Greetings Friends and Partners,
We hope you had a cheerful holiday season and are as excited as we are about the new year! The Sacajawea Center had a rousing 2015 and we would like to share some of the highlights with you as well as our plans for the coming year.
Two-thousand fifteen was a year filled with updates that are spilling over into 2016. The Center updated its children’s handouts, turning them into a booklet for visitors to take with them. We received generous funding from the Idaho Community Foundation to print more copies of this booklet as well as to replace two of our interpretive signs that have been damaged by the elements. Funding from the City of Salmon’s Local Option Tax was approved to be used to update signage onsite to improve visitor wayfinding. We expect all of these projects to be completed by mid-2016.
In June we kicked off the busy season by partnering with the Salmon Arts Council and the Lemhi County Historical Society to celebrate Lemhi County History Month with four programs about the history of mining in the area. Topics included local geology, Chinese mining in Idaho, and a field trip to the town site of Leesburg, one of the first gold mines in the county. We always enjoy collaborating with other local organizations to create learning opportunities and the programs were engaging and well attended.
We were able to host one intern during our summer season. D’Arcy Ellis joined us from Salish-Kootenai Collegein Pablo, Montana where she is studying Tribal Historic Preservation. Her love of beading and crafting as well as her interest in our local history was a welcome addition to our team.
The Salmon Outdoor School spent every Thursday throughout the season working on making site improvements. After over ten years, the site needed some TLC and got it! Projects included rebuilding the earthen oven, renovating the archaeological dig, building benches, rebuilding the cattail mat shelter, and revamping the fire pits.
Agai’dika Heritage Days was again a success with many tribal members joining us over the weekend. We also had the participation of the BLM, Backcountry Horsemen, and the local spinners and weavers who were all outstanding additions to our Saturday festivities. The Outdoor School counted over 450 visitors throughout the weekend.
At the end of August a group from the Road Scholar/Elfun Society program joined us for a week to tackle a number of projects. Sixteen volunteers repainted rocks along our Trail of Many Thanks, replaced boardwalk rails, put in a new pathway to Sacajawea, pruned, weeded, installed a new gutter on the garage, painted, repainted, created a seating area under the Learning Center deck, and built shutters and a door for the Kilpatrick cabin. Some of those in the program had participated in previous Elder Hostel (now Road Scholar) programs at the Center five or more years ago. It was a rewarding, exhausting, successful week and we hope to plan a similar program for 2017.
For the 2015 season we had 11 docents sign up to volunteer in the Interpretive Center. They are such an important part of our visitor’s experience and we are ever grateful for their time, interest, and hospitality in presenting the story of Lewis and Clark each week to new people. In the fall we took an appreciation road trip to Red Lodge, Montana where we got to experience the interpretation of the Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary.
In October, the Idaho Governor’s Lewis and Clark Trail Committee informed the Center that we had received funding to improve the entrance sign to the Center and to work on adding additional highway signs for better visibility. We are eager to make these improvements and anticipate the completed project will have an incredible impact on our roadside intrigue.
Also in October, the City’s Public Works department began installing two RV pads onsite with full hookups. We are very excited about the opportunities they will create for RV Volunteers to join us for a season. So far we have had great response from interested couples and individuals who travel the country volunteering on public lands.
We are saying, “Happy Trails!” to Lewis and Clark scholar, Mike Crosby, who has decided it’s time to go on some of his own adventures. We will miss his expansive knowledge about the Expedition and his engaging interpretive talks in the Meriwether Theater. We wish him all the best in his re-retirement and thank him for his service over the years.
We invite you to join us during our 2016 season beginning May 30th, Memorial Day for another action packed summer. We are currently working to solidify programs and plan to have our summer schedule available in the next month.
Wishing you all the best in the coming year,