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.

Announcing the 2017 GWS Conference
Come join us in Virginia!

Proposals now being accepted through September 30


Plan to join us in Norfolk, Virginia, next April for "Connections Across People, Place, and Time," the 2017 George Wright Society Conference on Parks, Protected Areas, and Cultural Sites. It's your once-every-two-years opportunity to connect with the latest ideas and core values of the international parks community! Find out more


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


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!


Donate now button

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

Former officials headline rally against potential expansion of Papahanaumokuakea Marine NMon

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Government, community and business leaders rallied together at the state Capitol on Tuesday to address their opposition to the proposed expansion of a national marine monument.

Analysis: ICCAs not same as PAs

On the northwest Iberian peninsula, in Galicia, local communities manage more than 2,800 mountains. The Spanish coastline includes 230 cofradías: ancient, locally run governance systems that provide 83 percent of the country’s fishing employment and 95 percent of all Spanish ships.

Man gets jail time, fine for vandalizing Roosevelt Arch in Yellowstone NP

A Texas man was sentenced Tuesday for carving his initials into the iconic Roosevelt Arch at Yellowstone National Park.

U.S Magistrate Judge Mark Carman ordered Dakota Tipton to serve three days in jail, pay a $250 restitution fee for repairs, and $40 in court fees.

Enviros sue USNPS over O&G exploration approval in Big Cypress NPres

A National Park Service decision to allow for oil exploration in Big Cypress National Preserve on Wednesday drew a lawsuit from a coalition of environmental groups that fear the seismic work could adversely impact wildlife including the endangered Florida panther and pose a threat to "drinking water for many South Floridians."

Biologists dispute scientific justification behind USFWS proposal to delist gray wolves

Research by UCLA biologists published today in the journal Science Advances presents strong evidence that the scientific reason advanced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove the gray wolf from protection under the Endangered Species Act is incorrect.

Cadre of scientists ring warning bell for mass extinction of megafauna

A team of conservation biologists is calling for a worldwide strategy to prevent the unthinkable: the extinction of the world's largest mammal species.

New Zealand: In "world-first" plan, government aims to eliminate all invasive predators by mid-century

The New Zealand government has announced a “world-first” project to make the nation predator free by 2050.

Mexico: Soon, gill-netting & night fishing will be banned in Gulf of California to protect rare porpoise — the vaquita

From September, Mexico will permanently ban the use of gillnets throughout the range of vaquita porpoise (Phocoena sinus) in the upper Gulf of California. With just 60 individuals remaining in the wild, the vaquita porpoise is the world’s smallest, rarest and most threatened marine mammal.

Canada: 4 new NHSs designated

Canada has designated four new sites to its national list of historic places, including one of the first theaters for “talking” movies and a private club in Victoria, British Columbia.

Indonesia: Zamrud NP declared; occupies peatland area targeted by palm oil producers

Zamrud National Park is located in the Siak district of Riau province, whose vast peat swamp zones have been widely drained and dried for oil palm and pulpwood production, creating the conditions for the annual fires that envelop the region in a toxic haze. During September and October last year, the fires released more carbon than the entire EU.

NGO thinks plan to renovate historic chateau in Oregon Caves NMon doesn't go far enough

OREGON CAVES NATIONAL MONUMENT — The National Park Service plans an $8 million to $10 million upgrade in 2018 for the Oregon Caves Chateau, work that everyone agrees is needed.

But the Friends of the Oregon Caves and Chateau thinks the restoration plans will fall short of covering all the necessary upgrades and repairs and fears it will take too long to get

Editorial: USNPS's map of sound levels will be used by opponents of wind farms

The National Park Service just did a major disservice to anti-wind energy activists.

Feature: Muir's attitudes toward Indigenous people were anything but enlightened to start, but they evolved

It’s quite possible that America’s future was changed on the evening of March 6, 1867, in a factory that manufactured carriage parts in the booming railroad city of Indianapolis. 

Analysis: Does USNPS have a culture problem?

When I studied public historians within a large U.S. national park for my dissertation research 12 years ago, I was left with some questions that I’ve been pondering ever since and that have kept coming to the surface in various ways in more recent years.

Oregon senator: Obama knows about strong local opposition to possible Owyhee NMon

ONTARIO, Ore. — The Obama administration is well aware of the strong local opposition to a proposed national monument in Malheur County, U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden told Eastern Oregon residents on July 21.

Malheur County residents who asked Wyden during an annual town hall meeting whether he supports the proposed national monument said they didn’t receive a definite answer.

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