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.
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Registration now open!

(POSTED January 17, 2014) — The earlybird registration deadline is beginning to loom on the horizon ... register by February 6 and save! Click the link below and then select "Register" from the menu to get started!)

The George Wright Society Conference on Parks, Protected Areas, and Cultural Sites is coming to the Bay Area! Plan now to join us in Oakland, California, the week of March 29–April 3, 2015, for "Engagement, Education, and Expectations: The Future of Parks and Protected Areas." Our biennial conference is all about reflection, reconnection, and renewal — a week of stimulating discussion about leading-edge research, innovative practices, and foundational values. GWS2015 is your place to engage with colleagues who share your commitment to excellence ... to educate yourself about the latest trends and ideas ... to raise expectations for yourself and your career! New for 2015: the GWS mobile conference app! You'll be able to navigate the meeting from your mobile device with this free app. It's coming soon, so watch this space! 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:


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


Action on the Ground III • Parks Canada

Latest on Parks Canada's ecological integrity program


To Conserve Unimpaired • Robert B. Keiter

Analysis of the evolution of the national park idea


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)

High surf damages areas of Puuhonua o Honaunau NHP

The National Park Service is continuing to assess damage caused by last week’s high surf, especially on the Kona coast of the Big Island.

While Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historic Park is open, several areas that were flooded and sustained damage remain closed, including the picnic area, royal grounds and a coastal trail.

Illinois lawmaker wants new lottery game to benefit SHSs

SPRINGFIELD — A state lawmaker who otherwise opposes gambling wants to restore historic sites in Illinois with money from the lottery.

State Rep. John Cavaletto, R-Salem, has introduced legislation to create a specialty scratch-off ticket to raise cash for the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.

China: New NP in works in Qinghai Province near source of Lancang, Yangtze, and Yellow rivers

XINING, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) -- China plans to build a national park in the Sanjiangyuan region, the cradle of the Yangtze, Yellow and Lancang rivers in northwest China's Qinghai Province.

A guideline for the park has been completed by a design institute under the State Forestry Administration, Wang Enguang, chief engineer with Qinghai's forestry department, told Xinhua on Tuesday.

Editorial: An architectural icon of the 20th century threatened by radical makeover

Unless county legislators act quickly, a paragon of midcentury American idealism will be lost.

Editorial: Obama's timing on ANWR wilderness proposal "just right"

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge covers only a small part of Alaska. Smaller still is the coastal plain of the refuge, a narrow, 1.5 million-acre strip flanking the Beaufort Sea.

Mexico: Number of monarch butterflies reaching wintering-ground forests up 69%, but overall numbers still low

The number of Monarch butterflies that reached wintering grounds in Mexico has rebounded 69 percent from last year's lowest-on-record levels, but their numbers remain very low, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

UK: Amendment would ban fracking in NPs, SSSIs

Fracking will be banned in national parks, sites of special scientific interest and other "protected areas" after MPs approved a last-minute amendment to the Infrastructure Bill.

Noted park scholar "really surprised" at high-horsepower boating provision in Ozark NSR draft management plan

A much-awaited General Management Plan for Ozark National Scenic Riverways, one that in its draft stages drew calls for the park to be given to the state of Missouri, reflects political pressures and not the best environmental protections for the Riverways, according to one observer.

Attempts by concessioners to trademark iconic NP-related names might be obviated by new law

Efforts by concessionaires to capitalize on the names of such iconic lodges as The Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park and the El Tovar Hotel in Grand Canyon National Park might prove to be pointless under a section of the U.S. Code.

Poland: "We survivors do not want our past to be our children's future": gathering at Auschwitz WH site urges world not to forget

Auschwitz survivors have urged the world not to allow a repeat of the crimes of the Holocaust as they mark 70 years since the camp's liberation.

"We survivors do not want our past to be our children's future," Roman Kent, born in 1929, told a memorial gathering at the death camp's site in Poland.

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 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:

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.