New Billboard Celebrates Northwestern Ontario Forest Sector
Posted: June 26, 2019
The newest billboard under the It Takes a Forest public awareness initiative was unveiled today in Northwestern Ontario. Representatives from local sponsors including the Central Canada SFI Implementation Committee (CCSIC), Domtar Inc., Resolute Forest Products, and Dryden Forest Management Company Ltd. joined Scott Jackson, Director of Indigenous and Stakeholder Relations from Forests Ontario at the billboard in celebration of the forest sector’s key role in supporting the province’s economic, social, and environmental well-being.
Representing a collaborative effort of more than 40 organizations, the It Takes A Forest initiative promotes and increases awareness of Ontario’s world-class forests and forest management practices. The initiative aims to reach Ontarians across the province with fact-based information and spread the message that forests are central to our lives.
“The forest sector is a critical part of Northern Ontario’s economic backbone, and has been supporting families and communities for generations,” said Jenny Tallman, Chair of CCSIC, a committee dedicated to fostering understanding and supporting the growth of sustainable forest management through the Sustainable Forestry Initiative program across Ontario and Manitoba. “CCSIC adds its voice to the It Takes a Forest initiative to help raise awareness on the environmental, social, and economic wealth that public forests offer.”
The billboard is located on Highway 17, 45 km southeast of Dryden, just outside of Borups Corners. It depicts the impact that the forest sector has on the provincial economy. According to recent estimates, forestry supports 180,000 jobs across Ontario, playing an integral part in ensuring the survival of more than 260 communities – many of which are situated in northern and rural areas.
“A sustainable forestry sector is fundamentally important to the region’s economy and ecosystem,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines and MPP for Kenora-Rainy River. “This initiative will help build a better understanding of how Ontario forests are sustainably managed and their importance to all Ontarians.”
Bonny Skene, Regional Public Affairs Manager at Domtar Inc., believes it is important for all Ontarians to understand and appreciate the value of our forest resources. “Forests clean our air and water and support our physical and mental health. They create jobs and sustain communities,” said Skene. “The forest sector is especially important in Northwestern Ontario due to its contributions to the economy and investments in local communities,” Skene went on to say. Domtar Inc.’s Dryden Mill first began production 1913; it is now the largest employer in Dryden with upwards of 300 workers.
This is one of fourteen billboards to be established under the It Takes a Forest initiative, and the fifth to be erected in Northern Ontario. Each billboard shares information on the many values our forests provide, from wildlife habitat to carbon sequestration to wood products.
“These billboards are important, sharing the message that the forest sector is sustainable from an environmental standpoint, as well as from a social and economic perspective,” said Seth Kursman, Vice President, Corporate Communications, Sustainability and Government Affairs for Resolute Forest Products. Resolute, a global leader in the forest products industry, has made considerable investments in Northwestern Ontario, totaling over $250 million over the past several years. “When done sustainably, each part of the process from planting trees to manufacturing wood products to using residuals for bio-energy supports a healthy environment and puts value back into local communities.”
According to Dave Legg, General Manager of Dryden Forest Management Company Ltd., “Sustainable forest management is the foundation upon which social, economic, and environmental forest benefits and values are built. All Ontarians should be proud of our world class forest management practices.” The Dryden Forest Management Company Ltd. manages the Dryden Forest, which encompasses 136,000 hectares.
Rob Keen, CEO of Forests Ontario, echoed this sentiment. “By managing our forests in a responsible and sustainable manner, we’re able to provide for a variety of social, ecological, and economic values over the long-term. The It Takes a Forest initiative, and these billboards, help this important message to spread.”
For more information on It Takes A Forest, visit www.ittakesaforest.ca or follow activities on Twitter and Facebook @ittakesaforest.