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.

New: 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.

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Plenary videos, PowerPoint presentations available; Proceedings coming soon

Videos on YouTube; PPTs on website

Just over 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

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

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

Volume 32, no. 2 • September 2015

The National Park Service Centennial Essay Series: NPS should let some parks be run under a franchise

ActivistsThe National Park Service is woefully underfunded, and a fractious Congress is unlikely to fix that. Economist Holly Fretwell's solution? Let the agency create a franchise under which some parks could be run by private concerns. Read the essay

Check out these recent publications by GWS members:

Promising Pathways

Parks Canada Aboriginal engagement guide

The Land is Our Teacher

Celebration of collaboration between Aboriginal peoples and Parks Canada

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

More publications by GWS members

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)

Paddling group pushes for bill that would open up waters of Grand Teton, Yellowstone NPs

In a rebuttal to National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis' contention that packrafting shouldn't be allowed to more waters than presently allowed in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, the American Packrafting Association is challenging his arguments in a letter of its own to U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop.

GOP representative to float bill for USNPS funding, NP endowmwnt

U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop has drafted legislation intended to help provide the National Park Service with additional funds to tackle needed projects across the National Park System and also bolster interpretation and education in the parks. However, the bulk of the funding would have to come from the public as the measure currently is written.

Capping good year for sea turtle nesting, Cape Hatteras NS reports rarity: 2 hawksbill nests

Not only was the summer of 2015 a productive year for sea turtle nests along Cape Hatteras National Seashore, but at least two of the nests were made by a rare visitor to the seashore: Hawksbill sea turtles.

Brazil: Reversing declines, deforestation in country's Amazon surges upward by 16% in 2015; "It was a surprise," EM says

The destruction of Brazil's Amazon forest, the world's largest intact rainforest, increased by 16 percent in 2015 from a year ago as the government struggles to enforce legislation and stop illegal clearings.

Scientists: Going beyond MPAs, we need to build marine resiliency

Our oceans and coasts are changing rapidly due to human impacts. But our very existence depends on the resources and functions that their biodiversity and productive habitats provide. Learning to manage the habitats and biodiversity within our oceans and coasts is one of the greatest challenges of this century.

Editorial: Bears Ears NMon proposal, first to be spurred by tribes, would protect remarkable landscape

Anyone who has watched the sun rise over a red mesa in the West, happened upon a thousand-year-old petroglyph, or been deeply inspired by Escalante National Monument, Canyonlands National Park, or any of the vast natural and cultural landscapes between should support the new proposal to establish a Bears Ears National Monument.

Guatemala: In Maya Biosphere Reserve, local communities in charge of protecting

UAXACTÚN, Guatemala — Deep in the jungle, where the forest canopy bends sunlight into a lattice of overlapping greens, where jaguars glide and the throaty cries of howler monkeys resound over the bird song, sits a sawmill that slices giant mahogany logs.

Ominous as the scene may look, the mill is part of a conservation strategy to preserve the forest.

"This is all bad news for the planet": Meteorological organization says 2015 will be hottest year on record, with next year quite likely even worse

This year will be the hottest on record and 2016 could be even hotter due to the El Niño weather pattern, the World Meteorological Organization said on Wednesday, warning that inaction on climate change could see global average temperatures rise by 6 degrees Celsius or more.

Tanzania: Government charges 4 Chinese nationals with smuggling rhino horns

A Tanzanian court has charged four Chinese nationals for smuggling rhino horns, a senior police official said on Wednesday, pointing to further gains in the fight against the illegal trade.

Alaska, British Columbia agree to more protections for shared waterways

The Canadian province of British Columbia signed a memorandum of understanding with Alaska on Wednesday to protect transboundary rivers, watersheds and fisheries and be more involved in major mining developments in each other's territory.

Maine senators, representative write Obama to express concerns over potential NMon proclamation, but supporters see it as sign of progress

Three members of Maine’s congressional delegation are expressing “serious reservations and significant concerns” to President Obama about whether he could designate a swath of Maine’s North Woods as a national monument.

Wyoming governor summons Grand Teton NP superintendent to capital, complaining about plans for park road

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead has summoned Grand Teton National Park Superintendent David Vela to Cheyenne for a closed-door meeting about the park's preferred plan for managing traffic along the Moose-Wilson Road, a scenic byway popular with wildlife lovers.

Free admission to US NPs boosts recreation equipment retailer's call to "#optoutside" on Black Friday instead of shopping

Retailer REI announced in October it would close its stores on Black Friday — falling this year on Nov. 27 — and instead encourage people to #optoutside.

Nearly 1 million people have since joined in on the idea, sharing photos and ideas of what they're going to do instead of spending hours in store lines.

Brazil: Enviro group makes app to track illegal timber shipments

Brazil's environmental assets exchange BVRio on Tuesday launched an app that promises to help foreign traders and buyers of Brazilian timber make sure the product hasn't been illegally logged.

Editorial: Public lands and PAs big driver of US economy

One of America's greatest assets is our natural patrimony, with national parks and monuments, wildlife preserves, scenic rivers, and national forests containing some of the nation's most visited and treasured landscapes. However, beauty is not the only value of these places.

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

Long-time GWS members Galipeau, Faulkner honored by NPCA

Long-running efforts to improve public access to Channel Islands National Park, restore native species, and remove non-native species have not only improved the park off the California coast, but led to the superintendent and chief of natural resources management being honored for their work in those efforts.

All Island Press books 50% off until October 26

For over 30 years, Island Press, a nonprofit organization, has published important books on the environment, including conservation of protected places.  Their network of authors includes E.O.