You can make a choice to sell off timber, or create mines, or dredge new routes for commerce, or dam rivers in such a place, but you are making a trade, and it is a trade that has already been made, with little debate, across the vast majority of the American landscape. In some cases--Sacramento, Seattle--that trade makes sense, at least in the short term. Here in the Tongass National Forest, there's an opportunity to actually evaluate the trade before we make it, and determine what economy really is--money-losing timber sales (it costs the U.S. taxpayer an estimated $100 per tree to log here, with most of the raw materials going to South Korea and other Asian ports) in a remote region, a kind of Soviet-style state-supported economy that supplies jobs and creates isolated artificial population centers while sacrificing the inherently stable economy provided by the fish and by smaller-scale logging and milling operations that keep more cash on American soil. Even the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the parent agency of the U.S. Forest Service itself, so long the champion of massive logging here, has announced a departure from the wholesale clearcutting that was the norm from the 1940s when the Tongass produced 2 billion board feet of timber, through the 1960s when it produced 10 billion board feet and was expected to produce 450 million board feet for eternity to support the industry's plans for the region. Such numbers come at a cost, and waters and fisheries of southeast Alaska have paid it, and continue to do so.