liquidated the timber resources of IslandnPark. Their justification was a pine barknbeetle infestation. The Forest Servicendeviated from a stated policy of sustainednyields and increased timber harvestnlevels to upwards of 76 millionnboard feet of timber per year—levelsnfar in excess of what the area can grownon a sustained basis. And as clear-cutnareas grew, the micro-climate of thenarea changed.nThe trees of the entire Island Parknarea east of the Snake River and up tonthe Yellowstone Park boundary havenbeen liquidated. One result has been angreat decline in the wildlife population.nFremont County once had the longestncontinuous elk hunting season in Idaho.nFor a hundred years this elk hunt wasncharacterized by trophy bulls andnhealthy cows. As clearcutting swept thenarea, the season was shortened. Then,nas logging continued, the harvesting ofncow elk was prohibited. What had beenna 44-day hunting season in the 1960’snhas become a five-day hunt for bullsnonly, with a disproportionate share ofnthose bulls being less than breeding age.nAs logging draws to a close, even thesenrestrictions may be inadequate. Thenbull-to-cow ratio, which measures overallnpopulation health, continues to decline.nThere are, essentially, no residentnherds in the Island Park area. The elknbeing shot are migrants from YellowstonenPark.nTrees grow best in warm, moist placesnwith low elevations and long growingnseasons. Island Park, however, is at anhigh elevation characterized by hot, dry,nshort summers and long cold winters.nThere is little that can be done tonstimulate the low timber productivity ofnthe Targhee National Forest, or, for thatnmatter, of any forest in the Yellowstonenregion.nThe excessive timber harvest in IslandnPark has severely depressed thenecological values of the whole area.nWhile it provided a short-term boost inntimber jobs, the long-term economicnbase of many of the county’s residentsnhas been harmed. The artificial twentymillion-doUar-per-yearntimber industrynnow faces collapse. By accessing increasinglynmarginal timber and acceptingngreater environmental damage. IslandnPark’s two major mills can remainnin operation for a few more years. Thenstud mill in St. Anthony, which consumednlodgepole pine at a voraciousnrate to make 2×4’s, is likely to closenwithin the year. The major dimensionnlumber mill in Rexburg, 15 miles farthernsouth, has only a few more years tongo. Likewise, continued emphasis onnlarge mills could doom the far morenlabor intensive house log industry andnsmaller mills of the area.nIf the region is to prosper, otherneconomic activities must be pursued.nFortunately, the expanding interestnAmericans have in high quality naturalnenvironments and outdoor recreationnprovides a potential economic opportunity.nNearby West Yellowstone, Montana,nhas a history similar to IslandnPark’s, but enjoys prosperity based uponnthe natural environment. This successnstory provides both hope and a modelnfor applying restoration ecology.nStarting just after Worid War II andnthrough the late 1960’s, West Yellowstone’sneconomy was dominated byntimber. Unprocessed logs were shippednas far as the upper Midwest to be madeninto paper. But as in the Island Parknarea, the extensive timber harvests couldnnot be sustained. When a local mill wasnconsumed by fire, the company decidednagainst rebuilding, at least partially becausenof the inadequacy of the longtermntimber supply.nToday, West Yellowstone has largelynabandoned timber as a base for itsneconomy. The community has found itncan prosper by emphasizing resourcenprotection, rather than resource extraction.nWest Yellowstone has become a successfulngateway community to YellowstonenPark as well as a recreationalncenter in its own right. The area hasncapitalized on the growing enthusiasmnof Americans for wild trout by becomingna worid-class center for fly-fishing.nRecently the North American TroutnFoundation moved its headquarters tonWest Yellowstone, drawing thousandsnof anglers to its annual convention. Innthe winter thousands more visit the areanto go snowmobiling and cross-countrynskiing. The American Dog Derby racesnheld in Ashton from 1921 through thenlate 1940’s have moved to West Yellowstone.nThese activities have given it onenof the most robust economies in thenregion.nTherein lies the economic opportunitynfor Island Park and adjacent areas.nThe rapidly changing cultural and economicntrends in America that havennnhelped West Yellowstone can also helpnsouthern Idaho. As Americans becomenincreasingly concerned about the qualitynof their environment, their appireciationngrows for places where the naturalnenvironment is healthy and intact. EasternnIdaho offers numerous opportunitiesnto meet this growing interest. Butnthe ecological restoration of Island Parknis critical to its transition to a sustainablenand environmentally protective economy.nTo be effective, environmental restorationnefforts must link ecological concernsnwith appropriate incentives. Thenbifurcated management of the ForestnService and the National Park Servicenhas threatened both the environmentnand the economic health of the region.nIn addition, federal land managementnallows little meaningful local involvementnin decisions affecting both thenecological and the economic health ofnthe region.nCurrent federal land management isnbased upon political calculations decouplednfrom any long-term considerations.nWe need new institutional arrangementsnproviding strong incentivesnto act responsibly towards the environmentnwhile pursuing economic interests.nBusinesses that depend upon scenicnbeauty, wildlife, and clean air andnwater are more likely to consider thenshort- and the long-term effects on thenregion’s ecological resources than arenfederal agencies that depend upon congressionalnappropriations.nWith the proper type of stewardshipnarrangements, even mining, extraction,nenergy, and timber harvests can benmade compatible with the long-termnmaintenance of environmental quality.nSuch a stewardship must recognize thatndecisions made in a political arena farnremoved from the region tend to benmade in accord with political expediencenand perceived acceptability. Thusnpolitical decisions fail to consider eithernthe ecological or economic considerationsncritical to long-term vitality of anregion. We must remove managementndecisions from the realm of specialninterest politics, with its inherent biasntoward the short term.nOne such management solution fornthe Island Park area is the creation ofnthe Island Park Ecological EndowmentnBoard. The proposed Ecological EndowmentnBoard is a public, nonprofitncorporation with a trustee responsibilitynFEBRUARY 1991/45n