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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.

GWS2015 Day Two: Kathleen Dean Moore inspires!

Post about your conference plans! #GeorgeWright2015

Today is Day Two of GWS2015, and a packed house listened to Kathleen Dean Moore inspire us to step up to the challenge of not letting our standards for nature protection slide. She said, "Some of you may be asking, 'Why me? Why do I have to take on the moral challenge of protecting nature?' The answer is — it has to be you. It has to be all of us."

Over 600 people have gathered in Oakland for the 2015 George Wright Society Conference on Parks, Protected Areas, and Cultural Sites! The GWS biennial conference is all about reflection, reconnection, and renewal — a week of stimulating discussion about leading-edge research, innovative practices, and foundational values. Find out more
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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)

Company gives additional 22 acres to expand new Honouliuli NMon

Monsanto Hawaii, which has already donated 123 acres of agricultural land to help preserve the site of the Honouliuli Internment Camp in Kunia in Central Oahu, plans to give an additional 22 acres for the national monument site.

Last month, President Barack Obama signed a proclamation that officially establishes the Honouliuli National Monument under the National Park Service.

More bighorn sheep released at Sequoia & Yosemite NPs

There are more hooves clattering across the rocky high country of Yosemite and Sequoia national parks thanks to a multi-agency effort to bolster bighorn sheep populations in the parks.

Judge upholds backcountry fees at Great Smoky Mountains NP

A legal challenge to a backcountry user fee at Great Smoky Mountains National Park has failed, with a federal judge ruling the National Park Service was within its rights to levy the $4 per night per person fee.

Man convicted of damaging earthworks with truck at Hopewell Culture NHP

On the night February 22th, a 28-year-old man drove his 2008 Chevy Silverado truck into the middle of Hopewell Mound Group, a 2,000-year-old earthwork, in order to spotlight deer.

Transfer of Tule Springs Fossil Beds NMon to USNPS supervision is underway

Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument, at the northern edge of the Las Vegas Valley, is considered one of the richest and most wide-ranging collections of ice age bones on Earth, so the National Park Service sent its top man.

Mountain biking to be allowed for first time in Rocky Mountain NP

Long prohibited on the trails, mountain biking in Rocky Mountain National Park is a step closer to reality.

Last month, the National Park Service finalized a Finding of No Significant Impact report that sealed the deal for mountain biking to be allowed on a 2-mile stretch of trail on the park's west side near Grand Lake.

Ranching lobby turns thumbs down on proposed national historic trails commemorating cattle drives

Cattle drives during the latter half of the 19th century were a central thread in the nation's western expansion, as thousands of head of cattle were driven hundreds of miles to grazing lands and market. The grit, ruggedness, danger, and even romance of cattle drives spurred countless Westerns and fascinated television audiences glued to the Lonesome Dove miniseries in 1989.

Looking to avoid ESA restrictions, ranchers in Oregon reach agreement with government on sage grouse protections

(Reuters) - Oregon ranchers have reached a deal with the federal government aimed at conserving the greater sage grouse and its habitat while ensuring landowners won't face more restrictions if the bird is listed under the Endangered Species Act, officials said on Friday.

New land trust adds 42-acre inholding parcel to Carrizo Plain NMon

The Carrizo Plain Conservancy, a new land trust in San Luis Obispo County, has completed its first major purchase of land for conservation, acquiring the 42 acre Hebron property.

USBLM plan for O&G drilling near Dinosaur NMon includes beefed-up protections, but some relaxation too

A federal government plan for drilling in energy-rich northwestern Colorado released Friday includes stepped-up protections for public land near Dinosaur National Monument.

The proposal would also ease limits on what time of year drilling rigs can operate if energy companies consolidate well sites to minimize environmental disruptions.

USNPS director responds to "hardy perennia" issue of off-leash dogs in Golden Gate NRA

The National Park Service (NPS) has set a lot of goals for itself, everything from increasing  visitor diversity to improving collaborations with scientists. The latter is the focus of a conference at UC Berkeley this week, which NPS director Jonathan Jarvis is attending. While he’s in town, Jarvis stopped by KQED’s daily call-in show, Forum.

Editorial: Grand Canyon Watershed NMon would benefit everyone, Democratic lawmaker says

Arizonans are a spirited, strong-willed bunch. But there is something we all agree on: From hikers to hunters, from tribal nations to tourism authorities – we love the Grand Canyon.

The Grand Canyon is an environmental treasure, economic driver and essential water source for northern Arizona and the entire Southwest. For our Native American tribes, it is the home of sacred lands.

Editorial: User fees should go toward making up USNPS maintenance needs

There's no getting around that $11.5 billion is a large amount when it comes to tallying the cost of deferred maintenance in U.S. national parks.

It is all the more reason, we think, that the National Park Service ought to move forward with plans to modestly increase entrance fees.

Planning kicks off for Tennessee unit of Manhattan Project NHP

OAK RIDGE — In an Oak Ridge Civic Center room filled with memorabilia of this formerly secret city’s colorful history, a National Park Service executive said what all present knew, but were again delighted to hear.

“Congratulations,” Vic Knox, assistant director for park planning and facilities told the large crowd, “You’ve got a national park.”

USFWS allows importation of trophy from Namibian black rhino legally killed by hunter last year, angering animal rights groups

(Reuters) - A hunter who paid $350,000 last year at a Dallas auction for a license to hunt an endangered black rhino in Namibia will be able to bring home a trophy despite protests from animal rights groups that said the sale was immoral.

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.