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.

On the Horizon:
The 2016 World Ranger Congress

Front-line rangers (game wardens, guardaparques, etc.) from around the world will be gathering May 21-27 in Colorado for the International Ranger Federation's 8th World Ranger Congress. GWS is helping organize logistics and we will be on-scene all week. We'll post daily updates from the Congress here ... watch this space!

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

Volume 33, no. 1 • April 2016

The National Park Service Centennial Essay Series: "We shouldn’t pay for access to our right to understand"

Duncan Morrow is passionate about making America's national parks available to all, regardless of their ability to pay. It's time for Congress to fully fund them, he says, because to continue to treat them shabbily is "unjust for the best of America." Read the essay

GWS's NPS Centennial Essay Series: An Appraisal

As the National Park Service celebrates its hundredth anniversary this year, we in the GWS are preparing to wrap up our 10-year-long NPS Centennial Essay Series. Here, we share some thoughts on the essay series from Nona Dennis, editor of the newsletter of the Marin Conservation League in California. Her reflections are part of a larger article on the NPS centennial, posted here with permission.

NPS Centennial Commentaries: The National Park Idea

Golden Gate NRA • Rolf Diamant

Long-time GWS member Robert Manning is doing a year-long series of monthly audio commentaries on the US national parks for Vermont Public Radio. In the second installment, Bob explores how the national park system has changed since its beginnings. Each commentary runs about two-and-a-half minutes. Listen here:

"The National Park Idea"

Each of Bob's commentaries will connect to a topic covered in the new book "A Thinking Person's Guide to America's National Parks," sales of which benefit the GWS. More info on the book is further down this column.

Post & view job openings on our website!

As a service to the protected areas community, you can now post job openings, and search them, on the GWS website. All employment opportunities related to parks, protected areas, and cultural sites are welcome for listing.

Submit a job posting

View job postings

GWS2017 is coming to Virginia!

The 2017 George Wright Society Conference on Parks, Protected Areas, and Cultural Sites will be held in Norfolk, Virginia, April 2-7. We'll be meeting at the Marriott Waterside Hotel for the 19th in this series of conferences with roots dating back to 1976. Click here to be notified when the Call for Proposals comes out in June 2016. (GWS members will be notified automatically.)

We thank everyone who attended the 2015 meeting in Oakland, 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. As well, you can view or download over 50 PowerPoint presentations shared by presenters.

Check out these recent publications by GWS members:

A Thinking Person's Guide to America's National Parks

A popular guide to the entire national park system, focusing on the big ideas that you can explore in the over 400 national parks of the USA — and all sales benefit the GWS!

America's National Park System: The Critical Documents

New edition of classic reference on NPS history

Rosy Ralph Visits His National Parks

Children's book inspires a sense of wonder about parks

I Survived: My Name is Yitzkhak

Tale of WWII survivor

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

More publications by GWS members

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)

Shortly after South Africa withdraws its own, Swaziland files late proposal to CITES to legalize rhino horn trade

The southern African kingdom of Swaziland has filed an eleventh-hour proposal to legalize international trade in rhino horn, less than a week after South Africa abandoned a similar proposal.

Cambodia: Government announces PA in critical forest zone, but enviros say it doesn't go far enough

A landmark decision by Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen could see almost a million hectares of forest reclassified as protected areas in a country with one of the highest deforestation rates in the world.

Paraguay: Newly discovered lizard species found in private PA, but future uncertain as entire reserve is for sale

Tropidurus is a ubiquitous genus of lizard endemic to South America, and now there are three new species amongst its ranks.

Wildfire in Shenandoah NP contained after affecting 10,000ac; some ecological benefits seen

ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va (WVIR) - The Rocky Mount Fire in the Shenandoah National Park is fully contained Saturday night.

That fire sparked two weeks ago and consumed about 10,000 acres. Saturday, the National Park Service says that doesn't mean the forest is destroyed.

Researchers in Noatak NPres look to traditional ecological knowledge for help in understanding caribou

For the past few decades, Noatak National Preserve has experienced a rise in the number of pilots that bring nonlocal hunters to this popular caribou hunting hotspot.

Civil War Trust launches major campaign to buy parcel overlapping Chancellorsville and Wilderness battlefields

The largest Fredericksburg-area battlefield preservation effort in years is underway, with less than 100 days to seal the deal.

Homestead NMon of America scrambles to obtain tractor of last official homesteader

A Nebraska-to-Alaska rescue operation is gearing up to save the tractor used by America’s last homesteader.

Local opposition fierce to idea of USNPS purchasing rapids along Niobrara National Scenic River

LINCOLN — Quietly, over the last few months, the National Park Service has been working to buy Rocky Ford, an iconic stretch of white-water rapids on the scenic Niobrara River.

Remains of "Kennewick Man" subject to NAGPRA after Army Corps rules them to have been those of a Native American

The 8,500-year-old remains of the so-called Kennewick Man whose almost complete skeleton was discovered in Washington state in 1996 are Native American, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has concluded after studying new information.

Biologists using catch-and-release to track species' responses to climate change in Joshua Tree NP

Two biologists walked through the desert in Joshua Tree National Park, scanning the ground beneath creosote bushes for shiny metal boxes.

Some of the shoe-sized traps held bait that hadn’t been touched – a mixture of oats and peanut butter. Others had snapped shut and captured small animals.

Federal charges lodged against 4 men alleged to have vandalized, stolen gear from Timpanogos Cave NMon

SALT LAKE CITY — Four men face federal charges for allegedly vandalizing a historic building and stealing emergency gear at Timpanogos Cave National Monument more than a year ago.

Despite repeated assurances of safety from officials, new NOAA report finds massive damage to Miami coral reef from dredging by Army Corps

MIAMI — The large-scale dredging of Miami’s port to accommodate the newest generation of freighters, an undertaking that prompted a long-running battle with environmentalists, caused widespread damage to a portion of the area’s fragile and already distressed coral reef, according to a new report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

India: Government's claim of tiger conservation success "ridiculous and unscientific," critic says

n the year 1900, there may have been as many or more than 100,000 tigers roaming this planet's forests. And every year since then until now, that number has decreased. But a combination of better and broader monitoring techniques and, governments say, increased vigilance against poachers has led to the first increase in tiger numbers in over a century — to 3,890 this year.

Editorial: Proposed mine threatens Mexico's incomparable monarch butterfly reserve, but big enviro groups strangely quiet about it

THE national tourism agency calls the Mexican mountain town of Angangueo a “Pueblo Mágico.” If so, it is a dark magic.

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 member launches newsletter on privately run protected areas

Brent Mitchell, chair of the Specialist Group on Privately Protected Areas and Nature Stewardship of IUCN's World Commission on Protected Areas, has created a newsletter to help elevate the recognition, understanding and integrity of private conservation world-wide.  Called The Stivrdr, this occasional newsletter takes its name from an Old Norse word meaning keeper of the house, which even

Latest Park Break Perspectives paper: a social science needs assessment

We have just published the thirteenth paper in our Park Break Perspectives Series.  The series is a set of web-based research papers and essays produced by graduate students who have taken part on the GWS's Park Break program.  The papers were developed in consultation with faculty members, park scientists, and other park professionals.  Park Break Perspectives offers fresh looks