Those of us who live on the Peninsula have an opportunity to help ourselves for many years to come. It all depends on what we do this spring. As almost every Peninsula resident knows, this year, 2005, is the bicentennial anniversary of Lewis and Clark's historic visit. This year's tourist season could be quite busy (and profitable). We are also going to enjoy a "Signature Event" in early November which may also bring in tourists. What an opportunity!

It is a fact: if tourists like a place, they will return to it year after year. So, if we make the Peninsula attractive and friendly, this year's tourists will return to spend more money here next year. To do this, we must put ourselves in tourists' shoes and think about what they would like. (Incidentally, most changes would be enjoyed by residents as well.)

One way to take advantage of this fortunate opportunity is to concentrate on historic buildings. For each building constructed before 1920, we could have a plaque describing when it was built, by whom, what families have lived there, and any interesting stories. Those historic buildings that need to be painted could be repainted in their original colors. We could even have maps in each town showing routes for viewing these historic buildings. I know this is a dream. If we all work together, we can do it. We will need to work quickly to get them all painted this spring.

Another attraction could be people demonstrating how things used to be done. They could demonstrate knot tying, weaving fishing nets, cranberry recipes, native dances, among other things. Tourists could buy trinkets at these booths, thus giving us more income.

Most importantly, we must be friendly. Last year I heard complaints that Long Beach was too commercialized and some store personnel were rude. That does not make tourists want to come back. Please, if we all make an effort to be friendly and polite, it will benefit us all in the long run. Not only will tourists be more likely to return, living here will be more pleasant, too.

Please, let us pounce upon this fortunate opportunity to benefit ourselves, both this summer and in the future, too. Let's make the Peninsula both friendlier and more attractive so we can be proud of where we live and tourists will want to come back.

Nancy Bradbee

Ilwaco

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