By Crystal Thompson
The 2001 Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Training Academy held a workshop Thursday titled "Stewardship and Use along the Lewis and Clark Trail" at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Great Falls.
The workshop was one of several educational classes being held throughout the year to prepare Montana for the 2003-2006 Lewis and Clark bicentennial celebration. Workshops range from information for educators to ideas for starting up Lewis and Clark events and activities in rural communities.
Thursday's workshop focused on being good stewards of the land while the influx of tourists expected during the bicentennial make their way through points along the Lewis and Clark trail and throughout local Montana cities, towns and backyards. The workshop was geared towards anyone helping visitors access portions of the Lewis and Clark trail. Private citizens and volunteers, landowners and members of the Bureau of Land Management and the US Forest Service were present at the workshop.
Featured speakers included Margaret Gorski of the USDA Regional Office; Jeffrey Olson, of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation; Sandra Padilla, BLM Ranger, Upper Missouri and Tom Alt, USFS Volunteer, Custer National Forest. Sue Buchel of the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center headed up the class.
Those present agreed that local education and interpretation is key in making the Lewis and Clark bicentennial a success throughout Montana. Inventories are currently being taken and groups are being formed to create and maintain local bicentennial projects. It was agreed that a lot of work and cooperation will be needed between the communities; local, state and federal governments; private landowners and citizen/volunteer groups of Montana to make the bicentennial a success. With strong planning and cooperation, steps are already being made to reap the benefits of increased tourism in 2003-2006, while maintaining the natural beauty of the Lewis and Clark Trail.