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 32, no. 1 • May 2015

The National Park Service Centennial Essay Series: “Triage” for managing cultural resources threatened by climate change

ActivistsArchaeologist Michelle L. Berenfeld says it's time for clear thinking about a troubling topic: that we will have to make conscious decisions about what to save and what to let go in planning for cultural resources threatened by climate change. 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!

Donate now button

Parkwire: GWS's daily digest of global protected area news (follow us via RSS, Twitter @parkwire, or Facebook)

Twenty-four sites added to WH List in annual meeting

A popular wine region in France, an ancient settlement in Turkey and a famous battle site in the US are among two dozen properties that have been added to the UN’s list of world heritage sites.

Saudi Arabia: Major pre-Arab rock art site honored by UNESCO

The World Heritage Committee of UNESCO inscribed rock art in the Hail region on the World Heritage List Friday afternoon.

Two other cultural sites, Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalú and Monreale in Italy; Baptism Site “Bethany Beyond the Jordan” (Al-Maghtas) in Jordan were also added to the list, a UNSECO press release said.

Turkey: Ancient city of Ephesus named WH site

 The ancient city of Ephesus in western Turkey has been inscribed to the World Heritage List of the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO).

Uruguay: Fray Bentos meat-packing complex elevated to WH status

 The Fray Bentos Cultural-Industrial Landscape is located on land projecting into the Uruguay River west of the town of Fray Bentos, the industrial complex was built following the development of a factory founded in 1859 to process meat produced on the vast prairies nearby.

Jordan: WH recognition comes for site of Jesus' baptism

The site in Jordan believed to be where Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist has been designated a world heritage site by the UN's education, science and culture arm, UNESCO.

Germany: Hamburg's Speicherstadt, historic maritime warehouse district, joins WH laureate sites

The UN cultural agency has designated Hamburg's historic maritime warehouse and business districts, boasting early 20th century German brick architecture, as world heritage sites.


France: UNESCO recognizes winemaking regions of Champagne, Burgundy

The San Antonio Franciscan Missions have been named Texas’ first world heritage site and the United States its 23rd designation.

Israel: Catacombs of Beit She’arim, headquarters of the Sanhedrin, get WH status

The incomparable ancient catacombs at the Second Temple-era town of Beit She’arim joined the UNESCO World Heritage List on Sunday.

Scotland: Victorian-era Forth Bridge named country's 6th WH site

The Forth Bridge, that majestic, russet-hued testament to Victorian engineering, has been confirmed by Unesco as Scotland’s sixth world heritage site.

Japan: Controversial Meiji industrial sites get WH status after government agrees to acknowledge role of forced labor

Unesco has decided to grant world heritage status to more than 20 old industrial sites in Japan after officials from the country agreed to acknowledge that some of them used Korean forced labourers before and during the second world war.

San Antonio Missions NHP named to WH List

(CNN)The Lone Star State isn't quite so lonely after earning a spot on an elite list kept by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Editorial: The scientific justification for a Boulder–White Clouds NMon is solid

Much has been said on the political context of the Boulder-White Clouds, but recently, a group of 19 retired biologists and resource managers, including me, felt compelled to look at the issue through the dispassionate lens of science.

Scotland: Fishermen's federation accuses minister of "breach of trust" over new management rules in MPAs

Fishermen are to express their "anger and dismay" over changes to fishing rules with the secretary for rural affairs next week.

New system at Statue of Liberty NMon should cut light pollution

Be sure to check out the Statue of Liberty's webcams on Tuesday, when a new LED lighting system will highlight Lady Liberty's best sides while reducing light pollution.

Editorial: Time to trim US national park system

It is time to rethink the direction and management of the National Park System. It is time to ask if the system has grown so large that it is unmanageable and not fundable.

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 helps sponsor study tour of US protected areas by Bosnian park managers

Director Amarildo Mulić and Assistant Director Haris Hadžihajdarević, are the managers of Una National Park (UNP) in Bosnia I Herzegovina, Eastern Europe.  In April and May 2015, the George Wright Society acted as the fiscal sponsor for a grant from the Trust for Mutual Understanding that allowed Amarildo and Haris to participate in an international study tour of national parks and protect

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.