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Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Commission
Reginal Bicentennial Commissions and
MontanaTribal Tourism Alliance Meeting
James E. Todd Bldg., University of Montana, Missoula
June 11, 2001
10:00 A.M.

Call to Order

Clint Blackwood called the meeting to order at 2:00 p.m. and welcomed attendees on behalf of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commission.

Introductions

Mr. Blackwood called for introductions. (Please refer to the attached sheet for attendees.) He displayed a map outlining the Montana counties covered by the 15 regional bicentennial commissions (RBC's) and said the RBC and Montana Tribal Tourism Alliance (MTTA) structure serves as the life's blood of coordination and communication between the state Commission and local communities. Mr. Blackwood said it would be beneficial for these two groups to meet at least once annually, and noted that RBC contacts are listed on the Commission's web page, 'montanalewisandclark.org.' He said representation on MTTA was more nebulous and added that Darrell Martin's participation would help facilitate connection with Indian Country. Otis Halfmoon's participation as liaison with Corps of Discovery II would also serve to facilitate coordination among the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.

Mr. Blackwood distributed a handout titled, "Regional Bicentennial Commission Program Outline," and said this subject would be addressed more fully later in the meeting.

Presentation of Infrastructure Planning & Finance Programs

Mr. Blackwood explained that in an effort to deal with community infrastructure needs, the Bicentennial Master Plan suggested that the State hire a consultant to perform an infrastructure assessment to help Trail communities determine if they had sufficient infrastructure in place. Mr. Blackwood said there were programs already in place to deal with infrastructure planning, and therefore invited Gus Byrom and Dave Cole with the Local Government Assistance Division of the Montana Department of Commerce to address the group regarding infrastructure planning and financing. They delivered a video presentation and provided numerous handout materials to the group. Mr. Byron reviewed the various sources of funding available, noting the challenge comes in linking community goals with government agency goals to form effective partnerships. Mr. Blackwood thanked them for making their presentation and urged communities to make contacts with the appropriate local, as well as state government, representatives regarding infrastructure needs.

Events

Mr. Blackwood noted the name change for the National Council, which is now the National Council of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial. He explained that a couple of years ago the Council put out a request for proposals for Signature Events, with the expectation that 12 events would be chosen along the Trail during the 4-year bicentennial observance. Two events were selected for Montana; "Discovering the Big Sky," July 3-4, 2005, and "Clark on the Yellowstone," July 25, 2006, and Mr. Blackwood explained there is a great opportunity to build pre- and post-events around those dates. He encouraged the Signature Event planners to reach out to surrounding communities and Tribes and involve them in regional events planning. Phil Scriver distributed a handout and addressed planning efforts for the "Discovering the Big Sky," noting plans for a 33-day event that parallels the Expedition's time from the decision at the Marias to completing the portage of the great falls of the Missouri. He said the first 31 days of activities would build to the signature event the final two days. July 3, 2005, will focus on the native cultures of the lands the Expedition passed through. July 4 will focus on the Expedition and their achievements and will conclude with a closing ceremony and public feast.

Mr. Blackwood said there is talk of a possible Nez Perce event in the Spring 2006. Otis Halfmoon said it was his understanding that the event was planned for 2005. Ms. Weber said she believed the spring of 2006 was the correct date.

Jeff Dietz distributed a handout on "Clark on the Yellowstone," scheduled for July 25, 2006, and explained that this proposal was submitted by the Yellowstone County Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commission. He explained that their original proposal included the entire time that Clark was on the Yellowstone River, almost 2 weeks, but the actual event would encompass four days, including Clark Days on Saturday and Sunday, an educational program for youth on Monday, the official 200th anniversary of Clark inscribing his signature on the pillar will be observed on Tuesday. He said they would continue to develop activities and relationships throughout the Yellowstone River Valley. He pledged his group's support for the event in Great Falls and said he hoped they would reciprocate. The Yellowstone event would be followed by a Signature Event at Newtown, North Dakota in mid-August. Mr. Dietz referred to the National Council's website, "lewisandclark200.org" which contains a listing and description of the planned 12 Signature Events. He invited comments on their proposed event.

Mr. Blackwood explained that a Memorandum of Understanding would be coming soon from the National Council to the two groups for signature. He said the Council had pledged media and publicity, and some funds they are able to raise them in support of the Signature Events. Mr. Blackwood said the State Commission has every intention of supporting the Signature Events, as well as other events statewide. He explained there is a second level of events that the National Council will acknowledge, i.e., the Bicentennial Calendar of Public Events. He provided a handout containing a Criteria and Evaluation Form for listing events on the calendar. He said there would be a screening process by the Council, and if your event scores appropriately, it would then be listed on the calendar. The Criteria will be posted on the Commission's website under "Events." He introduced Jane Weber, a Montana member of the Council, and said as chair of the Circle of State Advisors he also sits on the Council as an ex-officio member. Mr. Blackwood said L&C events are also being listed on Travel Montana's web page, "discoveringmontana.com." Travel Montana sends forms to Chambers, Tourism Regions, and now MTTA and RBC's soliciting information on L&C events for inclusion on their calendar.

Fundraising Strategy

Mr. Blackwood introduced Lorraine Roach with The Hingston Roach Group (THRG), saying she and her team did a tremendous job in developing the Bicentennial Master Plan for the Commission. He said in assessing the need for fundraising, he decided to enter into a short-term contract with Ms. Roach for the development of a proposed implementation outline for a fundraising strategy. He referred to the needs questionnaire that went out to RBC's and MTTA members. He invited Ms. Roach to address the group and she said Montana truly is a leader among the states in this effort. She said as the Master Plan was developed, they looked at all the projects and programs that people wanted to do for the Bicentennial and created a database of 750 projects. That list was then pared down into Tier I and II projects as noted in the Master Plan, and the key now is taking that list of 56 Tier I projects which total $50 million, and beginning the fundraising effort. Tier II projects represent another $30 million worth of need. She said the purpose of the fundraising strategy THRG developed last fall was to identify the Commission's role in fundraising, and what approach the Commission should take in relationship to the local groups in an effort to move this process forward. In February, the Commission made their choice of the options proposed by THRG, which was Option 2, the "Responsive/Proactive" Strategy. Ms. Roach provided a handout and reviewed the results from the local needs questionnaire. She said there was a clear need for funding, and estimated that $4-12 million would be needed from outside sources. This amount does not reflect state or federal projects, but just the local and tribal groups that responded. She said there was nearly unanimous support for the Commission to aggressively pursue a fundraising campaign, and in particular with corporate sponsorships. She said many of the projects would take months to years to implement once the funding is in place and projected that once the national kickoff takes place in January 2003, Montana will begin to see significant increases in visitation. Therefore, she stressed that it was critical to have things in place as quickly as possible. Ms. Roach again referred to the summary of the Local Needs Questionnaire, noting the level of funding in hand, the level of funding needed, comments related to fundraising, and the list of respondents. Mr. Sproull asked her to address what it would mean to get corporate sponsorship, how realistic the expectation was, and whether there were corporations in Montana that were interested in contributing. Ms. Roach said corporate sponsorship was one of the six major funding sources identified in the Master Plan. She said she would be presenting to the Commission tomorrow a detailed implementation outline for moving forward on two primary fronts, corporate sponsorships and foundation grants. She said a strong economy has resulted in huge amounts of dollars residing with private Foundations. With regard to sponsorships, corporations look at the potential return in terms of marketing benefits they would receive as a sponsor, i.e., the sale of their products. They are also concerned with exclusivity. Sponsors provide cash up front that can then be funneled down to help get events up and running. As people attend events and purchase the sponsor's products, the sponsor receives a return on their sponsorship investment. This is where local planning groups could provide assistance, by evaluating their event, determining its marketability and projecting the visitor/customer potential. She referred to the Top 100 Montana Companies survey mailed last year that resulted in a list of companies that indicated a desire to be involved. The task at hand for the Commission is to take the list of 56 Tier I projects and package them in a way that makes them attractive to a potential sponsor. Follow-up contact would be necessary to determine where groups are with their projects in terms of planning and funding. Ms. Roach said the National Council is going through this same process to locate national-level corporate sponsors for Signature Events and there may be ways to collaborate with them to help with local or multi-state projects. Mr. Blackwood stressed that events need to be of high quality to make them attractive to sponsors. He suggested a segment on events planning as a potential Fall Conference topic, and encouraged groups to consider planning sustainable activities that would span more than one weekend. Ms. Roach addressed the concept of a paid full or part-time coordinator for each Travel Corridor to help coordinate events. Ms. Weber said that the Upper Missouri Bicentennial Commission had already identified this need in planning for their 33 days of events leading up to their Signature Event.

Ms. Roach said her team was asked to do a feasibility study related to full sponsorship and licensing, and based on that study, they recommended the Commission not enter into product licensing. She said the National Council is planning to do a product licensing program and there may be opportunities for Montana companies to participate, with the potential that some of the revenues would flow back down to the state.

Regarding special projects, Ms. Roach said they were not recommending anything specific, but said the question was how to get the general public involved. She cited as an example, Idaho's Governor's Challenge, a golf, skeet shooting and tennis tournament. Another example was the Habitat for Humanity donor box concept that could be tailored to a L&C fundraising campaign that incorporated a master calendar as a tool to help educate people about the Bicentennial.

Mr. Blackwood closed by saying the Commission would address THRG's fundraising proposal during tomorrow's meeting and cautioned that it is not the Commission's goal to raise all of the money; local groups will share in the fundraising responsibility. Ms. Roach said their recommended fundraising goal was $10 to $15 million at the state level.

Mr. Blackwood provided an update on the Congressional level, noting the $100,000 request that Senator Burns is sponsoring for the statewide Public Safety Plan, the $500,000 request that Senator Baucus is sponsoring for the Commission's Re-grant Program, and a $500,000 request that Congressman Rehberg is sponsoring for implementation of the Interpretive Sign Strategy. All of these requests have gone to the Appropriations Committee and work continues with the House and Senate Caucuses. Mr. Blackwood has written letters of support for Corps II funding, and he encouraged local groups to lend support to federal agencies that are attempting to maintain or enhance their budgets.

A recap of the State Legislature was given next by Mr. Blackwood. He said Travel Montana recommitted $200,000 per year for the next biennium to fund the base operations budget for the Commission. The Montana Historical Society received $116,000 in program funding for Lewis & Clark projects. Legislation passed allowing for a L&C Bicentennial license plate and Mr. Blackwood displayed a copy of the proposed plate design which was well received by the audience. Plates will go on sale in January 2002 for $30 with a $20 renewal fee, and the revenue projections could reach $500,000 to $700,000 annually. The Commission will receive $20 net from each transaction, and Mr. Blackwood said the money would be used to enhance the grants program. Plates will be available through 2007. Mr. Purviance said the University has a similar program in place and has received over $800,000 for its scholarship program. Mr. Blackwood said he would be working with the Board of Investments on a loan to make funds available ahead of next January.

In closing Mr. Blackwood displayed a copy of the book containing over 500 project templates trail wide representing over $500 million in identified funding needs that were submitted to Congress. He said many Federal agency and Tribal projects have not yet been considered. This book substantiates the need for Congress to provide more funding, and the task now is to match up projects that can be funded with Congressional funding. This means the funds must flow through an existing federal agency, or a federal agency that has a grants program. Mr. Blackwood said some of the projects may not be eligible for Congressional funding, thus the need for local-level fundraising, and the probable need for refreshed information on the status of Montana projects. Ms. Roach complimented the Commission's staff on their efforts in gathering this information and assisting with the preparation of the Master Plan. Ms. Weber said Montana is the only state that has ground swell support, which will result in a well-done commemoration.

Session Topics for Fall Conference

The Fall Conference is scheduled for the afternoon of October 11, with a function at Pompeys Pillar that evening, and will continue through the afternoon of Friday, October 12. Mr. Blackwood distributed and reviewed a list of proposed session topics and asked people to mark their top five topics, add any additional ideas, and return the form to the Commission's office within a week. Mr. Stearns suggested adding a session on tour guide training.

Review of Commission's Grants Program

Rita Cortright reported on the Organization and Planning Grants for 2001. She recapped that the decision was made at the October 2000 Commission meeting to set aside up to $55,000 of the Commission's portion of the grant funds and make them available to RBC's and Tribes through an application process. Applications were received from 14 RBC's and 3 Tribes in January and $43,473 in grants was awarded in February. Year-end reports will be due in December on these grants. Project Grant Applications for 2001 were made available in mid-February and 50 applications requesting $758,000 were received by the April 13 deadline. This year's partners were the Commission, Montana Dept. of Transportation, and Travel Montana's Infrastructure Investment Program, for a total of $155,000. The Grants Committee completed their scoring and will present their funding recommendations for 13 projects during tomorrow's Commission meeting. Immediately following the Commission meeting, contracts will be mailed with the hope of issuing the grant funds by June 30. Mr. Blackwood said the press release is ready, and letters are ready for mailing to both the successful and unsuccessful applicants. He said one of the fundraising goals would be to grow the grants program. The Commission may borrow from the Board of Investments against the license plate sales to make funds available quickly. Mr. Blackwood said he would propose tomorrow during the Commission meeting that the O&P and Project Grant programs be merged into one application process with the deadline for the 2002 program coming in December. This would allow the Grants Committee time to process the applications during January and the awards would be made at the February 2002 Commission meeting. This would allow for utilization of the full construction season. Project grants require a 6-month and a final report and Mr. Blackwood asked recipients to be timely in submitting the required reports in an effort to avoid hiring a grants administrator. He asked that grant questions be directed to Rita Cortright. He said when grant applications come in he looks to see if the project has RBC and/or MTTA support; if not, it serves is a flag that something is being planned without regional coordination.

RBC Compliance Guidelines, Roles, Responsibilities

Mr. Blackwood referred to the handout, Regional Bicentennial Commission Program Outline," and reviewed each topic listed. Under "Representation" he stressed that groups who received O&P grants agreed to use a portion of those funds to send a representative to Commission meetings. He proposed holding joint RBC/MTTA meetings in conjunction with Commission meetings, the second Tuesday in February and June, and in conjunction with the Fall Conference in late September or October.

Overview of Statewide Public Safety Plan Development

Mr. Blackwood explained that the reason for the Safety Plan is to provide for the unexpected and serves as a means for emergency service providers to coordinate within their county and with adjacent counties. He spoke about the plan already in place among 5 Idaho counties and 3 western Montana counties. Mike McGinley, Beavhead County Commissioner, addressed the group on this effort. Mr. Blackwood urged coordination on a local level with sheriffs, search and rescue, and possibly the Montana National Guard. The first meeting of stakeholders for the Safety Plan was held in Great Falls, May 15-16, and Mike Cooney is serving as project facilitator. Mr. Blackwood said the $100,000 appropriation from Congress would provide the balance of the funds for planning, and would allow for a second appropriation request from Congress for the balance of the funds needed to implement the plan. He referred to the contact lists for Disaster and Emergency Services and the Montana Sheriffs' and Peace Officers' Association that were mailed prior to the meeting. Mr. Blackwood stressed that these people need to become part of the local planning team. Conversely, the RBC/MTTA lists have been provided to these to groups in an effort to facilitate coordination. In order to complete the needs assessments on the county level, local groups would need to share their plans.

Site Location Process for Corps II

Mr. Blackwood referred to the Potential Sites Check-List for Corps II and requested that attendees take this checklist back to their respective communities and begin identifying potential sites where Corps II could locate for a period of time. He requested that copies of completed forms be sent to the state Commission office. He said the Park Service has not yet provided parameters on the size of the vehicles, but there would be at least two semis and two support vehicles. The NPS will soon be hiring a logistics planner who will then begin working with communities along the Trail and would be seeking this type of information. Mike McGinley asked if the original Corps II schedule was still accurate and Mr. Blackwood said communities should plan for Corps II to be in their area close to the anniversary dates of the Expedition. Ms. Weber said it would most likely travel along the Yellowstone in 2006. Otis Halfmoon, who was hired recently as tribal liaison for Corps II, said he understood that Corps II would be in one location for a week or two and then move on, but the logistics planner will make contact with the communities to see if they wanted Corps II in their area. The decisions with regard to Corps II locations would be made jointly among the communities, the NPS Corps II planning staff and the state Commission. Mr. Halfmoon is in the process of contacting the tribes and state bicentennial coordinators in an effort to facilitate tribal involvement in the Bicentennial. Ms. Gorksi commended Mr. Blackwood for getting a head start on a very challenging task, and said the local groups would be given as much control as possible over what makes sense for their communities. Ms. Roach said consideration would be given to what other local events could be complimented by Corps II. She said the NPS would soon be addressing the issue of costs, and who would be responsible to cover what costs, i.e., electricity, security, and cleanup of the site. She said some communities might decide that because of the logistics they cannot accommodate Corps II. Ms. Roach said there would be a corporate sponsorship agreement signed for Corps II and consideration would need to be given as to how local sponsorships interface with that agreement. Ms. Weber said the RBC's have an opportunity to be involved up front in the planning process. Richard Hopkins announced that Gerard Baker plans to attend the Central Montana Resources Advisory Council meeting on September 12 at the Great Northern in Havre, and would be available to answer some of these questions. Mr. Lepley asked if minimum standards for infrastructure requirements would be put out in advance and Mr. Blackwood said they would be, but Mr. Baker's planners will be addressing that concern. He said the Commission office has a master list of porta-potties available to assist local groups with their planning.

Endorsement Program

Mr. Blackwood referred to the document, "Montana Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Commission Project, Events and Program Standards." He said the state Commission struggled with the idea of endorsements and has decided not to create an endorsement program, as they feel it would be an impossible task to determine what should and should not be endorsed. Mr. Blackwood said only one of the other 16 trail states plans to undertake an endorsement program. He said this guideline resulted from a suggestion at the February Commission meeting and these standards are a recommendation, and groups would be on the honor system to comply with them. Mr. Blackwood made the distinction between an events endorsement program and a product endorsement program. He explained that the state Commission would not be placing their logo on products for a royalty fee. However, he said if the National Council comes up with a product licensing program that is attractive, one the state Commission could benefit from, the Commission would consider joining a national product licensing program. Ms. Roach encouraged planners to not be afraid to charge for events.

Overview of MTRI Implementation of Interpretive Sign Strategy

Amy Teegarden delivered an overview of the implementation of the Interpretive Sign Strategy. She serves on the L&C Co. Bicentennial Commission and works for the US Forest Service as coordinator for the Bicentennial. She also serves as the Forest Service representative to the Montana Tourism Recreation Initiative, the group that put together the Interpretive Sign Strategy. They recently applied for and received a $20,000 NPS Challenge Cost Share Grant to begin implementation of the Strategy. Part of that grant, $5,000, would fund a "welcome to Montana" product in the form of a sign, poster or brochure, with 'you are here' indicators. They hope to have a design prototype at the Fall Conference. The remaining funds would support development of a gateway corridor sign at Bonner, the crossroads of I-15 and Hwy. 200. Design layouts will also hopefully be ready by the Fall Conference.

Mr. Purviance said a member of their RBC suggested the use of low-power traveler's radio advisories in conjunction with interpretive signs and found that a unit with a radius of about 6 miles costs between $16,000 and $18,000. He said an even lower powered unit could be purchased with a 100-yard radius for pullouts. They plan to approach the Montana Dept. of Highways to see if the possibility exists for piggy-backing this type of message with interpretive signage. Ms. Gorksi asked Mr. Blackwood if he had a map that would assist in the implementation of interpretive signs by corridors and he suggested they talk later about what would be required.

National L&C Planning Workshop, Great Falls, Spring 2003

Jane Weber announced that the 2002 annual meeting of the National Council of the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial is planned for Lewiston, Idaho. The 2003 meeting is scheduled for Great Falls and the Upper Missouri Bicentennial Commission put a bid in to host the event. She said Phil Scriver has a committee in place to facilitate planning, and they plan to meet with Keith Petersen in Idaho to learn from his experience in hosting the 2002 event. Ms. Weber said Montana and Idaho share common thoughts about some structural changes in the convention to make it more worthwhile for attendees. She serves on the National Council and said she was disappointed with the outcome of Omaha's meeting in terms of coming away with tangible ideas to implement. Ms. Weber said that local people want more influence in planning the meeting agenda, as opposed to just being involved in planning the social portions of the event. Mr. Blackwood urged RBC/MTTA representatives to publicize their events and meetings, and invite media coverage and local government representatives.

Lewis & Clark: Montana's Story Video

Mr. Blackwood distributed copies of the 22-minute video to RBC and MTTA representatives. This video was designed in cooperation with the Montana Superhost program to serve as a training mechanism for front line staff. It addresses the historic as well as current day aspects of the Trail in Montana. Mr. Blackwood recognized Hal Stearns, chair of the Commission's Education Committee, Jeri Mae Rowley with Flathead Community College, and the Communication Services from MSU, for their work in producing this video.

Confluence of Cultures Symposium Overview

Mr. Blackwood said this is another project the Education Committee has undertaken. Ms. Weber explained that a sub-committee of the Education Committee, chaired by Darrell Kipp and Jonathan Matthews, is planning a "Confluence of Cultures" symposium for late May 2003 here on the campus of the University of Montana. She credited Darrell Kipp with the idea of the symposium, noting that he has already been in contact with the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), a group that represents over 30 tribal colleges. Ms. Weber said a coordinator would probably be hired part-time to assist with planning and AIHEC has committed their involvement with the symposium. The idea of AIHEC's involvement is to stimulate scholarship on the tribal college campuses, resulting in a very interactive dialogue during the symposium. There will be evening entertainment, but the event is scholarly in focus and will be mainly tailored to an adult audience.

Montana Tribal Tourism Alliance

Mr. Blackwood apologized for not addressing this topic at the beginning of the meeting. He invited Darrell Martin to speak on behalf of MTTA. Mr. Martin serves as tourism director at Fort Belknap for the Tribe. He explained that MTTA was formed by Mardell Plainfeather, Henri Thompson and himself to serve as a conduit to the Tribes. The group has non-profit status and they are looking to hire staff. He said MTTA endorses Lewis and Clark and encourages RBC's to work with tribes in their areas. Darrell and Major Robinson serve as co-chairs and he asked MTTA members to stand and be recognized. He said every tribe has passed a resolution in support of MTTA, and they are seeing the endorsement of the Montana/ Wyoming Tribal Leaders. Mr. Blackwood offered to formalize a contact list for MTTA that would be posted on the Commission's website.

Ms. Weber asked Mr. Martin to address the Circle of Tribal Advisors, (COTA) group. Mr. Martin said a meeting was held in Omaha of representatives of all the Tribes along the Trail. He said their main objective was to establish tribal interaction. He said Native peoples want information to be more precise and correct and they want to tell their own story. Tribes plan to document their oral histories and publish them and the main emphasis during their meeting was on getting the correct story from the right people. He said the Tribes support the Lewis and Clark commemoration and Corps II. Mr. Blackwood said COTA was established at the national level and until this year Montana was not represented; however this year four Montana Indian representatives attended the meetings in Omaha. Ms. Weber said COTA representatives must be sanctioned by the Tribal Council, as opposed to MTTA representation, which is not mandated by the Tribal Council. Mr. Blackwood also recognized Darrell Martin as a recent member of the state Commission.

Visitation Research

Mr. Blackwood said the Strategic Plan estimated visitation at 4 to 8 million additional non-resident visitors over the course of the four years. He said there is some talk of conducting an update study in 2002 to get a better indication of visitation numbers.

Next Meeting

The next meeting was set for October 10, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. in conjunction with the Fall Conference in Billings. The meeting adjourned at 5:15 p.m.

 

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