Dave Borlaug, center, a board member of the Lewis & Clark Fort Mandan Foundation, speaks about the partnership between the state of North Dakota and the foundation on Wednesday at the state Capitol in Bismarck. At left is Gov. Doug Burgum and at right is foundation board member Kari Cutting.

A local foundation is transferring a nearly $700,000 trust fund to the state of North Dakota to provide maintenance costs for the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Washburn.

Gov. Doug Burgum joined with Lewis and Clark Fort Mandan Foundation leaders and the head of the North Dakota Department of Parks and Recreation on Wednesday to announce the transfer of the $684,219 trust to the state.

“It’s an important part of what we are,” Burgum said of historical items housed at the site, which the state acquired in 2015 and approved an expenditure of $3 million to take over the interpretive center’s operations and assets. A total of $2.05 million had been for the assets and $950,000 for operations during the 2015-17 biennium.

The action was taken after the foundation was experiencing difficulties in raising enough money to cover the cost of operations as well as for the paying off of loans for the existing facility.

“It’s another chapter in the continuing story,” Burgum said of the upkeep of the facility.

Lewis and Clark Fort Mandan Foundation President David Borlaug said it would take about 5 percent of the trust per year for upkeep of the site. Between trust earnings and potential fundraising, the trust should be able to allow for long-term maintenance of the site, he said.

Borlaug downplayed questions over the fact that a number of historic sites across the state lose money most years, saying their purpose isn’t for profit.

“Historic sites … are to tell a rich story,” Borlaug said.

More information on the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center can be found at www.parkrec.nd.gov/parks/lcic/lcic.html.

(Reach Nick Smith at 701-250-8255 or 701-223-8482 or at nick.smith@bismarcktribune.com.)