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. 2 • September 2015

The National Park Service Centennial Essay Series: NPS should let some parks be run under a franchise

ActivistsThe National Park Service is woefully underfunded, and a fractious Congress is unlikely to fix that. Economist Holly Fretwell's solution? Let the agency create a franchise under which some parks could be run by private concerns. 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!

Donate now button

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

Zimbabwe: Elephant poisoning toll reaches 11 in Hwange NP; 3 more killed by poachers' cynade in Matsudona NP

Fourteen elephants have been poisoned by cyanide in Zimbabwe, two years after poachers killed more than 200 elephants by poisoning, the National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority said.

Extension of fall shoulder season seen as key to Yellowstone NP's record-breaking attendance

BOZEMAN, MONT. — Yellowstone National Park has set a new record this year with more than 3.8 million visits at the end of September, and is on track to top 4 million visits by the year's end.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports that according to park statistics, the number of recreational visits this year has surpassed a 2010 record of more than 3.6 million by nearly 5 percent.

Editorial: NPs based on discredited, racist ideas that continue to destroy indigenous communities

This year Yosemite celebrates its 125th anniversary. Next year sees 100 years of the National Park Service. Will Native Americans be celebrating “America’s best idea?” Probably not. The thousands of tribal people in Asia and Africa destroyed in its name certainly won’t be.

Indonesia: Government asks big palm oil producers to soften no-deforestation pledges

The Indonesian government is asking major palm oil companies to row back on the historic “no deforestation” pledges they made at last year’s United Nations climate change summit, officials and company sources say.

Editorial: Congress needs to step up and reauthorize LWCF, fund NPs

With the National Park Service’s 100th birthday in 2016, America is at a crossroads: We can choose to invest in our parks, or periodically close their doors. Now is the time for Congress to ensure that America’s more than 400 Park Service managed natural and historic sites are open and their treasured natural resources intact.

Editorial: Delay in creating a NP in Peru's Sierra del Devisor may not matter much, after all

On the one hand, the delay is inexplicable. For the last nine years, indigenous and conservation organizations have pressured the Peruvian government to create a new national park in the wild reaches of the Sierra del Divisor, in Peru’s far eastern rainforest.

Zimbabwe: Poachers kill 5 elephants in Hwange NP with cyanide

Five elephants in Zimbabwe’s biggest game reserve, Hwange National Park, have been killed and had their tusks removed after poachers poisoned them with cyanide, officials said.

Old commercial sites to be rebuilt as plaza, pathway at Paterson Great Falls NHP

PATERSON — Almost $2.8 million in federal and state funding has been earmarked for the creation of a river walk and plaza in the national park at the Great Falls, officials said.

Editorial: Solar energy facility should not be built near Mojave NPres

In my career as a caretaker of America’s national parks – including years spent as the superintendent of Joshua Tree National Park – I have been honored with the duty to follow the fundamental principle of using sound science and balanced policies to guide decisions affecting these lands that are owned by all Americans.

Editorial: Parks devoted to history of Cold War nuclear weapons glorify destruction

Plutonium was named after Pluto, "god of the underworld," Hades or hell. It was created inside faulty reactors, concentrated and machined by US scientists into the most devastating and horrifying of all weapons. Photos of what the Manhattan Project's plutonium bomb did to human beings at Nagasaki prove the point.

Field trials at Hanford Reach NMon help soil scientist zero in on natural bacterial control of cheatgrass

Cheatgrass could vie for the title of the most successful invasive species in North Amer

Tribes say Bears Ears NMon would be first true tribal/federal PA collaboration

Five Four Corners-area tribes have united to propose a 1.9 million–acre Bears Ears National Monument that would be the first truly collaborative land management effort between Native Americans and the federal government.

Waco Mammoth Site NMon officially dedicated

WACO (October 5, 2015)--The designation of the Waco Mammoth Site as a national monument should have a positive impact on the local economy, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said Monday.

Data show that every $1 the park service invests has a $4 impact on the local economy and a $10 impact on the national economy, she said.

Coalition wins delay of grazing permit at Canyon of the Ancients NMon

DURANGO, Colo. (AP) — A coalition of environmental groups has forced public land managers to delay a permit for grazing on Canyons of the Ancients National Monument.

Russia: With humans gone, wildlife flourishing in nature reserve around Chernobyl nuclear accident site

Oct 5 - Some 30 years after the world's worst nuclear accident blasted radiation across Chernobyl, the site has evolved from a disaster zone into a nature reserve, teeming with elk, deer and wolves, scientists said on Monday.

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

Free limited-time access to special Royal Society issue on "The biological impacts of artificial light at night"

Until the end of September, readers can get free access to a special issue of the scientific journal Royal Society Philosophical Transactions B on "The biological impacts of artificial light at night: from molecules to communities."

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.