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One of Idaho’s industries hardest hit by the recent housing boom and bust is forest products.According to the U.S. Forest Service, the timber harvest from Idaho national forests dropped from 172 million board feet in 1999 to 121.2 million board feet in 2008.The Idaho Division of Financial Management’s 2011 economic forecast reported there are about half as many mills in the inland region as there were 20 years ago.Still, the report projects growth in the industry over the next few years.“Idaho lumber and wood products employment hit a trough of 5,700 jobs in 2010 which was about 40 percent below its 2006 peak of 10,000 jobs. It’s projected to grow each year of the forecast, but it’s not fast enough to top the previous peak.” - DFMThe Division of Financial Management believes an increase in housing starts will help fuel a mild recovery in wood production.

Map: Forest-Heavy Idaho Counties Take $26 Million Hit Without 'Secure Rural Schools'

Congress let the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act expire in the fall of 2014, leaving Idaho counties and school districts with $26 million less than expected.

Idaho counties will bear the brunt of this loss. Seventy percent of Secure Rural Schools money goes to counties for things like road maintenance. Thirty percent goes to school districts.

Data from the Idaho Association of Counties shows Idaho County will lose more money than any other county, nearly $7.3 million.

Several other Idaho counties will lose more than a million dollars. That includes Boundary, Clearwater, Custer, Lemhi, Shoshone, and Valley.

Click around the map to see the payments counties had expected to receive under Secure Rural Schools, and how much they'll actually receive if the program isn't reauthorized.

Data: Idaho Association of Counties, Idaho Dept. of Labor | Map: Emilie Ritter Saunders

First approved by Congress in 2000, the Secure Rural Schools act pays counties that have a lot of federal timber land. That land isn’t taxable, you can’t develop it – and resource and recreation opportunities are restricted.

Now, federal-land-heavy counties will get just a fraction of what they’d planned on. Instead of the enhanced timber payments under Secure Rural Schools, counties will see 25 percent of the money made on federal timber harvests.

U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, has joined with a bipartisan group of lawmakers to reauthorize the payment program, and fully fund a separate support system called Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT).

"I believe Secure Rural Schools funding will be needed as long as we don’t provide a way for revenue from the federal lands, to be shared with the counties, where the impacts are so high," Crapo says.

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