eder said it needs to be all things to all people; particularly when the Native American people are 10% of the state population, and so far they has not been mentioned.

Mr. Cohn continued his presentation with results of a poll taken this past year in which 78% of those polled responded that they would be interested in taking a Lewis and Clark-based theme vacation. He displayed color ads that have been used in history-oriented magazines. Mr. Cohn closed by saying the information from the brochure has been translated into an electronic format and by the middle of next week will be available on Travel Montana's Internet site, "LewisandClark.state.mt.us."

Mr. Cohn opened discussion of Commission Structure, stating that he, Brian Cockhill and Arnie Olsen had met to discuss structure. He cited the Montana Heritage Preservation and Development Commission one of several possible models. This group has hired an Executive Director who reports to the Commission and have a very active committee structure, with monthly meetings. The difference is that they are actually operating a day-to-day business in Virginia City. He proposed that this Commission could hire an executive director and budget for staff down the road, but operating funds for the first two years will come from the Travel Montana budget. Darrell Kipp asked what types of revenues Mr. Cohn anticipated coming to the Commission. Mr. Cohn quoted the statute regarding revenue sources as being, "money from revenue earning enterprises, grants, gifts, or donations, money appropriated by the Legislature and interest earned on that account." Jeanne Eder raised the possibility of funds coming from the National Park Service and the possible hiring of an Indian coordinator for this project. Leif Johnson asked Mr. Cohn for his budget estimate and Mr. Cohn replied that including the cost of running the Commission meetings, the total would be about $75,000 per year. Clint Blackwood added that the Commission is attached administratively to the Historical Society and this allows the Commission to function through the Montana Historical Society Foundation, a non-profit organization. Jeanne Eder asked about the use of Coal Tax money and Mr. Cohn responded that the Commission could down the road ask the Legislature for it, but it had not been put into the final bill. Curley Youpee said some of the communities will expect resources or revenue to assist them with their activities. Jeanne Eder asked if the tribes are going to become involved in this event, how feasible is it for them to put money in for some aspect of the planning in order to have ownership and a voice? Mr. Youpee responded that this is new information and once he shares it with the tribes, the potential will be seen for their own development, but overall they will be looking at resources and funding.

Mr. Cohn asked the Commission if they desired an active role in the sense of committees that meet on a regular basis, or if they preferred to rely on an Executive Director for the day-to-day responsibilities. Darrell Kipp spoke in support of hiring a full-time Executive Director, as did Teresa Korpela and Jack Lepley. The structure of the TAC group and the National Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Council were discussed. Mr. Blackwood explained that the director of the National Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Council is also at this time the director of the Lewis & Clark Heritage Foundation and at some point in the near future these positions will be split and a second director will be hired. Darrell Kipp suggested that the Executive Director should have a balanced background that would enable him to address issues other than strictly tourism.

Mr. Cohn said this leads to defining what is needed in an Executive Director, and suggested this is where the first committee is needed. He said consideration is being given to creating the Executive Director position within the Historical Society to be funded through and the Commission and supervised by the Historical Society. He said this requires utilizing the State's hiring procedures. Jeanne Eder asked again about hiring an Indian coordinator for Indian activities. Curley Youpee said a person is needed who is sensitive to Indian country. Hal Stearns said that with a $75,000 budget that must provide for a director and expenses for the Commission will not be adequate for more than one staff at this time. Mr. Cohn said a structure could be created now and changed later as additional funding becomes available. Darrell Kipp stated that he is sometimes philosophically opposed when Native Americans are identified and placed in a different category, as it tends create a situation of separation. He said it was his opinion that a director could be found who is capable of recognizing the importance of the Indian voice and presence.

The importance of site preservation was discussed, in particular those sites on private property. It was suggested that coordination could start at the town level and move up to the national level. The group agreed that the Executive Director must be aware of national as well as local issues. The need for visitor etiquette in terms of a policy was addressed by Curley Youpee. Arnie Olsen spoke in support of hiring the right Executive Director as soon as possible and said additional staff could be added later as revenues become available. He also said the Commission's involvement will grow and suggested that subgroups could be formed based on individual interests. Mr. Olsen suggested appointing a selection committee for hiring the Executive Director. Mr. Cohn said the Society could provide the general job description and have the selection committee review the description and qualifications and formulate the supplemental questions for the job application. Jeanne Eder spoke again in support of having the Indian view presented by an Indian voice. Hal Stearns asked if a role model existed in another state that could be emulated and Jeanne Eder said that Oregon has the best program in place. Clint Blackwood said he is not aware of another state that has a Commission in the process of hiring an Executive Director. He added that in drafting the job description, the Oregon Trail organization was contacted for information. Matthew Cohn proposed a selection committee of 3-4 members that would review the job responsibilities and make suggestions regarding the supplemental questions. He said the position would then be advertised, the scope of which would be set by the Commission. The Selection Committee would review the applications and select finalists to be interviewed by the Commission. Mr. Cohn suggested that the Selection Committee meet in the next 30 days to begin the process with the hope of hiring or conducting final interviews at the Commission's April or May meeting, possibly at the Interpretive Center in Great Falls. He said the National Lewis and Clark meeting is set for the third week of April in Bismarck, North Dakota, and said it would be ideal if the new director could attend this meeting and report back to the Commission. Darrell Kipp expressed concern regarding the first screening process, saying it might be an opportunity for everyone to gain a sense of the kinds of people are applying, but said he would be comfortable with a committee performing the initial screening. Hal Stearns expressed concern over the short time frame for accomplishing the advertising, screening and hiring. Mr. Cohn said if the qualifications and questions could be determined before year-end, the position could be advertised in early January, and by mid-February to the end of February, the interviews could be completed and the job offered. The position will be full-time, permanent through December 31, 2007, supervised and evaluated by the Commission with a probationary period. Patricia McLaughlin said a position description has been drafted and scored by the Society's personnel officer for classification. The next step is to have the State Administration Department classify the position which could take two weeks. She recommended that the Commission review the job description before this step takes place. Arnie Olsen suggested that the announcement could be mailed to the Commission and they in turn could mail their comments to Patty McLaughlin for incorporation into the position description. Mr. Olsen volunteered to assist in the selection process. Darrell Kipp nominated Jeanne Eder to the selection committee. Matthew Cohn said the draft position announcement will be mailed to the Commission by the end of the week. He asked that they respond by December 19 with their comments so the Selection Committee can conference call the week of December 29 to discuss the Supplemental Questions. It was left to the committee to determine by the first of the year how wide a search to conduct. The position will be advertised early in January for 30 days. The Selection Committee will then do the initial scoring probably in late January and the initial round of interviews, and bring the final candidates to the Commission for interviews in March. Hal Stearns was nominated to the Selection Committee and he agreed to serve. The Selection Committee members are Hal Stearns, Matthew Cohn, Brian Cockhill, Jeanne Eder and Arnie Olsen. Discussion took place on how to best reach potential applicants through other Lewis and Clark affiliated organizations. Clint Blackwood cautioned that more time may be needed to incorporate changes by Patty McLaughlin into the position description, which has to then go through bench marking and classification.

Edythe McCleary raised the question of publicity for this meeting and the final decision regarding hiring an Executive Director. Matthew Cohn said Tom Cook will handle publicity for the Commission. Mr. Cook then took pictures of the Commission.

Discussion of Identification of Key Issues was taken up next. Clint Blackwood provided a handout titled, "Suggested General Issues/Interest Areas," explaining that it was compiled from Dave Walter's paper, "Stated Concerns." Mr. Blackwood briefly reviewed the topics on his handout and several sub-topics were identified and listed under the major topics. He suggested that subcommittees may be an outgrowth from this list. The Native American perspective as it relates to Legacy was discussed. Jeanne Eder said the previous commission determined that the legacy and raising revenues were the main issues. She said the National Bicentennial Council discussed a possible Historical Center of the West to present the Indian perspective as a permanent Legacy of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. She suggested Montana as the location, but noted that Oregon is the stronger contender. Mr. Cohn explained that this Commission is not bound by the outline of the previous Commission, but that these were major areas that could form the skeleton from which committees could come. Jeanne Eder said she felt the categories and issues were clearly stated. Hal Stearns spoke to site preservation and resource damage and wondered if the Commission should become involved with these issues. Clint Blackwood said that there may be ways that the Commission could help stress, influence, or bring to light to the appropriate management entities those sensitive areas. Resource protection was added to the list of suggested general issues. Arnie Olsen suggested broadening the Liaison topic to include tribes, federal and state agencies, and chambers of commerce. Mr. Blackwood suggested that the Commission be thinking about the possible creation of subcommittees tied to these General Issues, as well as which subcommittees they would want to serve on. Curley Youpee suggested that a note be included with the minutes that would encourage people to review the categories, formulate input, and submit that input to the Historical Society. Jeanne Eder volunteered to mail the outline by Wednesday, and summarize the suggestions prior to January 15, 1998.

Leif Johnson raised the possibility of generating interest in tourism for Yellowstone or Glacier using the Lewis and Clark Trail. As an example he noted that two of the three rivers that form the headwaters of the Missouri River are in Yellowstone Park. Interpretation regarding the naming of the rivers is not present and he said this is an opportunity to educate tourists. Mr. Cohn said that as a Commission they have enough to accomplish, but at some point may want to hold a joint meeting with the Tourism Advisory Council and BLM. Darrell Kipp suggested also inviting Shari Pullar.

Discussion of Involvement of Other Groups was taken up next. Clint Blackwood said there are many individuals and groups who would like to be informed and involved with planning for the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial. He suggested researching the establishment of an affiliate status and listed BLM, Forest Service, FWP, and Lewis and Clark chapters as possible candidates to receive affiliate designation. Mr. Blackwood added that this may be one of the first responsibilities of the Executive Director, to determine how the voting would work, how the different considerations of such a status could function, and bring that back to the Commission for review and approval. State sanctioning of events was discussed and it was agreed that sanctioning produces a greater turnout, as people have an expectation for a higher quality experience. Mr. Cohn said that the process for qualifying as a state-sanctioned event will have to be determined.

Lewis and Clark Related Infrastructure was addressed by Arnie Olsen. He noted that FWP does interpret at Headwaters State Park, but may need to do a more thorough job. He said they are in the process of trying to evaluate what will happen to sites such as Clark?s Lookout, where no infrastructure currently exists. He said they are looking at all of the Lewis and Clark sites to determine what is needed to accommodate growth in visitor numbers. Mr. Olsen said a package is being developed for the Legislature to try and secure funding to begin work on this task. He said BLM and FS are also going through the same process. He said in terms of Legacy, State Parks is looking to determine what they can do that will have permanence. Mr. Olson said all of the State Parks directors from Missouri to Washington along the route are meeting to develop a consistent message and signage. Jeanne Eder asked if he has considered doing anything at the Clark Canyon Reservoir in Beaverhead County, Camp Fortunate, where the two cultures came together in Montana. Mr. Olsen said this is owned by BOR and coordination with them needs to take place. Hal Stearns noted that Beaverhead rock is an area of potential congestion. Mr. Olsen said the temporary lease of private land for parking in the area may be considered. He said sufficient resources to accomplish all of the needs are lacking, but through partnerships with other agencies resources can be pooled to accomplish more than what can be accomplished separately.

Clint Blackwood spoke about the Montana Tourism and Recreation Initiative, a group of 13 state and federal agencies that meet to discuss tourism and recreation-related topics. They have already expressed the need to work together to address the need for signage, pullouts, etc., related to the bicentennial event. He said they will meet again possibly in February to begin looking for ways to coordinate efforts statewide.

A 30-minute break was taken for lunch.

The next item, Tasks to be Performed, was addressed. Mr. Cohn said some of this was covered in the discussion of an Executive Director. He stated that the Commission is ?responsible for coordinating and promoting the observation of Montana?s Bicentennial Commemoration of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and the importance of the roles played by Montana?s Indian people to the Lewis and Clark Expedition.? He questioned whether sanctioning falls under the responsibility of coordinating. It was agreed that sanctioning provides an opportunity to assist communities in developing a quality experience as well as site protection. Correct, factual dissemination of information was also a noted as a factor. Jeanne Eder asked if liability is assumed with state sanctioning. Clint Blackwood raised the question of how to determine which one of a group receives state sanctioning when they all propose the same event. Hal Stearns said care must be taken in dealing with groups that have been performing a certain event for years. Completing an application was suggested as a means of being included on a statewide calendar of Lewis and Clark events. This would help inform the Commission regarding activities and also help communities in planning their events. Jack Lepley suggested that calendaring events would help to eliminate the potential for communities scheduling competing events on the same weekend.

Matthew Cohn raised the question of when to begin the observance in Montana, and suggested May 15, 2005. Jeanne Eder said the National Commission chose 2003-2006. The anniversary of the signing of the purchase was suggested as the official kick-off, with a major event planned for Montana in 2005. Jack Lepley suggested that the National Committee needs to calendar major events very soon so that regional events can be scheduled without conflicts. Jeanne Eder said a moving marker has been proposed, much like the Olympic torch, that will follow the entire route marking anniversary dates and she expects they will want to coordinate with this group. Hal Stearns suggested that the Commission begin receiving minutes from the National Bicentennial Council meetings, as well as the Lewis and Clark groups in the states of North Dakota, Washington, and Oregon. Jeanne Eder offered to share her minutes. Curley Youpee spoke in support of developing some form of endorsement. The development of and use of a Montana logo as a form of endorsement was raised by Arnie Olsen. Leif Johnson suggested doing a spin-off from the National logo to provide continuity. The National logo was displayed to the Commission and Jeanne Eder reviewed the events leading to its design. She said use of the National logo is still in question. Mr. Cohn said that the issue of endorsement will be explored further at the next meeting, especially the issue of liability. Darrell Kipp suggested identifying groups already in place, and obtaining their events calendars could become a task of the new director. Jeanne Eder suggested holding a planning conference to bring groups together to see what types of events they may be considering. Jack Lepley questioned whether Montana?s involvement will be totally grass roots or if the Commission should plan a state event.

Mr. Cohn appointed Arnie Olsen as chairman before leaving the meeting at 1:30 p.m.

Mr. Olsen said once the inventory of events is compiled, the Commission may identify holes that could be filled. He said one of the strengths of the Commission is the Legacy idea, providing a long-term benefit for the people of Montana. Jeanne Eder asked how the inventory will be obtained. Hal Stearns answered that Lewis and Clark Chapters around the state would supply their calendars upon request, as would the Tourism Regions and CBBs. Mr. Olsen said the Commission could put out a call for events calendars and mailing lists. Mr. Blackwood said this could be one of a list of things that could be handed to the Executive Director to accomplish. Darrell Kipp suggested that the inventory could be compiled and premier events selected for enhancement, letting the rest take care of themselves. Curley Youpee suggested beginning the inventory prior to 2003, maybe by 2000, to allow for fine-tuning the operation. Lief Johnson said he was in favor of completing the inventory as soon as possible. Edythe McCleary volunteered to contact the six tourism regions for their inventories of Lewis and Clark activities. Mr. Johnson warned that the Commission will begin receiving inquiries on events immediately upon release of press coverage on the Commission. Jeanne Eder asked if this group as a state commission will actually invite the tribes to participate. Jack Lepley responded that they definitely should. Ms. Eder said it is important to secure a tribal resolution that they will participate. Arnie Olsen suggested that the Executive Director could draft that invitation. Darrell Kipp said that the news release should clearly state that the Commission has Native American representation and is Montana inclusive. Dave Walter said one of the advantages of being linked to the Historical Society for administrative purposes is that Tom Cook will handle the publicity. Hal Stearns said the members of the Commission should be noted in the release as well. Jack Lepley said he sees this as an opportunity for Native Americans to portray the story of how they lived during the period of 1803-1806. Darrell Kipp said that if presented as an opportunity some people will take advantage of it.

Arnie Olsen recapped by saying that press is needed on this meeting, that the Commission wants to be a communication link, to know what is going on, that the Commission has Native American representation and that cooperation is desired. He suggested listing the Society phone number as a contact point. He said that once the Executive Director is hired, the inventory must be completed, and a way found to appropriately invite the tribes to be involved. Ms. McCleary agreed to poll the six tourism regions for their inventory of Lewis and Clark events. Regarding the inventory of infrastructure, Clint Blackwood said the Forest Service has already completed an inventory of sites. Betty Stone said that a retired couple was hired last year to travel the entire route to complete an inventory of every site for signage, public access, etc., and this inventory is now available. Clint Blackwood distributed a map produced by the Forest Service that inventories sites in the Rocky Mountains area.

Darrell Kipp asked where the Executive Director will live and work. Patty McLaughlin said consideration had been given to housing the Heritage Project director and Lewis and Clark director in the same location with shared equipment and staff. Currently the Heritage Commission director is located in the Steamboat Block in Helena. She said if space becomes available in the Society building they could be housed there. Hal Stearns asked about the salary for the executive, based on the fact that the budget is $75,000. Mr. Olsen responded that the position will be graded by the state system and this determines the salary, possibly in the range of a grade 17, at about $40,000 including benefits. Mr. Blackwood suggested when the Commission members review the position description, that they not try to word smith the position description as it is written in such a way with regard to tasks and responsibilities as to be acceptable to the state system. Mr. Olsen suggested they focus on what may be missing with regard to responsibilities.

Mr. Olsen offered the use of a graphics artist at FWP to help design a logo for the Montana Lewis and Clark Bicentennial as there is no money in the budget to accomplish the design work. He offered to have her draft a design to be presented to the Commission for their approval. Curley Youpee volunteered to work with Mr. Olsen and his staff on logo design.

A list of e-mail addresses, mailing addresses and telephone numbers for Commission members will be mailed with the minutes.

The next meeting is scheduled for March 31, 1998, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. at the Historical Society.

The meeting adjourned at 2:20 P.M.

 

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