George Melendez Wright   Logo   the landscapes that are important to members of the society
The Society strives to be the premier organization connecting people, places, knowledge, and ideas to foster excellence in natural and cultural resource management, research, protection, and interpretation in parks and equivalent reserves.

Just published — A Thinking Person's Guide
to America's National Parks


A Thinking Person's Guide to America's National Parks

A popular guide to the entire national park system, focusing on the big ideas that you can explore in the over 400 national parks of the USA — and all sales benefit the GWS! Find out more


Sample the current issue of our journal, The George Wright Forum


Volume 33, no. 1 • April 2016


The National Park Service Centennial Essay Series: "We shouldn’t pay for access to our right to understand"

Duncan Morrow is passionate about making America's national parks available to all, regardless of their ability to pay. It's time for Congress to fully fund them, he says, because to continue to treat them shabbily is "unjust for the best of America." Read the essay


NPS Centennial Commentaries

Golden Gate NRA • Rolf Diamant

Long-time GWS member Robert Manning is doing a year-long series of monthly audio commentaries on the US national parks for Vermont Public Radio. Each of Bob's commentaries connect to a topic covered in the new book "A Thinking Person's Guide to America's National Parks," sales of which benefit the GWS. More info on the book is further down this column.

Listen here:

"The Best View"
"The National Park Idea"
"Ways to Experience the Parks"
"The Balance between Building Constituency and Preservation"


From the front lines: Reflections on the World Ranger Congress

Front-line rangers (game wardens, guardaparques, etc.) from around the world are gathered May 21-27 in Colorado for the International Ranger Federation's 8th World Ranger Congress. GWS helped organize logistics and Emily Dekker-Fiala and Dave Harmon were on-scene all week. Click here for some of Dave's observations of this important international event.


Post & view job openings on our website!

As a service to the protected areas community, you can now post job openings, and search them, on the GWS website. All employment opportunities related to parks, protected areas, and cultural sites are welcome for listing.

Submit a job posting

View job postings


GWS2017 is coming to Virginia!

The 2017 George Wright Society Conference on Parks, Protected Areas, and Cultural Sites will be held in Norfolk, Virginia, April 2-7. We'll be meeting at the Marriott Waterside Hotel for the 19th in this series of conferences with roots dating back to 1976. Click here to be notified when the Call for Proposals comes out in June 2016. (GWS members will be notified automatically.)

We thank everyone who attended the 2015 meeting in Oakland, and if you didn't, we invite you to find out what these biennial meetings are all about by exploring the GWS2015 website. Find out more

You can now view videos from the three plenary sessions on the GWS YouTube channel. As well, you can view or download over 50 PowerPoint presentations shared by presenters.


Check out these recent publications by GWS members:


America's National Park System: The Critical Documents

New edition of classic reference on NPS history


Rosy Ralph Visits His National Parks

Children's book inspires a sense of wonder about parks


I Survived: My Name is Yitzkhak

Tale of WWII survivor


Promising Pathways

Parks Canada Aboriginal engagement guide


What's your passion?

At the GWS, our passion is protected areas: the special places—natural areas and cultural sites alike—that are being safeguarded for perpetuity by people like you all over the world. We are dedicated to building the knowledge needed to protect, manage, and understand protected areas around the globe. The GWS is the one organization whose sole focus is on the scientific and heritage values of parks and other kinds of protected areas, from the largest wilderness area to the smallest historic site. Are these your core values too? Then help us make them a reality!


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Parkwire: GWS's daily digest of global protected area news (follow us via RSS, Twitter @parkwire, or Facebook)

UK: Habitat of rare moth down to one area of protected heathland in England

The dark bordered beauty moth is heading towards extinction at its last known site in England, a new study has found.

Chinese demand for fashionable rosewood furniture driving several species to brink of extinction, report says

The booming Chinese demand for hongmu furniture — luxury items particularly prized by China’s growing middle class — has pushed several rosewood species to the brink. Chinese rosewood imports were at an all-time high in 2014, and nearly half came from African countries like Nigeria and Ghana.

Obama proclaims Stonewall NMon, first-ever park devoted to LGBTQ rights

President Obama is designating a new national monument at the Stonewall Inn, the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement.

The Stonewall National Monument in New York City will be the first addition to the National Park System specifically highlighting the history of the LGBT community.

USNPS declares bison at Grand Canyon NP to be native to region

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The effort to come up with a way to manage bison at Grand Canyon National Park has taken a turn back in time — thousands of years — to determine the massive animals' roots.

Georgia congressman calls on USNPS chief to resign

National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis, who has had to deal with 

  • Read more
  • Great Smoky Mountains NP introduces beetle in hopes of knocking back hemlock-killing adelgids

    The forest at Great Smoky Mountains National Park is sick, infected by invasive bugs and plants. Matt Moore, Kaleb Lique Naitove and Emily Baird of the National Park Service are some of the field medics trying to keep it alive.

    USBLM to restaff area of Nevada vacated since standoff with armed extremists in 2014

    wo years after its hasty retreat from the Gold Butte area, the federal government is moving back into the remote corner of northeastern Clark County for the first time since its confrontation with the Bundy family in 2014.

    Editorial: Poetry part of response to those who would compromise US NPs

    Not long ago, I went to the top of Crater Mountain searching for a trace of the last living Beat poet, Gary Snyder. His fire lookout at 8,128 feet, where he scanned the summits of the North Cascades for the Forest Service in 1952, is long gone.

    Editorial: Opponents of race through Basin and Range NMon hypocritical

    This is why they are called spoilsports.

    A group calling itself Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility is raising a ruckus over plans by the Bureau of Land Management to route a portion of a desert race from Las Vegas to Reno through a short span of the newly minted 700,000-acre Basin and Range National Monument.

    Bahamas: Newly discovered species of boa gets immediate conservation attention

    There are now 12 known species of West Indian boas.

    Interior strongly opposes bill that would disarm USBLM and USFS law enforcement offiicers

    The Interior Department is blasting a Republican bill that would abolish armed law enforcement bodies in two federal land management agencies.

    Australia: Enviros thrilled over Queensland government's purchase of cattle station to stem runoff affecting Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

    Environment groups are applauding a “fantastic move” by the Queensland government to protect the Great Barrier Reef by buying a Cape York cattle station responsible for a disproportionate amount of pollution that flows on to the reef.

    The Queensland government has spent $7m buying the 560 sq km Springvale Station, situated south of Cooktown, the ABC reported on Wednesday.

    Turkey: Plans in works for restoration of buildings damaged in fighting with Kurdish militants

    The government has earmarked a budget of TL 50 million ($17.26 million) for 13 historic buildings in the southeastern Turkey that were damaged in ongoing clashes between the PKK and security forces.

    Feature: As Mongolia develops its NP system, resource conflicts — some violent — begin to appear

    The issue that worries Tumursukh is not that Mongolia lacks enough national parks. Instead, there is almost too much territory to protect – and certainly not enough park rangers and other resources to do the job correctly. This seems to be a problem facing many of the former Soviet bloc countries.

    185 environmental activists killed in 2015; many were defending protected lands

    On March 3, two armed men entered the home of Berta Cáceres, an environmental activist in Honduras, and shot her dead. For years, Ms. Cáceres had vigorously opposed the proposed Agua Zarca Dam, to be built on the land of an indigenous people, the Lenca.

    What is the George Wright Society?

    The society is dedicated to the protection, preservation, and management of cultural and natural parks and reserves through research and education.

    The GWS is a nonprofit association of researchers, managers, administrators, educators, and other professionals who work on behalf of the scientific and heritage values of protected areas. When many people think of parks, they think of them exclusively in terms of being vacation destinations and recreation areas. But the heart of parks, protected areas, and cultural sites is the resources they protect.  The GWS is dedicated to protecting and understanding these resources by promoting scientific research and cultural heritage scholarship within and on behalf of protected areas.

    By “protected areas,” we mean a broad array of places—both “cultural” and “natural”—managed by different entities: parks at all levels; historic and cultural sites; research areas and designated wilderness within national and state forests, grasslands, wildlife refuges, and other public lands; tribal reserves, traditional indigenous cultural places, and community-conserved areas; marine, estuarine, freshwater, and other aquatic sanctuaries; private land-trust reserves; and similarly designated areas.   Find out more

    GWS News

    Nominations sought for GWS Board; deadline is July 1

    Each year, two seats on the Board of Directors come up for election. This year, the seats are held by David Parsons and Barrett Kennedy, both of whom are reaching the end of their second three-year term on the Board and are therefore unable to run again. We are now accepting nominations of GWS members who would like run for these open seats.

    GWS member launches newsletter on privately run protected areas

    Brent Mitchell, chair of the Specialist Group on Privately Protected Areas and Nature Stewardship of IUCN's World Commission on Protected Areas, has created a newsletter to help elevate the recognition, understanding and integrity of private conservation world-wide.  Called The Stivrdr, this occasional newsletter takes its name from an Old Norse word meaning keeper of the house, which even