Every year, as Canadians celebrate Canada Day on July 1st, Americans get ready to celebrate July 4th. Canada Day marks the enactment of the Constitution Act of 1867, which united the British colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. This year Canada Day is particularly special because Canada is celebrating its 150th anniversary.
In the U.S., Independence Day on July 4th marks the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, which separated the 13 American colonies from British rule and established the United States of America. Both Canada and the U.S. celebrate with barbecues and fireworks.
Both countries also share a past where forests played a critical role, beginning with the earliest settlers. Timber was used to make homes, protect livestock, establish towns, build ships and grow international trade. Producing ship masts, from white pine, for export was one of the first industries in both countries.
In fact, the white pine has been called the tree that built America. Pine was also the major species of Canada’s lumber trade for decades, exported to build the canals and railways that connected cities and towns throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Sustainable forestry is more crucial than ever in supporting the needs of the present and the future. We’ve come a long way over the last two centuries, and forests in both the U.S. and Canada are managed more responsibly than ever. More than 285 million acres/115 hectares across Canada and the U.S. are certified to the independent, non-profit Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Forest Management Standard. SFI standards for forest management and fiber sourcing include strict measures to conserve water quality, biodiversity, and healthy wildlife habitat.
Ninety-eight percent of forests certified to SFI are available for recreational opportunities. What better way to celebrate your country’s past and future this holiday weekend than getting out in the woods? You can also take advantage of Parks Canada’s free admission in 2017 to parks and other national treasures to celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial.
When you plan your outdoor fun, be sure to look for the SFI label on paper cups and plates for your picnicking, too. The SFI label means the fiber used to make paper and wood products was sourced responsibly, meeting the strict, third-party requirements of SFI.
To find out more about sustainable forestry, why it matters, and what it means to you and your country, visit sfiprogram.org.
This updated article was originally published in 2016.