“It’s my pleasure to ring in Alberta Forest Week, May 1-7. 

“Every year, during the first week of May, we celebrate our province’s forests and all they give us, from paper and two-by-fours to well-paying jobs and a healthy, diverse environment.

“Forests are an essential part of Alberta’s environment and economy. About 60 per cent of Alberta – 87 million acres – is forested, an area larger than Finland.

“As the province’s third-largest resource sector, the forest sector directly supports 722 small businesses and 51 medium to large businesses, and provides direct jobs for more than 18,000 Albertans in communities across the province.

“Alberta is home to Canada’s most competitive forest sector, which empowers it to be one of the key drivers in our province’s economic recovery.

“To ensure our forests will be around for many more generations, we sustainably manage them for wildlife, water, recreation, traditional use and more. More than 80 per cent of Alberta’s managed forested lands are third-party certified for sustainability.

“This week, we will be distributing nearly 70,000 lodgepole pine seedlings to Grade 1 students across the province, just as we have done for more than 60 years.

“I encourage Albertans to take some time to celebrate all our forests give us. There is more information and plenty of ideas on the Alberta Forest Week page on alberta.ca.”