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Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Commission
Reginal Bicentennial Commissions and
Montana Tribal Lewis & Clark Tribal Representatives Meeting
Jorgensen's Inn & Suites, Helena, Montana
February 10, 2003
6:30 - 8:30 P.M.

Welcome and Introductions

Mr. Blackwood opened the meeting at 6:30 p.m., welcomed the audience and called on them for introductions. Attendees included:

Montana Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Commission:
Betty Stone, Tootie Rasmussen, Wyman McDonald, Darrell Martin, Darrell Kipp, Clint Blackwood and Rita Cortright

Regional Bicentennial Commissions:
Betty Stone - NE Plains Bicentennial Commission
Steve Kubick & Mary England - Upper Missouri Bicentennial Commission
Dick Alberts - L&C Bicentennial Comm. of L&C Co.
Marilyn and Aaron Strange - Stillwater Co. Bicentennial Commission
Sandra Cahill - Great Bend of the Yellowstone L&C Heritage Bicentennial Commission
Joni Stewart - Golden Triangle Bicentennial Commission
Cameron Clark - SW Montana Bicentennial Group
Loren Flynn - Western Montana L&C Bicentennial Commission
Lois Roby & Abby Goodrich - Gallatin L&C Bicentennial Association
Rose Oleson - Crimson Bluffs Chapter
Walt Marten – Stillwater County Bicentennial Commission
Cheryl Hutchinson & Marvin Holtz – Reaching the Rockies Chapter

Not Represented:
Lower Yellowstone River Bicentennial Commission
North Central Montana Regional Bicentennial Comission
Missouri Breaks Bicentennial Commission
Yellowstone County Bicentennial Commission

Tribal L&C Bicentennial Representatives:
Jim Wilke – Fort Belknap
George Heavy Runner – Blackfeet Tribal Council
Henry Anderson – Little Shell

Not Represented:
Salish/Kootenai
Crow
Northern Cheyenne
Fort Peck
Chippewa-Cree

Additional Attendees:
Jane Weber – USFS, Great Falls
Sgt. Josh Clements, MT Natl. Guard
Jeri Mae Rowley – Superhost Program
Mike Oliver – USFS, Helena
Craig Rockwell, Congressional Field Liaison
Teri Purcell, Army National Guard
Richard Hopkins, BLM
Jim George – Montana Oarsmen
James Parker Shields
Shawn White Wolf, Helena Independent Record

Mr. Blackwood referred to the agenda, noting that items V, VI and VII were duplicates of items on tomorrow’s Commission meeting agenda would be covered at the end of tonight’s meeting if time allowed.

II. Calendar of Events

Mr. Blackwood reviewed the types of activities he felt were appropriate for listing on the Calendar of Events. He reviewed the process for submitting information to Travel Montana for inclusion on their web site’s calendar of events. Events that are flagged as “Lewis & Clark” are cross-linked to the Commission’s web page. He asked if anyone had problems or questions with the process. Mr. Strange questioned the incentive for listing events and asked about Commission endorsement. Mr. Blackwood responded that the Commission determined early on to not have an endorsement program, and said listing on the web site did not constitute endorsement, as noted by the disclaimer on the web page. The incentive to list events results from the fact that this is the web site where most people look for information on Montana events. He encouraged groups to list their events on every available Calendar of Events, to work with Tourism Regions for inclusion in their travel publications, and visit with their area Chambers of Commerce. Mr. Blackwood said before the Monticello event he received many inquiries from media contacts seeking information on Montana events, and he consistently directs people to the web site for information. This led him to question whether all events were being listed and whether the information was current. He noted that events were searchable by location and date. Mr. Blackwood said Jan Wirak, Travel Montana (841-2788), requests event information twice a year for inclusion in their printed materials. He urged people to submit information on events as soon as it becomes available and not wait for Travel Montana’s solicitation. He asked groups to provide website information to the state Commission for linking from our Regional Commissions’ web page and noted that minutes provided to the Commission in electronic format would be posted on the Commission’s web page. Linking to Travel Montana’s web page was discussed, and Mr. Blackwood explained that the Commission was waiting for Travel Montana to establish their ‘links’ policy and would make a determination about adopting a similar policy in the near future. He also asked representatives to look beyond their immediate groups to identify other events or activities that could be Lewis and Clark related, such as exhibits or presentations, for submission to Travel Montana.

III. Need to Get “Frontliners” Informed on Local L&C Attractions and Events

Jeri Mae Rowley, instructor of Tourism at Flathead Valley Community College, addressed the group. She said for the past 6 years the college has held the contract for Travel Montana’s Superhost Customer Service Training, and they have been promoting the upcoming Bicentennial for the past 6 years. She explained that Mr. Blackwood encouraged them to apply for a grant to produce a training video to supplement Superhost, and the 22-minute video, “Lewis & Clark: Montana’s Story” was produced. She explained that Superhost training is customer service training for people who serve both visitors to and residents of the state of Montana. The video was designed to assist frontliners respond to questions regarding the Lewis & Clark Expedition in Montana and was integrated into Superhost training. Once participants have viewed the video, they are asked what part of the Lewis & Clark story their community has to tell. She said there is a need for documented information from various communities on Lewis and Clark in their respective areas. Flathead Valley Community College is contracted to deliver 150 Superhost Customer Service Workshops statewide annually; 20 percent are delivered in high schools. Ms. Rowley urged people to be aware of and attend training in their area, and said retired volunteers are welcome to attend at no charge. A fee of $20 covers 3 ½ hours of training focused on serving visitors to the state of Montana, and 22 minutes of that time focuses on the Lewis and Clark video and plus dialogue. She reported that 6,000 people have viewed the video through Superhost training.

Mr. Blackwood and Loren Flynn related that travelers going through Lolo have stopped at the gas station to ask directions to Travelers’ Rest a quarter mile away and the clerk was unable to direct them. Mr. Flynn said he is working with the CVB in Missoula to develop a one-page ‘Lewis & Clark for Dummies’ informational sheet specific to the area. Mr. Blackwood said development of this printed supplement to the video had been discussed during previous meetings, as it was impossible to include detailed statewide information about Lewis & Clark sites in the video. He explained that the Education Committee in today’s meeting discussed development of this printed supplement and they agreed to move forward with the assembling of this information. The committee agreed that the source of this information would be the Trail Heritage Chapters statewide, who would in turn contact the Montana Tribal Tourism Alliance representatives in their region for information. This would ensure that information being offered by the Chapters was in concert with what the Tribes wanted to see included in the supplement. Mr. Blackwood asked Chapter representatives at the meeting if they would be comfortable assisting with the gathering of information for the supplement.

Ms. Strange asked Ms. Rowley if the L&C video and/or other customer service training videos were available to companies who have not taken advantage of Superhost training. Ms. Rowley explained that the video was available for purchase through Superhost for $10.00, and many other training videos were also available. She noted the video would also be shown this spring on Montana PBS. Mr. Blackwood said Familiarization (FAM) Tours could be organized by communities to help educate frontliners on sites in their areas. He said the challenge with frontliners was that employee turnover was great, which highlighted the need for recurring training. Walt Marten said a brochure to educate frontliners was under development in Stillwater County that provides information on L&C sites. Mr. Blackwood asked groups to forward this type of information to him so he could in turn provide it to Ms. Rowley for Superhost trainers in those areas. Mr. Flynn said his group was developing both a brochure and a one-page quick reference sheet. Mr. Kubick asked if this information could be posted on the website and made available to people who planned to travel to other areas of the state. Mr. Blackwood said the intended use for the supplement was for dissemination through Superhost. He asked people to not underestimate getting information to the frontliners and said the one-page template would be coming out soon.

IV. How to Keep Regional and Tribal Groups Functioning

Mr. Blackwood explained that this topic arose from a discussion he had with Loren Flynn and Scott Sproull. He said this discussion provided an opportunity to highlight what was working, to ask questions about a certain function of a regional commission or tribal organization, and to discuss development of paid positions for your group. He asked Loren Flynn to address how his group was attempting to fund a position to help coordinate activities at their regional level. Mr. Flynn explained that this concept grew out of a discussion on how to coordinate area activities and serve as a central clearinghouse of information. He discovered that several agencies and organizations had small pots of money available to direct toward Lewis & Clark programs. Mr. Flynn’s organization, Travelers’ Rest Historic Preservation and Heritage Association, developed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Forest Service - Bitterroot and Lolo National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, and Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and possibly U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, to coordinate area Lewis & Clark programming for those agencies. This arrangement provides for quality control and a central clearinghouse for events, activities and programs. He suggested regional commissions might utilize this same type of arrangement. Mr. Marten asked why the state Commission was not fulfilling this role and Mr. Blackwood explained that the Commission was not intended to coordinate activities at the local level; this was the reason for establishing the regional commissions structure. He said as regional commissions become busier the challenge becomes how to continue functioning with volunteers. Mr. Marten questioned allowing one person to make the decisions and Mr. Flynn said the person would be directed by the group. Mr. Blackwood said the question was how to coordinate and accomplish all the tasks that evolve out of meetings at both the state and regional and local level. He suggested some agency could possibly provide part of a position as an in-kind donation, or maybe a retired person would be willing to provide their services for minimal reimbursement. He said the point of sharing Mr. Flynn’s arrangement was that others might benefit from a similar plan. Mr. Blackwood stressed that the regional commissions were autonomous. He explained that as funds become available to the Commission through the Legacy Campaign, one of his goals was to make funds available for qualified projects, noting that funding a coordinator position would qualify. Organization and Planning grants currently qualify for this use as long as the work accomplished was not project related. Mr. Blackwood asked for other examples and Ms. Weber noted that the Forest Service and the City of Great Falls are assisting the Upper Missouri RBC fund a Signature Events coordinator. She encouraged people to talk to federal agencies, state agencies and school districts regarding possible funding sources.

Mr. Blackwood recapped that in essence local merchants benefit from events and activities; the event itself does well to break even, but the community benefits in terms of repeat visitors. He added that hopefully all of the recipients realize they need to lend support. Mr. Strange said he was surprised that so few people are aware of the L&C Bicentennial. Mr. Blackwood cited the recent PLOG Study that states, “the interest and awareness of the Expedition has increased slightly in the last two years, but the awareness of the Bicentennial has increased three-fold.” He said if there was a negative out of the Monticello event, it was that they did not succeed in attracting the non-Lewis & Clark audience. He added that everyone needed to market wisely and show a compelling reason that caused people to come to events and activities. Attracting 1,000 people to the State Capitol’s January 18 event was the result of two weeks of concentrated media. Sandra Cahill reported on the successful event held in Livingston on the 18th. Mr. Blackwood announced the National Council’s April 13-16 conference in Great Falls, “Retrospect of Success,” noting it would key in on events planning through a review of the Monticello kickoff. Several topics would be covered, including hospitality, finance and security, and he encouraged people to attend. Mr. Martin spoke about the 5th annual encampment at Kipp Recreation Area on the Missouri River, noting that attendance has grown from 30 people the first year to 600 last year. He spoke about his hope to increase tribal involvement through MTTA, but noted that the Bicentennial was not a top priority for the tribes. He spoke about the importance of partnering and helping each other. Mr. Blackwood agreed, noting that Montana’s Bicentennial observance from the beginning was intended to be grassroots driven.

VI. Review New Lewis & Clark Electronic Press Kit

Mr. Blackwood explained that Travel Montana has developed an electronic press kit that provides background information on the Trail for travel writers and others seeking information for story development. The web address for the pres kit is www.lewisandclark.montanainfo.org. Updated information on events would be beneficial and could be linked off of the press kit. Eventually the press kit would be modified to include ‘untold story’ leads on what was happing around the state. Possible sections could address topics such as encampments, interpretive signs, etc. Mr. Blackwood touched on the “Show and Tell” segment of last year’s Fall Conference, noting that the ongoing inventory of project descriptions and images would also provide expanded information for travel writers. The group discussed the press coverage that resulted from the January 18 kickoff events and Mr. Blackwood said future press would result from local contacts going to those news outlets and pitching a story line. This provided justification for groups to submit information for the Calendar of Events and the Press Kit. Mr. Blackwood said he would be working with Tom Cook at the Historical Society to hopefully develop a regular program for airing on the Northern Ag Network. He also referred to the 10-second infomercial the Commission purchased on Montana PBS that talks about the Bicentennial, provides contact information and how to get involved.

VII. Review New Corridor Packaging on Travel Montana Website

Mr. Blackwood explained that Travel Montana was compiling information from their Calendar of Events and database to develop ‘corridor packaging’ on their website. A map with clickable corridors was being developed that would provide the user with information on events, attractions and activities by corridor. As actual travel packages are put together, they will be incorporated and promoted through this web site. Mr. Blackwood said he was also promoting a meeting of the 6 Tourism Regions to address the networking of brochures so the traveling public would have access to L&C brochures that have some similarity from one Tourism Region to another. Mr. Strange asked if the Commission had contacted area associations to request time on their agendas. Mr. Blackwood said he has attended some meetings, and could probably do more, but said there was no substitute for regional commission representatives making contacts in their local communities. He referred to the many interviews he has provided to media in recent months, and offered to speak to a gathering in Columbus if the opportunity arose.

Jim George, Montana Oarsmen, spoke briefly on the scenic trips he provides from the Headwaters to Canyon Ferry, and by houseboat from Canyon Ferry to Hauser Lake. Mr. Blackwood elaborated on his philosophy with regard to what he felt needed to evolve, which was to encourage experiences. He said people go on vacation to be entertained, educated and involved, and lasting memories come from the experience of being personally involved. He stressed that the regional commissions were the Commission’s statewide lifeline, that it was impossible for him to personally connect with the many groups in each community, but he would be happy to make community presentations if asked.

VIII. Review 2003 Corridor Signing Applications to NPS

Mr. Blackwood provided an update on corridor signing applications submitted to the National Park Service. He reported that Montana Tourism & Recreation Initiative (MTRI) submitted an application for $35,933 and the regional commissions that signed up to be a part were: Northeastern Plains, Crimson Bluffs Chapter, Missouri Breaks, Southwest, and Western Montana regional commissions. Two years ago MTRI worked with the Blackfoot corridor, and currently work is onging in the Yellowstone corridor. Mr. Martin announced their upcoming corridor meeting on February 22. Mr. Strange asked about corridor designations and Mr. Backwood referred him to the Master Plan for corridor designations.

X. Review Organization and Planning (O&P) Grants

Ms. Cortright was called on to address administration of the O&P Grants Program. She introduced Amy Baird, part-time grants administrator for the Commission. She said Ms. Baird has been working diligently to obtain the required reports, review them for requested information, and to interact with applicants to resolve any problems or questions. Groups were encouraged to work cooperatively with Ms. Baird as she is attempting to administer this program under the established program guidelines that allow for state auditor review. Ms. Cortright stressed that the integrity of the program rests with the proper administration of state dollars spent by grant recipients. She said the Commission was striving to provide as much funding as possible to communities and make the program as effective as possible, and asked everyone to cooperate with the reporting procedures. Regarding the allowable use of funds, she referred to the O&P Application and Guidelines that govern the appropriate use of funds, and reviewed the acceptable uses as noted. She explained that when reports indicated that grant funds had been spent outside of the allowable uses, it created added work for Commission staff and grantees in resolving the problems. She said with regard to Project Grants, the same process was utilized; expenditures as reported by grantees were compared with the financial section of the application. If expenditures were not in agreement with the approved uses, Ms. Baird must contact the grantee to resolve the situation. She said the Commission has been very lenient with extension requests, and with prior written request, funds can be reallocated within a project’s budget. The 6-month reports are a means of ensuring that projects are on schedule, and she asked that grantees submit a written request to Ms. Baird in advance of the final report deadline to request extensions. Mr. Blackwood noted that any substantive change within contracts, including the contact information, needed to be documented. He said there was no excuse for not submitting reports on time, noting it takes a tremendous amount of staff time to chase down delinquent reports. He reiterated that O&P monies were not intended for project use, including the promotion or operation of events. O&P funds are intended specifically to assist groups function in an organization and planning mode, including websites, public meeting notices, or brochures specific to regional commissions. Grant writing and administrative staff expenses were noted as acceptable use of O&P funds. He urged people to contact the Commission office with questions and noted that the funds were provided to ensure that representatives from regional commissions and Tribes attended the Commissions three meetings.

XI. Fall Conference Topics

Mr. Blackwood announced the Fall Conference, October 2-3, in Lewistown, and asked attendees what topics they would like to see addressed. This year’s conference will have a strong Indian focus, and possibly include an encampment organized by MTTA and a traditional meal. A half-day RBC/Tribal reps meeting was suggested that could include up to approximately 22 people. Concurrent breakout sessions allowing up to 45 minutes each for in-depth reports on 6 key regional projects were requested. This would allow for discussion on the details of projects, including a project description and specifics on how it was accomplished. An overall “Show and Tell” segment was requested, and Mr. Blackwood said this type of lengthy session could overwhelm the audience. In place of this, a room where each RBC/Tribal group could have a manned display on their events and offerings was suggested. Interpretation sessions, including step on guides, were suggested as was a preview of what was planned corridor-wide in future years. The need for a long-range calendar was identified. A session on how the each of the tribes wanted to be involved and what message they wanted to convey was suggested. “After the Action” reporting on signature events was identified as a possible topic. Mr. McDonald briefly addressed the re-enactment by the Flathead this past spring, noting it was filmed for distribution through the tribal college. He provided the phone number, (406) 675-4800 for Frank Tyro or Roy Big Crane with the media department, noting the video was priced at $15.00. Mr. Blackwood asked for volunteers to serve on the Conference Planning Committee and Walt Marten, Loren Flynn, Wyman McDonald, and Steve Kubick volunteered.

Joni Stewart asked if there was coordination between the Trail Heritage Foundation and the state Commission. Mr. Blackwood explained that the National Council was a spin-off of the Foundation and when the National Council was reorganized this past year, the Foundation picked up much of the work related to the Signature Event. He noted that Montana chapters have been involved from day one with the state Commission, but said there was no entity that coordinated the Montana chapters. The use of a chat room was proposed for coordination purposes, and Mr. Blackwood asked Jim George to keep in touch with the Commission regarding its development.

Cheryl Hutchinson spoke in support of soliciting information from Foundation Chapters for use by the Superhost trainers. She also suggested arranging vendor tables in geographical order as they relate to the Trail during the Fall Conference.

XII. Sacagawea Coin Promotion

At the request of Richard Boyd, manager of the Museum Store at the Historical Society, Mr. Blackwood encouraged the circulation of the Sacagawea coin. Mr. Rockwell said he uses the coin when tipping at restaurants as it provides an opportunity to promote the Bicentennial.

Mr. Blackwood encouraged everyone to attend the 8:30 a.m. Commission meeting tomorrow at the Historical Society. The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.

 

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