The planting of the billionth tree in the Prince George Natural Resource District was celebrated Thursday at the Central British Columbia Railway and Forestry Museum.

That was where dignitaries planted a spruce tree to mark the milestone.

The number dates from when planting began in 1959 and it wasn’t the only large figure cited.

“Silviculture and tree planting are an important part of our economy and of job creation here in this region of the province,” said MLA Shirley Bond. “In fact, 42,000 person days of work and approximately $9.5 million in GDP are generated locally every year by tree planting and silviculture work.”

According to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, roughly 21 million seedlings are planted on 15,000 hectares each year in the Prince George district, which covers nearly 4.9 million hectares.

The district originally covered 3.4 million hectares from the intersection of Bobtail Forest Service Road and Highway 16 in the west to the Alberta border in the east, and Mount Reynolds in

the north, south to Bowron Lake Park. It was expanded in 2010 to include the Robson Valley.

Trees planted in the Prince George district are expected to produce about 2.8 million cubic metres of wood in 65 years and capture about 2.3 million tonnes of carbon.

Getting the sites ready for planting after harvest is complete generates about 4,500 person days of employment each year and growing the seedlings that are planted each year accounts for about 1,500 person days at forest nurseries, according to the MFLNRO.

A plaque will be placed next to the seedling that the Railway and Forestry Museum to mark the achievement.