A study on the potential economic impact of the proposed Stoltmann National Park on the Sea to Sky communities of Whistler, Squamish and Pemberton should be wrapped up in four weeks. The One Whistler Group, comprised of representatives from the mountains, the chamber of commerce, the Whistler Resort Association, the municipality and the retail and hotel sectors, has hired consulting firm Grant Thornton to conduct the study. Consultants will assess the importance of national park status, as opposed to provincial park or protected area status. A national park, for example, could be easier to market and attract more tourism than a protected area. Consultants have been given the following terms of reference for the study: o Familiarise themselves with the current economies of Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton. o Look at available data and conduct interviews as required. o Familiarise themselves with the physical characteristics of the area in question including the size, location and nature of the land and how it is currently being used. o Take the time to explore the rationale for the proposal for the national park boundary and determine whether it is appropriate. o Develop an understanding of the current ownership, for example, see whether there are First Nations land claims and tenure arrangements in the area. They will also review tree farm licences, tenure use and commercial backcountry operations in the area. o Develop an understanding of the time frame for existing activities and how a number of uses might be integrated, for example, logging schedules and seasonal backcountry use. o Familiarise themselves with the potential primary economic uses of the land including logging, tourism, commercial recreation. o Estimate the economic value associated with each of the possible primary uses of land as measured by jobs created and the total dollar value of economic activity attributable to Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton. o Determine potential secondary or spin-off benefits associated with each of those uses. o Estimate the economic value associated with those spin-off benefits as measured jobs created and the dollar value attributable to each community. o Consider the extent to which the primary activities are in conflict and where they might possibly preclude each other. o Take a look at the national regulations in relation to commercial public recreation activities. o Look at activities that may co-exist in a national park. o Consider long-term viability of alternate land uses and the role of possible primary activities in the strategic diversification of the local economies. The study will help Whistler develop a position on the Stoltmann National Park proposal. There is no word yet on the cost of the study and how it will be funded.