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.

Landscape-scale conservation, decolonization, natureful cities headline GWS2017 program

Registration opens Monday, December 5 • Free mobile conference app coming soon
Poster proposals still being accepted — click link below for more info


The GWS2017 program is now nearly complete and available for viewing on the conference website. Our week in Norfolk is headlined by Plenary Sessions on connectivity conservation, decolonizing conservation, and fostering cities where nature is front and center and available to everyone. Plan now to join us next April for "Connections Across People, Place, and Time," the 2017 George Wright Society Conference on Parks, Protected Areas, and Cultural Sites. It's your once-every-two-years opportunity to connect with the latest ideas and core values of the international parks community! Find out more


Just published — A Thinking Person's Guide to America's National Parks


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! Find out more


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


Volume 33, no. 2 • August 2016


The National Park Service Centennial Essay Series: The Organic Act is only half the mission of NPS

The NPS Centennial Essay wraps up with an essay by Denis P. Galvin, who draws attention to the "other half" of the Park Service mission: the more than three dozen external and partnership programs that agency is responsible for. Read the essay


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


Check out these recent publications by GWS members:


America's Public Lands: From Yellowstone to Smokey Bear and Beyond

Award-winning account of policy and management challenges


National Park Roads: A Legacy in the American Landscape

Definitive history of road systems in US national parks


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


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)

Ranch owner decides to pass on killing mountain lion that frequents Santa Monica Mountains NRA

MALIBU, Calif. (AP) — A California mountain lion placed under a death sentence for killing nearly a dozen alpacas owned by a Malibu woman was granted a reprieve when the woman announced she wouldn't act on a state-issued permit giving her the right to kill the animal.

7000-acre addition to Petersburg NB expected to get congressional nod

Congress is expected to give its final approval in coming days to legislation that will add 7,000 acres to Petersburg National Battlefield, making it the largest Civil War battlefield in the country.

Preservation nonprofit looks to stave off housing development on Civil War battlefields site

The Central Virginia Battlefields Trust wants to work with a local businessman to preserve historic ground opposite Fredericksburg National Cemetery where a townhouse development is proposed.

Fishers reintroduced to Mount Rainer NP

en fishers are discovering new habitat in Mt. Rainier National Park after wildlife officials released the weasel-like carnivores Friday afternoon.

Fishers, which are part of the wolverine family, were over-harvested for fur. During the Great Depression, one pelt could sell for today's value of $1,700.

In biggest cull in years, Yellowstone NP expects to kill 900 bison this winter

Yellowstone National Park plans to reduce its famed bison herd by at least 900 head this winter, culling stray animals outside the park in Montana by hunting and a program to round up and deliver wayward stock to Native American tribes for slaughter.

The annual culling, if it goes as planned, would mark one of the largest thinnings of the Yellowstone herd during the past decade.

Broken elevator system expected to keep Washington Monument closed until 2019

Billionaire philanthropist David Rubenstein has agreed to fund an overhaul of the Washington Monument’s broken elevator system, but the beleaguered landmark will probably remain closed for the next 2 1/2  years, the National Park Service says.

Gate stolen from Dachau concentration camp site recovered in Norway

OSLO — A wrought-iron gate bearing a notorious Nazi slogan and believed to have been stolen from the Dachau concentration camp in southern Germany has been found in a suburb of Bergen, Norway, police officials in the two countries said on Friday.

China: First study of levels of pristineness across country's PAs show marked differences between north and south

Research, published as How Pristine Are China's Parks? in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, found that the numerous smaller parks in the arable farming landscapes of the warmer, wetter south and east had been more heavily modified.

In contrast the fewer, but larger parks in the pastoral livestock-herding landscapes of the colder, drier north and west were less modified.

Editorial: Nunavut's barren-ground caribou nurseries need PA status

Most of Canada’s barren-ground caribou herds are in a perilous state, some having declined more than 95 per cent from historic highs.

Barren-ground caribou numbers go up and down as part of their natural cycle.  However, the last time the herds were approaching natural population lows, the North was a much different place than it is now.

Court upholds California ban on sales of ivory & rhino horn

In October, last year, the state of California banned the sale of nearly all ivory and rhino horn. The new law makes it illegal to trade almost all ivory, including those imported prior to June 1, 1977.

But the Ivory Education Institute — a nonprofit working to enhance the understanding of ivory — challenged the state ban this year, claiming that the law was unconstitutional.

Australia: Government vows A$1.3B over 5 years to keep Great Barrier Reef WH site off "In Danger" list; enviros not impressed

Australia will spend A$1.3 billion ($965.3 million) in the next five years to improve the water quality and wellbeing of the Great Barrier Reef to prevent the World Heritage Site being placed on the United Nation's "in danger" list.

Editorial: Parks, once sacrosanct, are no longer beyond reach of advertising "attention merchants"

This year, several state parks, including those in Idaho and Washington, and the National Park Service, will be blazing a new trail, figuratively at least, as they begin offering opportunities to advertisers within their borders.

South Africa: Photographers document massive fishing violations in no-take zone of Paulsberg MPA

Cape Town - South Africa’s waters are rich with ocean wildlife but it won’t stay that way if our mapped marine protected areas are ignored - as was the case in the Paulsberg Marine Protected Area, part of the Table Mountain National park on the False Bay coast recently.

Brazil: Deforestation in country's Amazon hits 8-year high with 29% spike over 2015 levels

Deforestation in the world’s largest rainforest jumped 29 percent over last year, representing a sharp increase over the historically low deforestation rate seen just five years ago and the highest level recorded in the region since 2008, reports the Brazilian government.

Madagascar: Miners searching for sapphires flooding into Zahamena Ankeniheny protected forest

Some 45,000 people have descended on an area of forest in eastern Madagascar since October in search of sapphires, which on occasion have reportedly topped out at more than 100 carats, or a bit smaller than a golf ball.

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

Reynolds, Thomsen gain seats on Board of Directors

David Reynolds and Jennifer Thomsen are the newest members of the Board of Directors.

More than Motown: Park Break students document diverse Detroit music heritage sites

2016’s Park Break program took place August 8-12 in Detroit, MI, with support from the NPS Cultural Resource program.  We placed eight graduate students studying a variety of disciplines ranging from historic preservation, museum studies, and landscape architecture in a week long Park Break program.  The focus of the week was to look closely at the 20th Century music herita