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.

"Stories, and how to tell them" —
More observations from the 2016 World Ranger Congress

Front-line rangers (game wardens, guardaparques, etc.) from around the world are gathered this week (May 21-27) in Colorado for the International Ranger Federation's 8th World Ranger Congress. GWS helped organize logistics and Emily Dekker-Fiala and Dave Harmon are on-scene all week. Click here for some of Dave's observations of this important international event.

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

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. Each of Bob's commentaries 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.

Listen here:

"The Best View"
"The National Park Idea"
"Ways to Experience the Parks"
"The Balance between Building Constituency and Preservation"

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!

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

New Zealand: Court hears arguments in appeal of downsizing of Ruahine Forest Park to allow building of dam

The Court of Appeal has heard Forest & Bird's appeal against the High Court approval of the downgrade of conservation land for Hawke's Bay's $900 million Ruataniwha water storage project.

In February the High Court approved a land swap in the Ruahine Forest Park between the Department of Conservation (DoC) and the Hawke's Bay Regional Council, to enable the dam to be built.

Cambodia: New PA created in Western Siem Pang forest

A new protected area in northern Cambodia has raised hopes for the future of five critically endangered bird species.

USNPS chief denies new philanthropy regulations will encourage creeping commercialization of parks

I am often asked about the role of corporate partners and how their philanthropy supports the National Park System. More recently, I’ve heard concerns about commercialization attaching itself to the national parks themselves. I always welcome the opportunity to have an open conversation about the great need for philanthropic support for national parks.

Acknowledging the capricious nature of a barrier island, management at Assateague Island may change significantly

During the three-day storm that battered Maryland this January, ocean waves blasted through one of the dunes that protects Assateague Island National Seashore, burying 10 campsites under six feet of sand.

And with summer vacation season about to start, those sites are still covered.

Looters strike Petersburg NB: "This is an affront to the memory of people who fought and died on this field"

Petersburg, Virginia - While Americans this weekend honor citizens who gave their lives in defense of home and country, the National Park Service is investigating looting that took place at a Civil War battlefield earlier in the week. The initial assessment at Petersburg National Battlefield identified a large number of excavations in the park.

Cambodia: Government to start downsizing PAs to legitimize questionable land concessions; 36,000ha already cut out of Botum Sakor NP

Between 2009 and 2012, the Ministry of Environment went on nationwide leasing spree, signing over vast swaths of the country’s nominally protected areas to private companies for rubber plantations and other agribusiness ventures.

Norway: Government becomes first in world to commit to zero-deforestation procurement policy

In what’s being hailed as a groundbreaking move, the Norwegian parliament pledged today that the government’s public procurement policy will be going deforestation-free.

Editorial: Want to take extreme risks? You should pay the cost for rescue

Each year roughly 1,000 climbers set out to scale Mount Everest, and each year some of them meet tragic ends on the mountain’s heights.

Design competition envisions radically different future memorials around DC

Eighty-nine teams from eight countries submitted ideas to federal planning and parks officials for Memorials for the Future, a competition aimed at developing new ways for commemorating American people, events and ideas in and around Washington.

Sans mention of Australia, new UN report outlines possible devastating impacts to WH sites by climate change

Stonehenge eroding under the forces of extreme weather. The city of Venice slowly collapsing into its canals.

At Australian government request, all references to country's WH sites removed from new report over fears of tourism impacts

Every reference to Australia was scrubbed from the final version of a major UN report on climate change after the Australian government intervened, objecting that the information could harm tourism.

Minneapolis/St. Paul greenspaces place them atop list of 100 best US city park systems

If you live in Minneapolis, there’s a 95 percent chance you live within a 10-minute walk to a park.

That bragging right, plus a few others, make Minneapolis’s parks system the best of the 100 biggest cities in the country, beating out its next-door neighbor, St. Paul, for the top spot.

Editorial: Climate denial in Australia's right wing can't be reconciled with mass bleaching of Great Barrier Reer

MELBOURNE, Australia — Tim Flannery, a scientist and environmentalist who was named Australian of the Year in 2007, lost his job in 2013.

Australia: Labor Party promises to double the number of Indigenous rangers if elected

A federal Labor government will double the number of Indigenous rangers under the federal Working On Country program.

Under the Labor proposal revealed on Thursday in the Northern Territory, a funding commitment of $200m over five years would increase the number of full-time-equivalent (FTE) Indigenous ranger positions to 1,550 by 2020-21.

Study: Thousands of newts being taken from wild in Southeast Asia for pet trade; CITES listing recommended

A little-known group of amphibians — the Southeast Asian newts — are in high demand as pets, a new study has found. Large numbers of these semi-aquatic salamanders are being collected from the wild and sold in the United States and the European Union, researchers say.

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