AWARE to take public stand on Stoltmann While One Whistler reviews an economic study on the impact of creating a national park in the so-called Stoltmann Wilderness Area, the Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment is putting together its own vision for the future of the area. According to AWARE Director Eddie Roberts, the document will recommend extensive conservation in the area to protect the 1,300-year-old Douglas Fir Trees and the indigenous grizzly population. "We’re after protection up there," says Roberts. "What kind of protection we’re not sure. Personally, I’d like to see the logging stopped until we’ve had a chance to sit down and work out the best use of the area, a large part of which is to protect grizzly bear habitat. I don’t feel logging is the best use. "The Elaho Valley is the heart of this area, and supplies connectivity for the grizzlies into key areas in the Lillooet region, if we can get conservation there. These areas could anchor the grizzly populations right down into the Cascades, rather than moving the line of extinction further and further north." In addition to its vision for the Stoltmann, AWARE is also sitting down to develop a vision for itself. "We’ve been looking at our organization — where we’ve come from, what we’ve achieved, where we’re going, and discussing ways to market ourselves better," says Roberts. "We’re going to strip the organization down to its bare bones, with the goal of becoming a lot more involved in the issues affecting the area and the community. It’s healthy to do that now and then. We’ve got a lot of energy happening right now, and we need to make sure it goes to the right places." The AWARE report is due out at the end of March, hopefully coinciding with the general release of the economic study. "Speaking for myself, I’d like to see the area protected as a Class A provincial park. Others would like to see it as a national park, and I think it’s safe to say we support that, too. The key is to get the logging to stop. Every tree cut down diminishes the value of the area." Meanwhile, AWARE has invited a representative from Interfor, the company which has logging rights in the Upper Elaho, to speak at their monthly meeting on April 6. The meeting is at 7 p.m. in the Delta Whistler Resort.