There is such a big power in an idea…we are building an idea here.”

Garry Merkel, Founding Director and Past Chair, Trust Board of Directors

An Idea

In the early 1990s, residents, local officials and representatives from regional districts and tribal councils joined together to successfully negotiate with the Province for a share of the Treaty revenues and to secure benefits for the people of the Basin. In July 1995, the Columbia Basin Trust Act was passed into BC Government legislation.

We honour those who saw an opportunity to create this unique, regional organization that would support the efforts by the people of the Basin to create a legacy of social, economic and environmental well-being in the region most affected by the Treaty.

No one could have imagined all that was possible. Thank you to those who persevered towards the idea, the dream, and participated in meetings, conversations and symposia, and to those who represented and honoured the desires of all Basin residents to create a new future through Columbia Basin Trust.

Did you know?

Columbia Basin Trust’s mandate does not relieve any level of government of its obligations in the Basin.

Our Foundation

Our work is guided by the Columbia Basin Management Plan, which was originally developed in consultation with the people of the Basin in 1997. It states that:

  • funds be allocated to the region, representing a fair share of the ongoing benefits being realized outside of the Basin as a result of the CRT
  • a regional organization, governed by a board of Basin residents, be created to manage those funds.

Columbia Basin Trust works toward a long-term vison for the future where:

  • The Columbia River Basin is a place where social, environmental, and economic well-being is fostered.
  • Collaborative relationships and partnerships are established across the Basin.
  • A healthy environment is the basis for social and economic activities.
  • The economy of the Basin is diverse, resilient and energized.

Your Trust

Over the past 25 years, your input has guided the Trust and our connections with the Basin have deepened. We have tried to:

  • Grow ideas together with communities – from concept to plan to action.
  • Help people make their own choices on issues that affect their future, and see those choices result in positive outcomes.
  • Manage our assets responsibly to ensure that both present and future generations benefit from those assets.
  • Invest so that future generations can receive the same level of support as current ones.
  • Engage more closely with First Nations communities.
  • Support a healthy, renewed natural environment.
  • Collaborate with youth in the Basin through events, programs and leadership development.
  • Partner with Basin organizations with shared values and objectives – from colleges to local government to non-profits to co-operatives to businesses.
  • Ensure we have a presence around the Basin through our Board and staff.
  • Work alongside federal and provincial governments on common goals.
  • Bring together partners to tackle regional needs.
  • Share information on issues and topics that matter to communities and facilitate access to expertise.
  • Engage Basin volunteers on our committees, boards and working groups.
  • Celebrate our unique and shared cultures.