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Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Commission
Reginal Bicentennial Commissions and
Montana Tribal Lewis & Clark Tribal Representatives Meeting
Yogo Inn, Lewistown, Montana
October 1, 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:
Betsy Baumgart, Darrell Kipp, Jack Lepley, Wyman McDonald, Darrel Martin, Arnie Olsen, Tootie Rasmussen, Betty Stone, Hal Stearns, Clint Blackwood and Rita Cortright, Amy Baird.

Regional Bicentennial Commissions:
Betty Stone - NE Plains Bicentennial Commission
Steve Kubick - Upper Missouri Bicentennial Commission
Dick Alberts - L&C Bicentennial Comm. of L&C Co.
Walt Marten - 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 - Gallatin L&C Bicentennial Association
Linda Koncilya - Lower Yellowstone River Bicentennial Commission
John Maatta - North Central Montana Regional Bicentennial Commission
Jeff Dietz - Yellowstone County Bicentennial Commission
Sheila Simanton - Missouri Breaks Bicentennial Commission

Not Represented:
Crimson Bluffs Chapter

Tribal L&C Bicentennial Representatives:
Clint Brown – Fort Belknap
Latonna Old Elk – Crow Tribe
R. J. Young – Fort Peck Tribes
Wyman McDonald - Salish/Kootenai Tribes

Not Represented:
Northern Cheyenne
Chippewa-Cree
Blackfeet
Little Shell

Additional Attendees:
Jane Weber – USFS, Great Falls
Carla Wambach – Gates of the Mountains Chapter
Dyani Bingham - MTTA
Linda Wolff, Sharon Rau - Lower Yellowstone RBC
Dick Fichtler - BLM
Gail Stensland - Upper Missouri RBC
Melody Dobson, Robbie Carpenter -Yellowstone RBC
Daniel Krum - Pompeys Pillar Hist. Assn.
Sharon Marten – Stillwater Chamber
Ron Nusbaum - Stillwater Co. RBC
Dave Walter – Montana Historical Society
Michael Sweeney – Menard Tours, Bozeman
Mike Casler – Fort Union Trading Post NHS
Penny Carpenter – Great Band of the Yellowstone RBC
Jonathan Jackson - MT Natl. Guard
Butch Renders - Richland Co. DES
John Langenheim – Montana Ambassadors
Diane Wolfe – Western MT RBC
Patty Goodrich, Rita Sand – Gallatin RBC
Carol McBryant – NPS Corps of Discovery II
Sheila Askins, Grace Nesbit – Mo. Breaks RBC

Mr. Blackwood introduced John Langenheim and thanked the Montana Ambassadors for their $1,000 sponsorship for the Fall Conference. He noted the large audience and said this meeting probably set an attendance record.

IV. Future L&C Conferences

Mr. Blackwood addressed the topic of future Annual Conferences, noting the Commission discussed the topic at length during their afternoon meeting and referred planning for the 2004 Conference to the Conference Committee. He noted the Commission’s current schedule of 3 meetings annually, and asked if the regional bicentennial commission/tribal reps meetings were beneficial. He also solicited input via the Conference Evaluation Form in the Resource Directory and opened the floor to general discussion on topics for the 2004 Fall Conference. Steve Kubick said it was a good idea to continue with the conference, as it provided a forum to share ideas and avoid pitfalls. Gail Stensland said it was a key vehicle that provided a service to the entire state and should continue. Walt Marten reported that their event would get off the ground next summer and they planned to film activities over 2 or 3 days, and use the film as an evaluation tool as they planed for 2005 and 2006. Dick Alberts said these meetings provided a good form for the exchange of ideas and felt the Conference should continue. Mr. Blackwood said he knew that regional planning sessions had taken place or were being planned and encouraged others to plan corridor meetings in their regions. Walt Marten reported on the successful corridor sharing session held this past winter in Columbus.

III. Corridor Sharing Sessions

Mr. Blackwood reviewed the schedule for the Corridor Sharing Sessions planned for Friday morning during the Conference where groups were expected to gather with members of their respective Corridors and share information on key projects and plans.

VI. Interpretive Signage

Dick Alberts expressed concern on the part of the L&C Co. and the Upper Missouri RBC regarding the coordination of interpretive signage. They have questions regarding what signs are in place, where new signs are planned and how groups could obtain funding to complete sign projects. There is concern that lack of coordination could result in major stretches of the Trail not having interpretive signs.

Mr. Blackwood reported on the corridor sign strategy meeting in Great Falls where experts in the interpretive field talked about the process of how to accomplish signing by corridors. He said the corridor groups needed to take the initiative and request help and the state Commission office would assist with then planning. He said the Corridor Signing Workshop could be repeated if necessary. Mr. Alberts said their main concern was how to accomplish fundraising for signs, as they had been unsuccessful in identifying funding sources. Mr. Blackwood said the five partners involved in the Legacy Campaign have had the same experience over the past year and a half. He said it was hard for the Legacy Campaign and would be equally challenging for regional commissions to accomplish. Steve Kubick explained that many organizations were offering grants and groups were applying for grants but there was no repository for the information. He said 112 potential sign locations were identified during their meeting. Mr. Blackwood said that the Commission and MTRI applied jointly for and were successful in obtaining a $20,000 grant from the NPS CCS program for interpretive signage, and hosted a 1-day signs workshop in Great Falls on July 23rd for five RBCs. It was hoped that the Legacy Campaign would raise the necessary funds for signage projects; however, the reality was that this had not happened. He said the idea of coordinating all of the funding requests through one database seemed impossible. Mr. Kubick said it would be helpful to know who was requesting what from whom and where the signs were located. He was seeking an inventory of existing and planned signs so brochures could be developed on a corridor basis. Mr. Blackwood responded that the corridor members needed to get together to review their existing and future signs and determine the priorities for fundraising. As an example, Mr. Kubick said the Portage Route Chapter had applied for and received funds for signs at Clara Park in Great Falls. Mr. Blackwood said everyone needed to conduct research in his own areas to determine what was taking place. Mr. Kubick said he was seeking a repository for the information on the web. Mr. Alberts expressed concern that tourists entering the state would be greeted with a gateway sign, and then travel 200 miles and not find additional signage in place. It was reported that the Yellowstone Corridor had designated “Discovery Points” and were planning for a brochure and website for “Clark on the Yellowstone.” Mr. Blackwood explained that when the Sign Strategy was produced there was a lot of discussion about directing the sign program from the top down. The planning team conducted an extensive on-the-ground inventory of L&C signs, and that information is posted on the Commission’s web page. They also identified areas where more complete signage was needed, but determined that it would be best to happen from the ground up by interested groups and agencies. Mr. Olsen agreed that building on the existing inventory with updates in 2004 and 2005 would be very useful. Action Item: Mr. Blackwood offered to work with the MTRI group to compile a database of information on existing and priority future sign locations.

Mr. Blackwood explained that through the Legacy Campaign, PPL made a $100,000 donation for interpretive signing on their properties. He explained that PPL considered the corridor from Fort Benton, through Great Falls, Helena, Bozeman, and down the Yellowstone as acceptable areas for signs. They are also willing to consider sign locations that are not within the specific corridor. The funds were pledged over five years, and the first $20,000 has been paid to the Legacy Campaign. The State Commission now needed to make some decisions on how to distribute the funds. With the receipt of information on existing and proposed signs, the decision could be made regarding where to allocate the PPL funds. PPL wants to be kept informed during the sight selection process, but is not playing a role in granting permission for sign placement. Mr. Kubick explained that during their corridor meeting, their region’s proposed sign locations were put on the table and prioritized based on what was in the best interest of L&C signage as a whole. Mr. Blackwood asked groups to provide the sign inventory information to the Commission office in the next 30 days. Ms. Stone asked if the PPL funds could be used as a match toward the NPS CCS sign funds and Mr. Blackwood said they could. Jeff Dietz cautioned that it takes a long time do develop and place a quality sign, and given the dollars available and the timeframe left, he suggested considering another vehicle for highlighting points of interest on the Trail, i.e., the production of brochures in both paper and electronic formats. He suggested that locations within one night’s travel from Montana were prime spots to place L&C tourist information. He expressed concern with the 5-year pledge on the PPL funds but was glad for the amount of the gift. Mr. Blackwood said it was his hope that people would consider activities and projects other than signs noting that people want experiences and activities such as festivals and re-enactments, too. He said the three elements for a positive, successful experience were to be entertained, educated and involved. Action Item: The Commission office agreed to develop and distribute a survey form to RBC and Tribal contacts and Foundation Chapters requesting information on current and planned L&C interpretive signs.

VI. Review and Discuss Grants Programs

Mr. Blackwood asked if there were challenges and obstacles to completing grants projects that the Commission was not aware of, as almost every grant recipient has requested an extension. He asked if the extension process was working well, and explained that Amy Baird was responsible for the receipt and preparation of the contractual paperwork for extensions. Joni Stewart recapped their group’s experiences in planning and fabricating their interpretive signs. She felt that technical assistance was lacking and suggested that a signs workshop might be helpful for groups who were still in the initial stages of developing interpretive signs. Mr. Blackwood asked if everyone was familiar with the recent workshop in Great Falls and questioned why attendance was not better. The consensus was that people did not have sufficient notice of the workshop. He asked for a show of hands of those interested in attending a 1-day, intensive, interpretive sign workshop and several indicated interest. Action Item: Mr. Blackwood agreed to contact the groups that participated in the Great Falls workshop, i.e. BLM, Forest Service, FWP, the Historical Society, to explore the possibility of holding two workshops, one in western Montana and one in eastern Montana. Video steaming was suggested through VisionNet. Mr. Blackwood offered to take the suggestion to MTRI’s Focus Team meeting scheduled for mid-October. Mr. Lepley suggested including information or representatives from sign fabrication companies. Mr. Blackwood said this was an occasion to develop quality interpretive experiences that would be here for the next 2-3 generations, and therefore did not see the necessity of completing all of the sign projects prior to 2005-06. Mr. Kodeski said sooner or later a shift needed to occur from infrastructure development to operations expenses and Mr. Blackwood agreed. Mr. Kubick suggested handing over the interpretive sign inventory to the Trail Heritage Foundation when the Commission sunsets.

Mr. Blackwood reported that the Commission had approved the proposed Project and O&P applications and guidelines for the 2004 Grants Program. The application deadline is December 19, 2003, for both grants. A key change in the Project Grants was the increase in the minimum grant amount from $2,500 to $5,000. He introduced Betsy Baumgart as chair of the Grants Scoring Committee, and reported that the committee would present their funding recommendations to the Commission at their February 10, 2004, meeting. The amount of the grants pool would also be determined during the February meeting, and would be based on the Legacy Campaign’s fundraising efforts and license plate sales. Plate sales are averaging just over $18,000 per month, the amount budgeted; renewals are not 100 percent. Mr. Blackwood cited the number of specialty plates currently available, and encouraged groups to promote the sale of L&C plates in their communities. He asked again for suggested locations for the distribution of license plate inserts. Regarding O&P grants, Mr. Blackwood reported that the Grants Committee discussed and agreed to change the criteria regarding attendance at Commission meetings from “mandatory” to “strongly encouraged.” Attendance at Commission meetings has not been as high as desired, and he encouraged groups to send representatives to the meetings. He encouraged applicants to be fairly specific with regard to the use of funds and the source of matching funds. He suggested groups contact their Tourism Regions regarding attendance at local meetings, as well as for a source of funds for marketing dollars, as the Tourism Regions have access to bed tax dollars and a distribution system that has been in place for over 10 years. Tourism Regions submit their marketing plans in the spring and can’t vary from the plans once submitted. Ms. Baumgart encouraged contact no later than early June. Mr. Blackwood encouraged groups to be pro-active in contacting the Tourism Regions regarding the inclusion of events and activities in their publications.

V. Events Calendar

Mr. Blackwood addressed the revised Lewis & Clark page on Travel Montana’s web site, www.visitmt.com. The state Commission partnered with Travel Montana to develop a map of the state, overlaid with the Trail system, and further broken into travel corridors. By selecting a corridor, information is drawn from Travel Montana’s L&C database that is specific to that corridor’s attractions, events and activities. He asked groups to review the site for complete and current information, and contact Jan Wirak at Travel Montana with updated information. Secondly, he suggested groups visit the calendar of events on the National Council’s website, www.lewisandclark200.org and submit calendar information through the link provided on that site. Providing events information is critical as the National Council plans to launch a $160 million National Ad Council campaign in late October and into November. The National Council’s website will be featured on TV and in print and people will be driven to the website, and also back to states’ web sites. Signature Events information is also on the National Council’s website and should be reviewed. Carla Wambach stressed that older visitors would not necessarily find information through the web page, and asked about printed materials. Mr. Blackwood explained that there are Signature Event brochures available, as well as brochures produced by Travel Montana. Mr. Alberts asked about a multi-year calendar, and Ms. Baumgart responded that they were considering a separate L&C Events Calendar, and urged people to provide Travel Montana with information on future events that could provide justification for the separate calendar. She said a full page for L&C was added to the Vacation Planner. They are also working on consumer marketing/advertising and will bring it before the Governor’s Tourism Advisory Council on Monday. Mr. Blackwood announced the availability of forms at the meeting for submitting events for listing on Travel Montana’s website.

Mr. Blackwood displayed the newly released National Council’s brochure, and encouraged groups to take a supply with them.

VII. Commission's New Publicity/PR Campaign

Mr. Blackwood announced that the state Commission was working with Tom Cook, public information officer at the Historical Society, to develop a public relations/publicity program to include TV, radio and printed press releases. The Commission budgeted $10,000 for the program, and Mr. Blackwood was seeking a sponsor to enhance that amount. The program would include a significant number of radio PSAs on the Northern Broadcast Network, to raise public awareness of the Bicentennial, and to emphasize that that there are things to see and do right now, as well as the message that 2005 and 2006 will be the climax of the Bicentennial observance. He said there is confusion on the part of the general public with regard to the anniversary dates in Montana. Mr. Blackwood requested groups provide local information to the state Commission for inclusion in the PR campaign. He said as the Campaign developed, information would be shared with regional commissions.

IX. Lewis & Clark Street Banners

Mr. Blackwood called attention to the L&C-themed street banner developed by the community of Culbertson and explained that he wanted to draw people’s attention to the banner as an example of what other communities could also do. He suggested using the Commission’s 3-person logo for a consistent theme. Walt Marten reported that the Billings area had already designed a banner, but it did not incorporate the 3-person logo. He said merchants in the Yellowstone Corridor would be approached and revenue raised would help fund local programs. Mr. Blackwood asked Mr. Marten if he would be willing to bring an outline of the program to the next RBC meeting so that if interested, other Corridor groups could pattern from it to develop similar programs. Mr. Marten said they had been working on this program since January or February and suggested contacting Marilyn Strange for details and costs. Mr. Blackwood asked if other areas were interested in developing street banners. Jane Weber reported that Chouteau and Cascade Counties were developing banners through the school districts and art teachers for the Signature Events. Mr. Dietz reported that the cost of the banners was not the problem; the brackets cost as much or more than the banners. He said Miles City has used street poll banners for years and have excellent brackets in place; other communities are not as well equipped. Bracket types vary widely in design, materials, and costs. The Yellowstone Corridor was attempting to have the brackets fabricated in Montana at a reasonable cost and the have banners in place by the summer of 2004. Mr. Blackwood suggested that interested groups contact Jeff Dietz or Walt Marten.

VIII. Discovery Expedition of St. Charles & Local Re-enactment Groups

Mr. Blackwood reported on an e-mail he received that contained a newspaper article in which the Discovery Expedition of St. Charles was named as the official re-enactors for the Bicentennial. He reiterated that they are not the “official” re-enactors group, and have not been sanctioned by the National Council. They are making many appearances along the Trail and are receiving a lot of press. He referred people to the flyer in the conference Resource Directory that contained contact information for the St. Charles group. Mr. Blackwood said he understood they were planning to be in Montana in 2005, but did not know of their plans for 2006. In an effort to avoid conflicts with local re-enactor groups, he urged groups who were interested in involving the St. Charles group to be pro-active in contacting them. Mr. Blackwood explained that planners of the Explore! The Big Sky signature event looked at this potential conflicting situation, and brought it to the state Commission’s attention. The Commission passed a motion that said the local organizing groups for the signature events were in charge of their own destiny. This helped the Explore! The Big Sky organization then designate by resolution that the L&C Honor Guard as their primary re-enactors group, which would help clarify the role of the St. Charles Group. Ms. Weber reported that at the Pittsburgh event they ended up with two keelboats and two Lewis’s. Dick Fichtler reported that his attempts to contact the St. Charles group had been unsuccessful. He explained that the Great Falls Signature Event planners and the L&C Honor Guard discussed that the Honor Guard would take the lead on re-enactments and would send out a call to all other re-enactor’s groups welcoming their participation, but stating the need to coordinate their participation with the L&C Honor Guard. Ms. Weber said that every other re-enactor’s group contacted had agreed to work closely with the planners, with the exception of the St. Charles group. Mike Casler reported that a member of the St. Charles group came through Fort Union this past summer and informed him they were the “official” re-enactors for the Bicentennial. Mr. Blackwood said the situation would be monitored over the next few months.

X. Bicentennial Geodetic Marker Program

Mr. Blackwood recapped his comments from a couple of meetings back related to the “Bicentennial Marker” program. At that time it was his understanding that communities interested in receiving a marker could apply and receive one. It was now his understanding that the National Park Service had taken this program over and there would only be 2 or 3 markers available for Montana. He referred people to Laurie Heupel, coordinator for the U.S. geodetic marker program, (406) 727-8733 and noted that Livingston had already been chosen as one of Montana’s sites.

XI. General Discussion

Mr. Blackwood revisited plans the Fall Conference, noting that the Commission had discussed the possibility of an expanded fall commission meeting, with a full-day state commission meeting, and a dinner. There would be no registration, but attendees would be asked to pay for their meals. The second day would include Corridor Sharing Sessions, and possibly a two-hour Talent Showcase, where 6-8 performers/ presenters would have 15 minutes each to perform a “showcase” of their presentation. This would be similar to what was done at the April National Council meeting in Great Falls, and would provide attendees the opportunity to view performances in preparation for booking talent for both local events as well as for the Tent of Many Voices for Corps II in 2005 and 2006. He asked people to provide input on the Conference Evaluation Form.

Mr. Kubick asked why the Commission charged RBC and Tribal reps a conference fee, because they ultimately paid the bill anyway through the O&P grants. Mr. Blackwood asked how many people would attend on Thursday and Friday if they had to pay their own way, and a few indicated they would. He said he did not know how many attendees were traveling on their own funds. Mr. Martin said he was losing 3 days of pay to attend the conference, and the small amount of reimbursement received did not cover the lost wages. Mr. Blackwood said he felt the Commission was on the right track with the O&P funds. He explained that in past years the Conference budget ended in the black; however, this year the attendance was down and this was the first time the budget would end up in the red. He asked if holding the Conference on different days of the week would increase attendance. After polling the audience regarding various combinations, it appeared that the current Wednesday through Friday afternoon schedule was still the best for the majority.

Mr. Blackwood encouraged groups to schedule community open houses, and make connections with chambers of commerce, interest groups, downtown business associations, etc. and engage them with local L&C Bicentennial planning. He cited as an example the Open House held by the L&C Co. Bicentennial Commission.

Mr. Marten asked about the grant opportunity that provided a stipend to re-enactors involved in annual events. He said the Crow participate in their annual re-enactment and their budget is not large enough to accommodate the annual payment; therefore, he was seeking a source of funds to pay performers. Ms. Cortright suggested applying through the Commission’s Project Grant. Mr. Blackwood agreed and noted the grants are awarded annually, for an 18-month period and groups would have to reapply annually for funding. Ms. Stone asked if the NPS CCS grant to the Montana Committee for the Humanities could provide funding and asked for a recap of the presentations funded by the grant. Clint Brown stated the tribes needed to work with the corridors, and community planners needed to begin now to plan with the tribes’ tourism contacts for Native American involvement. He urged contact through the MTTA. Mr. Blackwood introduced Dyani Bingham, coordinator for MTTA, a group represented by all 7 Montana reservations and the Little Shell Tribe. Ms. Bingham’s phone number in Billings is (406) 259-4600. Ms. Weber spoke about the effectiveness of MTTA and their cooperative efforts to put on the Lewis & Clark Festival in Great Falls this past June.

Mr. Blackwood noted the requirement in the O&P Grants that groups are to share their meeting minutes with the state Commission office. Electronic submission facilitates the posting of minutes directly onto the Commission’s web site. He expressed his desire to attend one or two meetings annually of each of the RBCs. Regarding informational updates, he explained the newsletter is printed three times annually, and the e-mail list serve is available for anyone who enters their e-mail address through the website. He offered the list serve as a means of distributing regional information.

Ms. Weber announced that the Guide Training scheduled next week had been cancelled due to low registration numbers. She asked for feedback from the tribes and RBC contacts regarding whether the Interpretive Center should offer future training opportunities. She also suggested holding the training at locations other than in Great Falls to accommodate participants, noting this would require more funding from the state Commission or possibly through a NPS CCS grant.

The next RBC meeting was scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 9, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. in Great Falls, prior to the Commission’s meeting on Feb. 10. Mr. Blackwood encouraged everyone to attend the 8:30 a.m. Commission meeting tomorrow and the MTTA encampment at Symms Park following the Thursday conference segments. He thanked John Langenheim and the Ambassadors once again for their sponsorship and asked conference attendees to provide comments on the Conference Evaluation Form.

The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.

 

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