For the visionaries who imagined the impossible, for the founding directors who charted a path forward, for all of the directors and staff who brought us here, and for all the people of the Columbia Basin who put their trust in us to create a legacy now and for future generations, this book is dedicated to you.

Columbia Basin Trust: A Story of People, Power and A Region United


Half a century ago, the lives of people in the Columbia Basin changed forever when a series of dams altered their homes and landscapes. This commemorative book is the story of how they took their power back. 

River Power

In the Columbia Basin, the waters mirror the sky and reflect a vast and spellbinding landscape of thick green forest and dramatic mountain peaks. At the heart of the Basin lies the Columbia River. 

Creating the Trust

On a spring day in 1992, Ed Conroy arrived at Castlegar’s local baseball park, a trailer of cows in tow. A cattle rancher, Conroy was moving his cows to summer pasture but paused for a meeting.

Building for the Future

Board members of the newly established Columbia Basin Trust returned from Victoria no longer as part of a committee seeking to improve the lives of Basin residents, but as representatives of an organization with the power and resources to make that dream a reality.

Learning Curves

By 1999, Columbia Basin Trust’s mandate and infrastructure were formally in place, and a clear path forward was mapped in the Columbia Basin Management Plan. The first full year of delivery of benefits was completed in 1998.

Restoring the Trust

After 10 years, three of the Trust’s four hydropower projects were in operation or under way, revenues were rising and programs were being introduced. But rapid growth tested the Trust.

Charting a Path

The Trust’s 15th anniversary in 2010 was an occasion for celebration. It was also a time for thinking back and looking ahead. Garry Merkel remembered “a lot of growing. It’s hard to believe it has been 15 years since myself and other founding Board members were present in the British Columbia legislature signing the CBT Act.”

We would like to express our gratitude and thanks to all those that contributed to this book by lending your voice, your knowledge, your wisdom, your archives, your expertise, your time, your passion and so much more.

 So many memories, stories, conversations, newspaper clippings and artefacts have been woven together to share this story of how the people of the Columbia Basin came together to change our collective future and create the Columbia Basin Trust.

Thank you to the team at Know History Inc. for researching and writing the content, to Chris Rowat Design for the beautiful design of the book, and to Pathwise Solutions for translating it all onto these web pages.

Are you interested in receiving a copy of the hard cover book? Request one here.