USFS seeks director for Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center

October 4, 2010



Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center

Interpretive Center Director – GS-401-12
Lewis and Clark National Forest
Great Falls, MT


Position: The Lewis & Clark National Forest will soon be advertising to fill the Center Director position for the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center. This position is located at the Interpretive Center complex, in Great Falls, Montana, and will report to the Forest Supervisor of the Lewis and Clark National Forest.

Summary of Major Duties: The Center Director develops, promotes and guides the implementation of short and long term goals, objectives and plans for the major areas of the Interpretive Center complex operations, including: interpretive activities, visitor protection, cultural and natural resources management, program budgeting, supervision and administration. Public relations is a major component of this position. The Center Director is responsible for building and maintaining partnerships and relationships with national, state, and local cooperators and organizations as well as working with tribal organizations and international museums that are actively involved with promoting and interpreting the messages and stories at the center. Additionally, the Center Director provides overall guidance and direction for the environmental and conservation education messages that are becoming a popular and growing part of the comprehensive program at the center.

Strong interpersonal and communication skills, creativity, innovative thinking, and the ability to work effectively in a team environment are essential. Since the Center Director is often a spokesperson for the center with the local and national media, confidence and experience in public speaking is critical. Also, the ability to work with a diverse group of volunteers is essential to the success of the position.

For more information, contact Spike Thompson, Forest Supervisor, in the Lewis and Clark Supervisor’s Office at 406-791-7700 or Elizabeth Casselli, Interim Director at the Interpretive Center at 406-453-6170.

Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center Mission: The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center imparts to the public a personal sense of President Thomas Jefferson's vision of expanding America to the west; it inspires awe and awakens curiosity toward the challenges faced by the expedition as they portage the Great Falls of the Missouri River and explored the “unknown;” brings to life the daily experiences of the expedition and its impact upon the environment and native peoples of the “uncharted west;” and celebrates the indomitable spirit of human discovery.

Information on the Facility: The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center is located on the bluffs of the Missouri River within the boundaries of Giant Springs Heritage State Park, great Falls, Montana. The Interpretive Center is operated by the USDA Forest Service.

The facility is eleven years old, having opened on May 5, 1998. Summer hours (Memorial Day weekend through September 30) are daily from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; off-season hours (October 1 until Memorial Day weekend) are Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Sundays from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Center is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years day. On average 60,000 people visit the facility annually; of this number approximately 5,000 are visiting school children.

The 25,000 square foot Interpretive Center includes a self-guided 5,500 square foot exhibit hall; 158-seat theater with two introductory programs; classroom; outdoor interpretive trails, overlook, and amphitheater. A two-mile trail to the historic Sulphur Springs is managed by the Interpretive Center staff. Exhibits feature the story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, their interactions with the many Indian tribes they befriended along the way, and the natural history documented in their journals. Interpretive programming is a combination of guided tours, impromptu talks, guided hikes, cultural and historic demonstrations and first-person character living history presentations.

Throughout the school year, education programming offers standardized cultural history programs and guided tours for K-12 audiences from across the state of Montana. Additionally, staff partners with the Great Falls Public Schools for two programs: “More Kids in the Woods” provides every 5th grade student in the district the opportunity to snowshoe on forest land while learning winter ecology; “Field Investigations” engages every 7th and 8th grade student with hands-on, inquiry and place-based science at the center and throughout the community.

Location: The Lewis & Clark NF Supervisor's Office and the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center are located in Great Falls, Montana. There are many recreation facilities located in or around the Great Falls area. They include: public golf courses, parks, tennis parks, swimming pools, racquetball courts, and baseball diamonds to name a few. For those water enthusiasts the Missouri River runs through Great Falls and swimming, fishing, skiing, and boating are all allowed. This is in addition to the many lakes and rivers within an hour's drive.

Two popular ski areas offer alpine skiing on the Forest lands - Teton Pass west of Great Falls and Showdown Winter Sports Area in the Little Belt Mountains southeast of Great Falls. Also, there are developed trails for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling throughout the Forest. There are approximately 1700 miles of roads as well as 1600 miles of non-wilderness and 468 miles of wilderness trails. Seven trails are National Recreation trails.

Area residents have one hospital serving the area with two full service sites. They are Benefis East and Benefis West. This is in addition to the many private physicians and other health care professionals. There are also several retirement homes and community living centers serving the area.

Great Falls offers two high schools, two middle schools and several elementary schools. The school district also offers many programs for students with special needs. Other education offering include private schools, MSU College of Technology, University of Great Falls, and Montana School for the Deaf and Blind. There are also many programs offered through the Montana University System and Malmstrom Air Force base.

Climate: Residents of the Great Falls area enjoy all four seasons. The summer temperatures range from the high 70's to low 80's with some warmer days reaching into the high 90s. The winter temperatures will range in the mid-teens to thirties, with occasional extended temperatures below zero. The average annual precipitation is 13 inches, with the average annual snow being 59 inches. For gardeners the average growing season is 140 days.

Housing: The standard cost of living in the Great Falls area is reasonable. An average three bedroom home will sell between $90,000-$135,000. A 3-bedroom rental unit could also be found for an average of $600/month.

Lewis and Clark National Forest, Locations and Features - The Lewis and Clark National Forest lies in central and north central Montana within the upper Missouri River system. The Forest encompasses portions of thirteen counties.

West of Great Falls, (site of the Interpretive Center) is the Rocky Mountain Division of the Forest. Over 380,000 acres comprises the Bob Marshall-Great Bear-Scapegoat Wilderness Complex. Another 300,000 acres are roadless.

The Jefferson Division sprawls over 1,060,000 acres and six mountain ranges (the Highwoods, Crazies, Little Belts, Castles, and Big and Little Snowies). Timber and grazing are major resources of the Jefferson Division. In fact, this Division supplies almost all (96%) of the timber and most (85%) of range production on the Forest. There are two congressionally designated Wilderness Study areas; one in the Little Belt Mountains and the other in the Big Snowy Mountains.

Wildlife - The Lewis and Clark Forest is home for large game animals, small animals and protected species. Forest visitors can hunt elk, mule and white tail deer, mountain goat, bighorn sheep, black bear, mountain lion, and blue grouse. Protected wildlife living on or near the Forest include bald eagles, grizzly bears, peregrine falcon and gray wolf. The Forest contains many popular viewing sites for migrating waterfowl.

Fisheries - The Forest has 1,600 miles of permanent streams and a few small natural and man-made lakes where forest visitors may fish for trout and mountain whitefish. Included are 14 boat camps and 20 miles of frontage on the Smith River, a nationally acclaimed blue ribbon trout stream. Additionally, over 60 streams are known to support west slope cutthroat trout, an imperiled native fish of the upper Missouri River basin.

Recreation - Recreation opportunities in the Lewis and Clark National Forest's 1.8 million acres are as varied as the landscape and elevation of the Forest itself. The elevation ranges from 4,500 to 9,362 feet at the top of Rocky Mountain Peak in the Rocky Mountains.

The Forest also has 10,730 acres in designated Research Natural Areas - the highest in the Region and contains many scenic drives including the Kings Hill National Scenic Byway - U.S. Highway 89 through the Little Belt Mountains, which is a major route between Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks.

The Lewis and Clark National Forest contains 29 developed recreation sites. Many of these sites are handicap accessible. There are five cabins on the Forest that may be rented by the public on a first come, first served basis.

Timber - Even before the Lewis and Clark Reserve was created in 1897, settlers, ranchers, miners and others looked toward the Forest for a wide variety of wood products including fuel wood, mine timbers, lumber, posts and poles. The first commercial sales occurred in the early 1900s. Since the late 1940s, and average of 14 million board feet of timber has been harvested yearly from the Forest. Today mechanized fallers, bundlers, and forwarders operate on the 15% of the Forest that is suitable for timber harvest. About 1,000 acres are harvested yearly. The Lewis and Clark is recognized for its cost efficient timber program.

Grazing - Over 65,670 animal unit months of domestic livestock grazing are permitted annually to 213 permittees on 176 grazing allotments.

Experimental Forest - The Lewis and Clark Forest is home to the Tenderfoot Creek Experimental Forest, which is the only experimental Forest in the Northern Rockies that represents the lodgepole pine forest type. The 9,125 acre experimental forest is composed primarily of dense mature lodgepole pine stands. This Forest was established for multi-disciplinary research and for demonstration areas which show new land management activities.

Additional Information: For addition information about this position, please contact Spike Thompson at 406-791-7700 or Elizabeth Casselli at 406-453-6170. The vacancy will be posted on the OPM jobs website and can be accessed on the internet at the following address:

November 1, 2010


To complete form, use tab key to move between fields (gray blocks), or left click on any field. Entries in check box fields are made by a single click to select or unselect. Type entries in other fields.
Position Identification
Position Title: Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center Director
Series/Grade: GS-0401-12
Location: Lewis & Clark National Forest, Great Falls, Montana

Applicant Information
E-Mail Address:
Current Title, Series, Grade
Current Organization/Location:
Current Appointment:
Permanent Temporary Term Not Current Employee
If you are NOT a current permanent (career or career conditional) employee, are you eligible to be hired under any of the following authorities:

Disabled Veteran with 30% Compensable Disability
Veteran’s Employment Opportunities Act of 1998
Person With Disabilities
Former Peace Corps Volunteer
Demonstration Project (external
recruitment from the general public)

Position Interest
I would like to be considered for this position in the series identified.

Series currently identified and classified

Other appropriate series for which I am qualified
I would like to be considered for this position at the grade level identified.

Target grade level currently identified.

Other grade level for which I am qualified (below target grade)
I would like to be considered for this position at the location identified (Lewis & Clark Interpretive Ctr)

I wish to be considered for this position(s) as:

Permanent Assignment (lateral/promotion/change to lower grade)

NTE 1 Year Detail or Promotion opportunity

Term Appointment

Applicants May Use This Space to Identify Special Qualifications, Interests, Needs or Provide Other Information:
Please send this completed form to or or fax to 406-453-6157. Thank you for your interest in our vacancies.

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