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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.

Updated conference program, abstracts now available

Post about your conference plans! #GeorgeWright2015

New for 2015: the GWS mobile conference app! Navigate the meeting from your mobile device with this free app. Download it by clicking below.

(POSTED February 26, 2015) — Over 525 people have already registered for GWS2015 ... don't miss your chance to join them!

The George Wright Society Conference on Parks, Protected Areas, and Cultural Sites is coming to the Bay Area! Plan now to join us in Oakland, California, the week of March 29–April 3, 2015, for "Engagement, Education, and Expectations: The Future of Parks and Protected Areas." Our biennial conference is all about reflection, reconnection, and renewal — a week of stimulating discussion about leading-edge research, innovative practices, and foundational values. GWS2015 is your place to engage with colleagues who share your commitment to excellence ... to educate yourself about the latest trends and ideas ... to raise expectations for yourself and your career! Find out more


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


Volume 31, no. 3 • December 2014


The National Park Service Centennial Essay Series: Moving to the third era of natural resource management

ActivistsEcologist Nathan L. Stephenson has spent his career thoughtfully examining the course of natural resource management in the National Park Service. In the newest Centennial Essay, he argues that the agency is on the cusp of entirely new approach — if only it can get past "the tyranny of the urgent." Read the essay


Now available! The GWS2013 Conference Proceedings


View/download at no charge


Check out these recent publications by GWS members:


Expanding Horizons • Large Landscape Network

Summary of a pathbreaking national workshop


Scaling Up: Collaborative Approaches to Large Landscape Management

Collection of stories highlighting the "Scaling Up" goal of the NPS "Call to Action"


Keeping it Wild in the National Park Service • USNPS Wilderness Program

User guide to including wilderness character in management


Wilderness Stewardship Plan Handbook • USNPS Wilderness Program

How-to guide to creating wilderness stewardship plans


Philanthropy and the National Park Service • Jacqueline Vaughn

Historical view of NPS funding partnerships


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)

Indigenous opponents of controversial Arizona land swap start petition for NMon declaration of sacred site on Tonto NF

In the latest effort to foil the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange, activists are asking President Obama to designate Oak Flat a national monument. The area, which is part of Tonto National Forest, is a historically significant and sacred spot for many Native American tribes, as well as a well-known rock-climbing and recreation destination.

India: As many as 45 new building projects approved by authorities in or near PAs, including coal plant outside of Gulf of Mannar NP

After around 4000 ha of prime forest land was recommended to be cleared by the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) in the last three months, as many as 45 infrastructure projects have been cleared by the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) to come up in the protected areas.

Cayman Islands: Terrestrial PAs first thing on agenda after inaugural national conservation law takes effect

(CNS): Selecting the terrestrial areas to be designated as protected habitat will be one of the first things on the agenda for the Department of Environment once the National Conservation Law is fully implemented.

Maine town endorses 150,000-ac NP proposal

MEDWAY, Maine — Town leaders will draft a letter to Maine’s congressional delegation endorsing the 150,000-acre North Woods national park and recreation area proposed by Lucas St. Clair.

The Board of Selectmen voted 4-0 on Monday to draft the endorsement letter, saying that the park would be a tonic for the struggling Katahdin region economy. Selectman Rob Farrington was absent.

USFWS announces new restrictions at "swim with the manatees" site in Florida's Crystal River NWR

(Reuters) - Tourists may keep swimming this winter with endangered Florida manatees in cramped Three Sisters Springs under new rules announced by federal wildlife managers on Thursday to protect the beloved "sea cows" coming to the U.S. sanctuary to warm up.

Peru: Government wants extradition of Greenpeace campaigner implicated in defacement of Nazca Lines WH site

(Reuters) - Peru is seeking the extradition of a Greenpeace activist from Argentina to face charges he damaged the country's iconic Nazca Lines during a widely criticized stunt last year, a court said on Thursday.

Costa Rica: Álvaro Ugalde, "founding father" of country's NP system, dies

A sense of sadness swept through the national parks of Costa Rica this week with the passing of 'conservation crusader' Álvaro Ugalde who had long been considered the father of Costa Rica’s world-famous national park system.

Watchdog group TRAFFIC rolls out DNA tracing to fight ivory poachers

UNITED NATIONS, Feb 25 2015 (IPS) - The wildlife trade monitoring network, TRAFFIC, is deploying a new forensic weapon – DNA testing – to track illegal ivory products responsible for the slaughter of hundreds of endangered elephants in Asia and Africa.

Deer kill OK'd for later this year in Cuyahoga Valley NP

BRECKSVILLE, Ohio -- The National Park Service will allow sharpshooting to help curtail the deer population within the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Sharpshooters will be used early on to quickly reduce deer densities, said a park statement put out Wednesday. Other measures that could follow include nonsurgical reproductive control methods.

Oregon's population of gray wolves up, officials say—but still fragile, conservationists counter

(Reuters) - Oregon's once decimated gray wolf population has rebounded to at least 77 animals, and the wolves are now pairing off and breeding across a wide region, state officials with the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife said on Wednesday.

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

GWS signs MOU with Clemson; first Student Chapter launched; Harmon honored

In September, GWS Executive Director Dave Harmon traveled to Clemson University to sign a memorandum of understanding with the university’s Institute for Parks, one of the USA’s leading academic institutions in the world of protected area education, management, and development.  This is a major agreement that pledges GWS and Clemson to work together in six areas:

Latourelle heads up roster of 2015 GWS Awards winners

Alan Latourelle, chief executive officer of Parks Canada, will receive the Society’s highest honor, the George Melendez Wright Award for Excellence, at the conference in Oakland.