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.

Almost 700 attend GWS2015

Plenary videos to be available on YouTube soon

Almost 700 people gathered in Oakland for the 2015 George Wright Society Conference on Parks, Protected Areas, and Cultural Sites! It was a week of stimulating discussion about leading-edge research, innovative practices, and foundational values. We thank everyone who attended, 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


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)

Illinois Historic Preservation Agency fights back against governor's proposal to eliminate it

The board of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency on Thursday assailed Gov. Bruce Rauner's push to eliminate the agency, saying the move could force some state historic sites to close and would hinder a program that has helped generate more than $1 billion in construction spending.

Biodiversity advocacy group says park fencing at Point Reyes NS is cause of hundreds of elk deaths

More than 250 native tule elk have died at Point Reyes National Seashore since 2012, and a wildlife protection group says fences are to blame.

Noted street artist fined for vandalizing boulder in Joshua Tree NP

While one incident of vandalism in the National Park System has been resolved, agents continue to investigate a more high-profile, and wide-spread, case in which a woman used acrylic paint to create images on rock faces in parks across the West.

Mexico: President launches plan to save tiny vaquita porpoise; no-gill-net zone greatly expanded in Sea of Cortez

MEXICO CITY (AP) — President Enrique Pena Nieto formally inaugurated a plan Thursday to save the critically endangered vaquita marina, the world's smallest porpoise found only in the Sea of Cortez.

Costa Rica: Spate of fires in country's PAs thought to be intentional

QCOSTARICA – (By Henry Morales Navarro, Vozdeguanacaste) The war against forest fires in Nicoya and Santa Cruz has several battle fronts. Four outbreaks of fires have conservation authorities on maximum alert, since they have seen fire destroy more than 1,800 hectares (4,450 acres) of secondary and primary forests in less than a week.

Botched prescribed fire has burned almost 20% of Wind Cave NP, but gains being made in fighting it

Authorities say the Cold Brook Fire has scorched 6,500 acres in the southwestern South Dakota park. That's about 20 percent of the park's surface area.

Congo: In Ntokou-Pikounda NP, primatologists take first photo of rare colobus monkey not seen for more than 50 years

Two primatologists working in the forests of the Republic of Congo have returned from the field with a noteworthy prize: the first-ever photograph of the Bouvier's red colobus monkey, a rare primate not seen for more than half a century and suspected to be extinct by some, according to WCS (the Wildlife Conservation Society).

Zimbabwe: Homes of Mugabe, other leaders to be declared NMons

Masvingo — ZIMBABWEAN President Roberbert Mugabe's rural home in Zvimba will soon be declared a national monument in recognition of the role he played during and after the national liberation war.

Malaysia: All 15 water catchment areas in Johor Baru state to get PA status

JOHOR BARU - The state government wants to gazette all 15 water catchment areas in the state as "protected areas" to better manage its water resources.

Once they are gazetted by year-end, there would be better supervision and enforcement around the catchment areas, said state Public Works, Rural and Regional Development chairman Datuk Hasni Mohammad.

India: Various development projects approved in, near Uttarakhand PAs

Various land transfer cases in and within 10 kilometres of protected forests areas were approved for works including electrification of the Haridwar-Dehradun railway line through Rajaji National Park and six power projects in the meeting of the Uttarakhand State Wildlife Board in Dehradun on Wednesday.

UNSPS investigating contraception to control feral horse population at Theodore Roosevelt NP

The National Park Service (NPS) is currently studying the use of fertility control vaccines to control feral horse populations on NPS lands.

Jenny Powers, DVM, PhD, an NPS wildlife veterinarian, shared preliminary results during a presentation at the 2014 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Dec. 6-10 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Ford's Theater, Petersen House hold round-the-clock observances on 150th anniversary of Lincoln's assassination; inaugural of Johnson marked as well

WASHINGTON — Exactly 150 years ago, during the overnight hours of April 14-15, President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated at Ford’s Theatre, changing the course of American history.

Brazil: Study finds drop in Amazon deforestation differs according to level of enforcement

The destruction of the Brazilian rainforest has slowed significantly. With around 5000 square kilometers annually, the loss is now about 80% lower than in 2004. Led by the Center for Development Research (ZEF) at the University of Bonn, an international team of researchers has evaluated the effectiveness of forest law enforcement in the Brazilian Amazon.

Scientists find that loggerhead sea turtles nesting in Dry Tortugas NP feed in Bahamas

GAINESVILLE, Fla.—Many loggerhead sea turtles that nest in Dry Tortugas National Park head to rich feeding sites in the Bahamas after nesting, a discovery that may help those working to protect this threatened species.

Poland: Foundation in charge of Auschwitz-Birkenau WH site looks to "preserve authenticity"

OSWIECIM, Poland — To visit Auschwitz is to find an unfathomable but strangely familiar place. After so many photographs and movies, books and personal testimonies, it is tempting to think of it as a movie-set death camp, the product of a gruesome cinematic imagination, and not the real thing.

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 co-founder Theodore W. Sudia dies

Theodore W. Sudia, former chief scientist of the National Park Service and one of the two co-founders of the GWS, died Wednesday at his home in Pittsburgh at the age of 89.  Ted joined forces with another former NPS chief scientist, Robert M.

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: