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VACATIONING PRESIDENT ENJOYS GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY

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Publicly ignoring the Republican hoopla in San Diego, President Clinton is visiting Yellowstone National Park to announce a deal to halt a planned gold mine and prevent the pollution some fear would result.

While his political foes polished their oratory at the GOP's nominating convention, Clinton on Monday was taking the kind of action only a president can take - disclosing the successful end of the gold mine talks.In the year since Clinton's last vacation in this scenic mountain resort, federal officials and executives of the proposed New World Mine reportedly have agreed to a land swap that would bar mining near Yellowstone, the crown jewel in the national park system about 100 miles north of Jackson.

Opponents say toxic waste from the mining process could pollute the water supply of the park, harming fish and other wildlife.

Administration officials said Crown Butte, the mine's owner, agreed to negotiate with the government for up to an additional year to determine exactly what land it gets.

Clinton, his wife, Hillary, and their 16-year-old daughter, Chelsea, planned to hike at Yellowstone after the president's announcement at the park.

Until now, Clinton has kept a low profile at the 400-acre spread that is his vacation headquarters. After church Sunday, he and Chelsea spent part of the afternoon horseback riding and he later dipped into his current book.

During the evening, the family dined at the Mountain High Pizza Pie restaurant, then caught the 9:30 p.m. showing of the movie "A Time to Kill" at a nearby theater. The restaurant was sandwiched between stores offering "whitewater river trips" and "whitewater photos and videos."

Unlike his Jackson Hole vacation a year ago, the president, an avid golfer, has yet to tee up after arriving Friday.

"He'll be out (golfing) later this week," said White House spokeswoman Mary Ellen Glynn. "But he has had a pretty busy summer, so he wants to spend some time with his family."

Clinton said he won't let the Republican National Convention, at which Bob Dole will officially become his November opponent, interrupt his vacation plans.

In an interview with Copley News Service, Clinton said: "I'm not going to watch it because I'm going to be on vacation and I need the time to vacate, to rest. I may watch some of it, but I'm not going to sit glued to the tube."