Foundation gives state control of endowment to maintain Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 - 12:00pm

BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum today thanked the Lewis & Clark Fort Mandan Foundation for transferring control of a nearly $700,000 endowment trust to the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department to support ongoing maintenance of the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center in Washburn.

The interpretive center, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary in June, was built with federal and state funds and is owned by the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department. The foundation raised private funds for the facility and operated it until May 2015, when the department bought the facility’s art, artifacts and other assets for $2.1 million and assumed operations of it.

Today’s transfer will allow the Parks and Recreation Department to use the endowment’s earnings to cover maintenance costs for the interpretive center.

“We are deeply grateful for the foundation’s generosity and commitment to maintaining this showcase of North Dakota’s key role in the famous Lewis and Clark expedition that helped shape American history and opened the gateway to the West,” Burgum said. “This partnership is a prime example of how the public and private sectors can work together on attractions that create vibrant communities and make North Dakota a destination state.”

The foundation continues its financial support of the interpretive center and nearby Fort Mandan historic site, with more than $100,000 budgeted for 2017 to fund exhibits, programming and other enhancements not covered by the department’s state appropriation.

“Our board is pleased to offer this endowment to support this fine facility for years to come, giving thousands of visitors per year a window into North Dakota’s rich cultural heritage,” said Kari Cutting, who chairs the foundation’s board of directors.

“The Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center creates exceptional experiences for visitors to connect with North Dakota history,” said Melissa Baker, director of the Parks and Recreation Department. “We are thankful to the foundation for its continued dedication to the center and its commitment to serving the citizens of North Dakota and the Washburn community."