Conservationists can find little immediate reason to be encouraged by the appointment of Walter Hickel as Secretary of the Interior. Most of the men who had been mentioned as prospects for the post had had some association with efforts to conserve the open spaces that have helped make and keep America an open society. Mr. Hickel's major interest in American land so far has been that of a real-estate developer, a builder of subdivisions.
" Mr. Hickel is a very strong personality," says Robert Weeden, president of the Alaska Conservation Society, "and he could be a very effective voice for conservation if he wanted to be. However, if a conflict arose between conservation and economic interests, I think he would definitely favor the economic interest. On the local scene, for example, he was an active proponent of Rampart Dam."
However, it may well be that Mr. Hickel has an abiding love for the unspoiled kind of land—Alaska, in his case—in which a penniless young man, such as he once was, can discover himself. The Senate, before it confirms Mr. Hickel's appointment, will presumably want to be assured that he does have such a feeling and intends to act upon it.
IMPROVES WITH AGE
Strat-O-Matic Pro Football, a new board game, is available to Christmas-shopping followers of either professional league. The NFL set costs $11, the AFL set $7.50.
EVEN THE LOWLIEST
In the "Dogs and Other Pets" ads in The New York Times last week, there were the following seasonal offers: "Collie Pups AKC, Ready for Christmas"; "English Springer Spaniel Pups, Just in Time for Christmas"; "German Shepherd Puppies, Reserve Now for Xmas"; "Labrador Retrievers, Will Hold Until Christmas"; "For a wonderful Christmas gift, buy your child something extraordinary, buy a Hungarian Puli, the most lovable and intelligent dog you can buy"—and, finally, right down at the end, "DONKEY—Animal of Christmas. Dear little donkey, all shaggy and brown. 201-879-5806."
The donkey's name, we have learned, is Napoleon. He is 8 years old, 36 inches high and a full-blooded Sicilian, lives in Chester, N.J., loves children, requires only a windbreak by way of shelter, eats a bale of good timothy a week and is for sale for about $500.
Oakland Oaks Coach Alex Hannum has confirmed speculation that the American Basketball Association as a whole will try to buy Lew Alcindor when he graduates from UCLA.