Private corridors outdoors

NOT every American has a Camp David - or even just a pocket of land, woods, or fields in a natural state - to which he can repair. The best we often can do is look out the window at the branches of a tree when the leaves are down, to restore our sensitivity to order and revive our inner calm.

Given such feelings, Americans look forward to a report by the President's Commission on Americans Outdoors, due later this year.

The commission will recommend spending a minimum of $1 billion by federal, state, and local governments each year to acquire and develop open spaces. Green corridors through urban areas, sometimes along waterways, would be created. A trust fund would be financed from sources like offshore and onshore oil drilling leases, summer gasoline taxes, and the sale of special federal ``national heritage'' bonds.

The President, too, would be asked to promote an ``outdoors ethic'' - possibly making it a theme of his January State of the Union message.

No, we do not all have presidential retreats for our weekends, to get back in touch with the basic forces of growth, of wind, vegetation, and water, free of man's manipulation.

But we do sometimes want to live at the margins of civilization, not buried in urban sprawl.

A supportive response by the President to his own commission's report will enable more Americans to satisfy this appetite for the natural outdoors.

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