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.

Over 700 attend GWS2015

Plenary videos now available on YouTube

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.

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)

Work underway to move 160-year-old lighthouse on Martha's Vineyard away from eroding shoreline

AQUINNAH, Mass. (AP) — An iconic lighthouse on Martha's Vineyard is set to begin a multi-day trek to a new home farther inland.

The $3 million effort to move the Gay Head Lighthouse, among the most endangered historic landmarks in the U.S., would prevent the 160-year-old structure from tumbling down the rapidly-eroding cliffside.

Gathering ponders how to increase relevance of US NPs to increasingly urban, diverse society

Several miles past the west entrance of Yosemite National Park, a wooden sign marks the location of an historic meeting. On May 17, 1903 President Theodore Roosevelt sat by a campfire with naturalist John Muir to discuss the preservation of America’s wild lands.

Mozambique: Country has lost half its elephants to poachers in past 5 years, conservationists report; much of illegal activity is in Niassa Reserve

Mozambique has lost half its elephants over the past five years, part of a wave of poaching driven by red-hot demand for ivory from fast-growing Asian economies such as China and Vietnam, a conservation organization said on Tuesday.

Scientists sound alarm for South American parrot, the vinaceous-breasted Amazon, as numbers plummet

Curitiba (Brazil) (AFP) - A South American parrot with a wine-colored chest is in deep trouble, with its population down to some 3,000 and a habitat reduced to a speck of what it once was, researchers said Tuesday.

Malaysia: Authorities uncover huge stash of buried timber illegally cut within Belum-Temengor forest reserve

Malaysian authorities have uncovered timber “mass graves” where illegal loggers attempted to conceal valuable timber following a government crackdown on unlawful logging that started in February.

Malaysia: Amount of totally protected area in Sabah now exceeds global targets, chief minister says

Sandakan: The State Forestry Department has embarked on many important programmes and formulated policies to attain good forest governance, apart from the implementation of Sustainable Forest Management (SFM).

One of the policies was the phasing out of the short-term forest licences in forest reserves, which was not sustainable.

India: Census show significant number of tigers outside PAs in Maharashtra's Chandrapur district

CHANDRAPUR: As many as 48 tigers have been found to be inhabiting outside the protected areas in forests of Chandrapur district in Maharashtra, taking the total number of such animals to 120 in the zone which is home to Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR).

EU: Check-up shows many MPAs in Natura 2000 network in poor or unknown ecological condition

EU - Many marine conservation areas set up by the EU are in unfavourable condition, according to a new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA).

The State of Nature report is a six-year assessment of the conservation status of threatened European habitats and species protected under the Natura 2000 network, the world’s largest network of nature conservation areas.

Study: International cooperation, rather than efforts at national level, key to more effective PA growth

Protected areas are the cornerstone to prevent species extinctions. The Convention on Biological Diversity have set a target to protect 17% of all terrestrial land by 2020.

Utah, USNPS reach accord on water rights within Arches NP

"This agreement allows us to continue to meet the needs of existing water users in the basin, while also meeting the needs of Arches National Park and its desire to protect the park's streams and springs."

In attempt to protect disappearing beach, Indiana Dunes NL installs stabilization fencing

With no available money to truck in 74,000 cubic yards of sand to replenish one of their beaches, officials at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore are hoping fencing and vegetation will help them preserve a beachfront that storms last fall took a big chunk out of.

Ecuador: Eruption on Galapagos island of Isabela near only habitat of rare iguana, NP officials say

A volcano perched atop one of Ecuador's Galapagos Islands erupted in the early hours of Monday, the local authorities said, potentially threatening a unique species of pink iguanas.

New Zealand: Entire habitat of Maui's dolphin, population fewer than 50, should be no-take zone, activists plead

The smallest and rarest marine dolphin in the world could be extinct within 15 years if protection is not stepped up, new research suggests.

Conservationists say the remaining population of Maui's dolphins has dropped below 50.

Editorial: If ISIS destroys Palmyra, it won't be as bad as we think

THE guard from the antiquities authority was asleep when I arrived at the Temple of Bel, deep in the Syrian desert. Not unreasonable, given that it was before visiting hours, maybe 5:30 a.m., and almost totally dark. A ribbon of purple on the horizon hinted at sunrise, and the war raging over there, in Iraq.

Editorial: Keep glamour camping out of our state parks—we need more equality in recreation opportunity, not segregation by income

SEATTLE — AH, Memorial Day weekend — the traditional opening day of camping season. The s’mores! The smell of wood smoke!

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.

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.