Our Discover New Hampshire section in the Sunday News earlier this week reminded us of how important tourism is to our economy and how first-class much of it is.

A culture doesn’t pop up fully developed and mature. It is ingrained, built up piece-by-piece from the earliest tourism pioneers (genuine pioneers such as Ethan Allen Crawford and Dolly Copp when the North Country was a wild and challenging place.)

“Classic Granite State attractions” was the theme of this particular vacation guide (the second this year) and its subject stories reminded us of how long and how well these businesses have been run and how they have contributed to our state.

We’re thinking here of Clark’s Bears of Lincoln, the Casino Ballroom in Hampton, and the Conway Scenic Railroad in North Conway. (And that’s just the ones that start with a “C.”)

There is also the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen’s annual fair, which begins at Mount Sunapee this Saturday and runs through August 11.

Tourists from other states and other lands come to New Hampshire for many reasons. Granite Staters shouldn’t miss what is right in front of us. Think Story Land and Santa’s Village, the Mount Washington Auto Road and Cog Railway, the Appalachian Mountain Club trails from easy to expert.

Our tourism culture has also been more often helped, not hindered, by a state government tourism agency that understands tourism’s importance. The fact that our government is small, relative to other states, is not to be overlooked here. Tourism is a difficult, seasonal business and it doesn’t mesh well with a top-heavy state bureaucracy.

Granite Staters should neither forget how important tourism is to New Hampshire; nor should we let all of its options be enjoyed only by visitors. We have a heck of a back yard, Take some time this year to enjoy it.