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.

Thanks to everyone who submitted a proposal!
Poster, Exhibit abstracts still being accepted

(POSTED OCTOBER 2, 2014) — The deadline for submitting proposals was October 1. However, we are still accepting proposals for Posters and Exhibits on a space-available basis ... the links to those submission forms are still active. To propose a Poster or Exhibit, click the link below and go to "Submit a Proposal.")

The George Wright Society Conference on Parks, Protected Areas, and Cultural Sites is coming to the Bay Area! Plan now to join us in Oakland, California, the week of March 29–April 2, 2015, for "Engagement, Education, and Expectations: The Future of Parks and Protected Areas." Our biennial conference is all about reflection, reconnection, and renewal — a week of stimulating discussion about leading-edge research, innovative practices, and foundational values. GWS2015 is your place to engage with colleagues who share your commitment to excellence ... to educate yourself about the latest trends and ideas ... to raise expectations for yourself and your career! The conference will kick off with a plenary panel discussion on the health/parks connection. Find out more

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

Volume 31, no. 2 • August 2014

The National Park Service Centennial Essay Series: The experts, the public, and the gap in between

ActivistsUsing last year's US federal government shutdown as a case in point, Diane Barthel-Bouchier describes a growing segment of the public that is no longer willing to accept NPS expertise at face value, raising a host of challenging issues that boil down to two simple questions: Who's in charge here? and, Who should be? Read the essay

Now available! The GWS2013 Conference Proceedings

View/download at no charge

Check out these recent publications by GWS members:

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

Action on the Ground III • Parks Canada

Latest on Parks Canada's ecological integrity program

To Conserve Unimpaired • Robert B. Keiter

Analysis of the evolution of the national park idea

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)

Editorial: In India, relocation of elephants to PAs best way to avoid human–wildlife conflict

Two elephants lost their lives when they came in touch with an electric wire, suspected to be put up by villagers in India's northern West Bengal to protect their paddy crop.

Every year, 100-300 humans and 40-50 elephants are killed in human-animal clashes across various parts of India.

Trail to connect historic house to Revolutionary War surrender site in upstate New York

SCHUYLERVILLE >> The town of Saratoga has obtained a nearly $370,000 grant for a multi-use trail along the Old Champlain Canal.

The trail will link the Schuyler House with the “Sword Surrender” site where British General John Burgoyne surrendered to Americans following the 1777 Battles of Saratoga, about 1.5 miles south of present-day Schuylerville on Route 4.

Vandal painting found in Rocky Mountain NP

You apparently can add Rocky Mountain National Park to the list of parks where a New York artist felt inclined to paint images on rock outcrops. Bill Stock was enjoying Rocky Mountain in September when he came upon the painted image contained in the accompanying photograph.

South African company charged in US with offering illegal rhino hunts, trafficking in parts

(Reuters) - A South African company has been indicted in Alabama for selling illegal rhinoceros hunts to Americans and secretly trafficking in the endangered animals’ horns, which sell on the black market at prices higher than gold, prosecutors said on Thursday.

Cambodia: Buddha statue, smashed by tourist earlier this month at Angkor WH site, restored and on display again

The Apsara Authority on Thursday returned a statue of the Buddha to its place in Bayon temple at the Angkor Archaeological Park after a tourist smashed it earlier this month.

US: Lyell glacier at Glacier NP continues to shrink fast

Is it time to start a pool over when the Lyell Glacier in Yosemite National Park is no longer classified as a glacier? Or when it vanishes from the landscape? Those are good questions to ask, as the glacier, the second largest in the Sierra Nevada according to the National Park Service, is continuing to shrink.

Study: Causes of deforestation now thoroughly global

International trade with agricultural and wood products is an increasingly important driver of tropical deforestation. More than a third of recent deforestation can be tied to production of beef, soy, palm oil and timber. "The trend is clear, the drivers of deforestation have been globalized and commercialized," says assistant professor Martin Persson, Chalmers University of Technology.

Editorial: On Mauna Kea, Native "creationism" is blocking scientific advances

Galileo knew he would have the Church to contend with after he aimed his telescope at the skies over Padua and found mountains on the moon and more moons orbiting Jupiter

Albania: Nominally protected, the last remaining large coastal wetlands in the Balkans a killing field for millions of migratory waterbirds

Each spring, hundreds of thousands of migrating waterbirds flock northward from Africa across the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas. In search of food, they alight briefly on Albania’s Buna Delta — one of the largest remaining wetlands in all of the Balkan Peninsula.

The delta is also one of the most notorious killing grounds for migrating birds in all of Europe.

Analysis: Current wilderness advocates risk becoming "the lords of yesterday"

The Wilderness Act (Public Law 88-577) turned 50 years this Fall. Celebrations of the act have been held around the country, including in Idaho, where there have been conferences, group hikes and many new conversations.

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 joins Great Lakes-Northern Forest CESU

In early September the Society received word that our application to join the Great Lakes-Northern Forest Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit has been accepted.  By joining the national CESU network, GWS will be able to more readily partner with federal agencies, universities, and nongovernmental organizations on projects of common interest.  The Great Lakes-Northern Forest is hosted b

New Parks Canada history website debuts / Lancement du nouveau site internet Histoire de Parcs Canada

A new website,, has been created providing access to electronic editions of publications with the aim of showcasing the rich history of the Canadian National Park System.