Garry Merkel is a member of the Tahltan Nation and a Registered Professional Forester (RPF) with the Association of BC Forest Professionals. His achievements and contributions are numerous and span decades. They include being instrumental in the formation of the Faculty of Forestry’s First Nations Council of Advisors (FNCOA) in 1994 in which he currently serves as co-chair. He also worked with the UBC First Nations House of Learning to establish an Aboriginal Forestry Initiative at UBC.
Garry is the Executive Director of the BC First Nations Housing & Infrastructure Council, and has been the CEO of the Tahltan Nation Development Corporation. He was part of the 3-person team that negotiated the creation of the Columbia Basin Trust, was elected vice-chair of the Trust at its formation in 1995, and chaired the trust from 2005 to 2013.
Garry is a Co-Chair of the BC Minister of Forests Practices Advisory Council. Most recently, he co-authored A New Future for Old Forests, a report for the Province of British Columbia that includes recommendations on the management of old-growth forests in the province that the Provincial Government has committed to implement in full.
Garry has been involved in building First Nations governments for almost three decades. He has led numerous initiatives, including the Yukon Forest Policy, the BC First Nations Forest Policy Forum, the Hakai Recreation Area Co-management Agreement, the Canadian Aboriginal Forestry and Employment Training Strategy, the BC Aboriginal Housing Strategy, the BC Aboriginal Governance Initiative and Ktunaxa Strategic Engagement Agreement.