We’re Rich! (In Nature.)


AT a time when Americans fret about terrorism and war and are afflicted by the worst economic downturn in 70 years, let’s embrace a remarkable treasure possessed by every citizen of our country.

It doesn’t count in our net worth, but its value is incalculable: our national parks, national forests and other public lands. I spent a chunk of the summer doing some ultralight backpacking along the Pacific Crest Trail out West — my ambition when I grow up is to hike the full length of the trail, from Mexico to Canada — and the trip allowed my family to relish some of America’s finest real estate, without spending a dime.