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.

Conference program to be finalized shortly

(POSTED November 12, 2014) — The Conference Committee met last week to select proposals for GWS2015. They evaluates more than 500 submissions for sessions, papers, posters, and exhibits. We are putting the program together now and expect to announce it by November 25th.

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! The conference will kick off with a plenary panel discussion on the health/parks connection. Find out more

Sample the current issue of our journal, The George Wright Forum

Volume 31, no. 2 • August 2014

The National Park Service Centennial Essay Series: The experts, the public, and the gap in between

ActivistsUsing last year's US federal government shutdown as a case in point, Diane Barthel-Bouchier describes a growing segment of the public that is no longer willing to accept NPS expertise at face value, raising a host of challenging issues that boil down to two simple questions: Who's in charge here? and, Who should be? 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)

Italy: Man fined €20k for carving initial on Colosseum; largest penalty of its kind for defacing iconic Roman ruin

In the latest episode of tourists behaving badly in Rome, a Russian has been fined €20,000 (£15,800) for carving his initial into the Colosseum.

The 42-year-old tourist used a stone to carve a 25cm “K” into a wall inside the ancient amphitheatre. He was caught in the act by a guard and arrested by police, before being fined and given a four-month suspended prison sentence.

Analysis: In US, Glacier NP ponders future without its namesakes — a future that is coming faster than once thought

GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, Mont. — What will they call this place once the glaciers are gone?

Editorial: PAs still the most powerful tool to head off environmental disasters

SYDNEY, Australia — I PARTICIPATED in the World Parks Congress in Sydney last week and learned a new phrase: “a black elephant.”

USBLM denies permit for 200-MW solar farm near Death Valley NP & Mojave NPRes

The Bureau of Land Management rejected a controversial solar project near Death Valley National Park on Thursday, giving hope to environmentalists that regulators will keep renewable energy development away from the most sensitive parts of the desert.

Kenya: Nairobi NP faces numerous challenges from city's growth, conservationist says

It is an image famous in a thousand postcards: giraffe, rhino and zebra pacing the savannah with city skyscrapers towering in the background.

Bighorn sheep reintroduced to Arizona's Pusch Ridge Wilderness Area

(Reuters) - Fourteen bighorn sheep ambled out of a trailer into their new home in a southern Arizona mountain range on Thursday as part of an attempt to bring back an animal that disappeared from the landscape there in the 1990s, wildlife managers said.

Spain: Roman-era gold-mining complex found user airborne laser

Hidden under the vegetation and crops of the Eria Valley, in León (Spain), there is a gold mining network created by the Romans two thousand years ago, as well as complex hydraulic works, such as river diversions, to divert water to the mines of the precious metal. Researchers from the University of Salamanca made the discovery from the air with an airborne laser teledetection system.

Historic bridge vandalized at Upper Delaware NSR

Early on the morning of Saturday, November 15th, vandals used spray paint to leave their “tag” on the sidewalls and capstones of the historic Roebling Bridge in Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River.

WPC: Gabon announces expansive new MPA system

The first day of the IUCN 2014 World Parks Congress marked a significant win for the oceans.

Over $10M in aid coming to New Jersey historic sites damaged by Hurricane Sandy

More than $10 million in federal funding will help pay for preservation and repair work at historic properties in New Jersey that were damaged during Hurricane Sandy, state officials announced today, with the largest grant of $2 million set aside for the railroad terminal at Liberty State Park in Jersey City.

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 joins Great Lakes-Northern Forest CESU

In early September the Society received word that our application to join the Great Lakes-Northern Forest Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit has been accepted.  By joining the national CESU network, GWS will be able to more readily partner with federal agencies, universities, and nongovernmental organizations on projects of common interest.  The Great Lakes-Northern Forest is hosted b

New Parks Canada history website debuts / Lancement du nouveau site internet Histoire de Parcs Canada

A new website,, has been created providing access to electronic editions of publications with the aim of showcasing the rich history of the Canadian National Park System.