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. 2 • August 2016


The National Park Service Centennial Essay Series: The Organic Act is only half the mission of NPS

The NPS Centennial Essay wraps up with an essay by Denis P. Galvin, who draws attention to the "other half" of the Park Service mission: the more than three dozen external and partnership programs that agency is responsible for. Read the essay


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:


National Park Roads: A Legacy in the American Landscape

Definitive history of road systems in US national parks


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


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)

Some enviros complain of lax protections in proposed management plan for San Gabriel Mountains NMon

The U.S. Forest Service’s management plan for the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument was described as vague and toothless by numerous stakeholder groups who have reviewed the plan since its release earlier this week.

India: Only 3 of 11 Haryana PAs have had adjacent lands declared as "eco-senstive zones"

Of the 11 proposed protected areas (PAs) of the state, only three have been notified as eco-sensitive zones (ESZ) by the Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change (MOEFCC). The remaining ones are either still stuck with the state government or the Centre.

Florida: Officials looking an expanding PAs to benefit high-profile bird species

Florida wildlife authorities may expand protected areas for some of the state’s most iconic and imperiled bird species like roseate spoonbills and brown pelicans.

Some of these areas would be in Brevard and Volusia counties.

full story

Tanzania: Poilce dogs help identify, apprehend ivory poachers

In a bust earlier this month, two detector dogs helped seize illegal ivory in a village outside Tanzania’s Ruaha National Park.

These dogs — Jenny, a Belgian Malinois dog, and Dexter, an English springer spaniel — are members of a new team of specially trained dogs and handlers from Tanzanian National Parks (TANAPA), according to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

Cameroon: Whistleblowers unearth US government cables urging approval of controversial palm oil plantation near critical PAs

Cables obtained by the non-profit Oakland Institute through a Freedom of Information Act request reveal that U.S. government officials pushed the Central African nation of Cameroon to approve a deeply controversial oil palm development owned by Herakles Farms despite full knowledge of the project’s negative impacts on the environment and local communities.

Myanmar: Earthquake damages numerous historic structures on Bagan plains

A 6.8-magnitude earthquake in central Myanmar on Wednesday killed four people and damaged dozens of ancient structures dotting the plains of Bagan.

President Htin Kyaw visited the area on Thursday to see the damage and discuss how to repair it with local officials.

full story

China: Can a new NP save the country's wild tigers, leopards?

Feng Limin follows the lives of China's scarcest wild cats like a soap opera fan. He has never encountered one, but thanks to a network of motion-sensing cameras in the forests along China's borders with Russia and North Korea, the biologist has glimpsed a total of 27 Siberian tigers and 42 Amur leopards as they breed and prey on deer and wild boar. The spying has paid off for the big cats.

Fire that consumed historic barn in Ozark NSR was set deliberately, investigators conclude

A reward of up to $5,000 is being offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for setting on fire the historic Wallace Barn that burned to the ground earlier this month in Ozark National Scenic Riverways in Missouri.

Editorial: USNPS needs to go back a bit, to move forward

The candles have all been blown out, the balloons popped, and nothing but crumbs are left from the many birthday cakes that marked the National Park Service’s 100th birthday. Now what?

Now it is time to restore the National Park Service into what it was always meant to be—an agency committed to protecting the crown jewels of America against anything injurious to their grandeur.

Study finds early 20th-century excisions from Yosemite NP cost it third of original extent; not even iconic parks exempt from PADDD

During a 32-year-period early in the 20th century, roughly one-third of Yosemite National Park in California was removed from the park so the land could be opened to natural resource extraction, according to an analysis published in Ecology and Society.

Managers expect months-long closing of Washington Monument to fix balky elevator

Repairs to the elevator at the Washington Monument are taking longer than expected, with officials not expecting it to be up and running before mid-September. Down the road, a nine-month closure of the iconic Washington, D.C., destination is expected to allow for modernization of the elevator.

Washington state officials plan to kill off entire wolf pack after repeated livestock depredations; 6 of 11 already gunned down

Wildlife agents authorized to eradicate a group of 11 wolves for repeated attacks on cattle in Washington state have hunted down and killed six animals from the condemned pack and are searching for the rest, a state game official said on Monday.

Zimbabwe: All 700 of country's rhinos to be dehorned to discourage poachers, wildlife group says

Zimbabwe plans to dehorn its 700-strong rhino population to discourage poaching after 50 animals were illegally killed last year, a wildlife conservation group said on Tuesday.

Like other parks, Yellowstone NP grappling with how to manage crowds

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. — On a Monday morning early this month at the Terrace Grill in Mammoth Hot Springs, it was hard to tell that this park is breaking visitation records every month.

Puukohola Heiau to be reconsidered as NHL as USNPS re-does study

HILO — The public is getting another chance to weigh in on the designation of Puukohola Heiau as a national historic landmark, as the National Park Service conducts a study that could enlarge or decrease the size of the site itself.

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

Inaugural GWS Student Summit draws chapter members together to consider "passing of the torch"

Late last month, members of GWS Student Chapters participated the inaugural GWS Student Summit.  The meeting, held in Glacier National Park (USA), was proposed, programmed, organized, and led entirely by the students.  The University of Montana and the National Park Service co-hosted the event.

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.