Wind rustles through the pines, jostling loose another load of freshly fallen snow.

Never mind the fire burns bright, and tomorrow will bring another day of skiing at Anthony Lakes, snowmobiling between Sumpter and Granite, or just sitting tight feeling calm and serene.

And free.

My, how war times have changed.

Two generations ago, Americans were urged to conserve resources for the war effort.

Today, our leaders are urging us to travel and spend.


Against a backdrop of shaken consumer confidence and urgent pleas for us to go about our shopping and consuming as usual, someone hatched the idea of a new sort of freedom ride.

Over 900 Oregonians flew to New York City recently in an effort to show air travel remains safe and to pump tourist dollars into the Big Apple.

If some folks remain a little uncertain about flying, however, they still can benefit our economy and their own tattered nerves with a little travel.

Baker City and other Eastern Oregon communities must seize on this opportunity to extend an invitation to our Western Oregon neighbors to join us this fall and winter for a little Randamp;R.

Nothing disolves the bunker mentality like a trip out of the city and into the idyllic wilds of rural Oregon.

Call it healing by tourism a change of scenery for the tourist, and a much-needed injection of cash into our economy.

In the words of former-Governor Tom McCall, Please come to visit, but dont stay.

That way, you can come again next year.

This is a moment to extend the red carpet. The Visitor and Convention Bureau and Chamber of Commerce are only freshly joined as Baker Community Marketing, but a trial by fire could be the best galvanizing measure for that fledgling enterprise.

If a publicity stunt like flying to New York City can capture the attention of television and print media, why not an invitation to join us for the holidays?

From the high tea at the Oregon Trail Center to the historic homes tour, the passing of the Olympic torch in January and our own parade of lights and community tree lighting there will be plenty to entertain visitors this holiday season.

Lets send a Christmas card to the state of Oregon.

Dear Oregon: Pile the family in your 0-percent financed new car, fill your gas tank with un-profiteered unleaded, and head East.

Wed love to remind you about all that is good and right with the world.

Because its right here in your own backyard.