journal notes

June 1999    Issue No. 1 Vol. 1


The Commission's newly adopted Strategic Plan describes the Mission of the Montana Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Commission as:

"…to be the officially recognized leader in planning and coordinating observance of the Bicentennial in Montana. The Commission shall provide statewide focus, direction and oversight, while facilitating the effective delivery of technical guidance and assistance to communities, groups and individuals. The Commission will focus on public education, coordination of events, the promotion of historical and cultural awareness and sensitivity, recognition of Native American involvement, and responsible stewardship for the natural and cultural resources along the route of the Expedition."

The Commission has established four priority goals to direct their actions:

  1. Promote public awareness and provide leadership and coordination in the planning, development, marketing and presentation of state, regional and national Lewis & Clark Bicentennial activities among Indian nations, public agencies, communities and private sector organizations and individuals.
  2. Coordinate, promote and serve as a principal leader in all educational endeavors regarding the Lewis & Clark Expedition.
  3. Create Montana Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Legacies which will serve to educate, inform and entertain both residents and non-residents for years beyond 2006.
  4. Operate within a well-defined organizational structure that emphasizes fiscal responsibility and centralized technical expertise.


As each day passes, the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Observance gets closer. The official bicentennial begins on January 18, 2003, in Washington, D.C. It concludes September 26, 2006, in St. Louis. The historic Lewis & Clark Expedition and its 200th anniversary has gained tremendous national visibility through numerous books, magazine articles and films. Visitors are already out along the trail. The energy and excitement grows daily.

Montana and the other trail states are actively preparing for what will certainly be a national, even international, "event." Although the official observance's starting date is still more than three years away, preparation time is limited. The Montana Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Commission has been given the duty of helping communities and organizations across the state plan and coordinate activities, events and projects that focus not only the expedition's bicentennial observance, but provide lasting benefits for current and future Montanans.

Communication is key in the Commission's efforts. As one of the Commission's communication tools, we bring you the "Journal Notes" newsletter. Our plan is to use this tool to inform you about statewide, regional and national planning efforts. Our hope is that it helps make your Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Observance efforts the best that they can be.


The Montana Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Commission was created as a state agency by the 1997 Montana Legislature. It began its official duties on October 1, 1998, and will continue its work through December 31, 2007. There are 12 commissioners, nine of whom are appointed by the Governor and will serve three-year terms. Three commissioners are state agency or program directors. The commission members are:

  • Betty Stone, Commission Chairwoman - Glasgow
  • Curley Youpee - Poplar
  • Darrell Kipp - Browning
  • Jeanne Eder - Dillon
  • Edythe McCleary - Hardin
  • Hal Stearns - Missoula
  • Jack Lepley - Fort Benton
  • Terry Korpela - Great Falls
  • Leif Johnson - West Yellowstone
  • Matthew Cohn - Director, Travel Montana
  • Doug Monger - Director, Parks Division of Fish, Wildlife & Parks
  • Arnold Olsen - Director, Montana Historical Society

The Commission's Executive Director is Clint Blackwood. A native Montanan, Clint has been in the travel and tourism industry since 1983. For the last eleven years, he managed group tour and tourism development programs for the Montana Commerce Department's tourism development and promotion program, Travel Montana.


The key to success for Montana's Lewis & Clark Bicentennial efforts is the strength and energy of local organizations. The Commission strongly encourages areas to form a community, county or multi-county bicentennial group to serve as a planner and contact for other public and private sector entities interested in participating in bicentennial activities. A number of Montana communities and counties have formed such groups. Contact the commission to learn more creating a bicentennial organization in your area.


Mark your calendars for September 26-27. Those are the dates of Montana's first statewide Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Conference to be held at Lewistown's Yogo Inn. The conference agenda begins with an opening program Sunday, Sept. 26, followed by a full day of break out sessions Monday covering such topics as event planning, interpretation techniques, marketing & research, funding, a national events overview and more. We will be sharing more conference details with you as the event draws near. The next Commission meeting will follow on Tues., the 28th.

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Commission headquarters: 600 North Park, Helena
Mail: PO Box 201203, Helena 59620-1203
Phone: 406-443-2109 FAX 406-841-4004


Under the auspices of the Montana Tourism and Recreation Initiative's (MTRI) Lewis & Clark Focus Team, the Commission is involved in creating an Interpretive Sign Plan Strategy for Montana. The plan will inventory current Lewis & Clark signage and recommend opportunities to improve the interpretation of the expedition in Montana. The plan will include suggestions for graphic design and signage text as well as recommendations on how the telling of the Lewis & Clark in Montana "story" can be enhanced. The plan is projected be completed in the Fall of 1999.


The 1999 Montana Legislature approved a plan to finance the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Commission through a portion of the state accommodation tax funds allocated to Travel Montana. Under the plan, the commission will receive $200,000 in each of the next two years from Travel Montana. This funding, in partnership with an additional monetary investment from the Montana Historical Society, will allow the Commission to initiate a number of programs, including a community grants program that will be launched in early 2000. The Commission is currently developing strategies to obtain supplemental funding from federal appropriations, grants, product licensing and sponsorships.