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


Check out these recent publications by GWS members:


Promising Pathways

Parks Canada Aboriginal engagement guide


The Land is Our Teacher

Celebration of collaboration between Aboriginal peoples and Parks Canada


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)

Analysis: Preservationists voice despair as Islamist militants step up systematic campaign to destroy "pagan" antiquities

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Islamic State militants have razed a fifth-century Roman Catholic monastery and blown up one of the best-preserved first-century temples in Palmyra, the ancient Syrian city that is one of the world’s most important archaeological sites, according to government officials and local activists.

Analysis: USNPS takes a fresh look at Reconstruction Era; lack of site "biggest gap in the park service by far"

BEAUFORT, S.C. — Growing up in Kingstree, S.C., in the 1960s, Michael Allen never knew the town had elected a black mayor in the years after the Civil War. There was no monument dedicated to the man’s memory. He was never mentioned in school.

Parkwire on vacation through September 2

Parkwire will be off for the next 8 days while your editor gets out into the backcountry of one his favorite protected areas.  We'll resume on September 3 and get you caught up with all the stories that come in during the interim.

Editorial: North Dakota county jumped gun in opposing proposal for NMon in and near Theodore Roosevelt NP's Elkhorn Ranch Unit

On Aug. 4, the National Trust for Historic Preservation presented a draft proposal for legislation to create a Theodore Roosevelt Elkhorn Ranchlands National Monument to the Billings County Commission. The commission responded by unanimously passing a resolution opposing the proposal.

India: 2016 deadline set for declaring ecologically sensitive zones around PAs

Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar today set March 31, 2016 as deadline for declaring Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZs) around 624 Protected Areas.

Addressing mediapersons here today, Mr Javadekar said despite the Supreme Court order of 2006 for demarcation of ESZs, no work was done.

To stem Islamist destruction of heritage, world must cut off markets for illegal artifacts, UNESCO chief says

DAMASCUS, Syria — Islamic State extremists in Syria and Iraq are engaged in the "most brutal, systematic" destruction of ancient sites since World War II, the head of the U.N. cultural agency said Friday — a stark warning that came hours after militants demolished a 1,500-year-old monastery in central Syria.

Based on past experience, Appalachian Trail mangers expect jump in hikers after release next month of Hollywood movie

MARYVILLE, Tenn. -- National Park officials are expecting a spike in traffic along the Appalachian Trail after the release next month of a Hollywood film about two hikers who attempt to conquer the 2,190-mile route.

Habituated bear, cubs removed to zoo from Grand Teton NP

Day trippers and backpackers who failed to properly stow their coolers, packs and tote bags while enjoying a day at String, Leigh and Jenny lakes and the nearby backcountry in Grand Teton National Park are responsible for a sow black bear and her cub being sent to a zoo in South Dakota for the rest of their lives.

Analysis: Yellowstone NP's experience with social media after bear euthanization points out need for faster response, biologist says

It didn't take long - less than seven or eight minutes - to kill the grizzly. First, she was immobilized with a drug, and then the equivalent of a shot to her brain, and it was over. The killing brought an end to this bear which attacked, and partially consumed, a hiker in Yellowstone National Park. But the controversy, fanned by Social Media comments, lives on.

Nepal: Government reopens Mount Everest to climbers for first time since deadly April avalanches

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Nepal has opened Mount Everest to climbers for the first time since an earthquake-triggered avalanche in April killed 19 mountaineers and ended the popular spring climbing season.

Over 10 tons of marine trash removed from Alaska NP beaches in coordinated cleanup

Over 21,800 pounds (10.9 tons) of marine debris were removed this summer from 25 miles of Gulf of Alaska coastline across Wrangell-St. Elias Park and Preserve, Kenai Fjords National Park, and Katmai National Park and Preserve with help from numerous volunteers and cooperators. 

Syria: Islamist militants blow up ancient Temple of Baalshamin, part of Palmyra WH site

Militants from the Islamic State destroyed a temple in the ancient ruins of Palmyra in Syria, activists and government officials said on Sunday, continu

Philippines: Discovery of eagles in Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary prompts tighter controls

DAVAO CITY: The initial findings of the Department of Envi- ronment and Natural Resources (DENR) showed that Philippine Eagle, Pamana, was found at the periphery of the buffer zone in Mt. Hamiguitan where there are inhabited communities.

NOAA to investigate spate of whale deaths in Alaska

Federal officials said Thursday they’ve launched a probe about the mysterious deaths of dozens of whales whose carcasses have washed up on Alaskan gulf shores over the last four months. 

Editorial: Islamist militants use historic sites for everything except preservation

The beheading by the Islamic State of “Mr. Palmyra,” Khalid al-Asaad, the retired chief of antiquities for historic Syrian site, Palmyra was the latest insult to both the citizens and the cultural heritage of the territory it conquers.

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

Call for Papers: The 7th National Forum on Historic Preservation Practice

The year 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act, which responded admirably to the many challenges then facing our country’s historic and prehistoric heritage.

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