Integrated economic and ecologic modeling systems can yield more precise predictions about the underlying physical system and the risks imposed to humans and the environment. But do more accurate risk assessments matter for environmental policy that is in part influenced by the consumers of this physical system? Herein we discuss a situation within the crown jewel of the US national park system in which the answer is no. For endangered cutthroat trout populations threatened by the invasion of exotic lake trout in Yellowstone Lake, if one accounts for the preferences of the average visitor, the optimal policy can be bluntly summarized as "fix the roads, forget the fish." To reverse this outcome, the typical visitor to the Park would have to be more forward-thinking and more generous toward a species that she would never see.
©2011 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston