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.

GWS2017 starts this Sunday!

POSTED March 14 • Please read this important update about the conference program
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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 in 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


A WSJ "Best of 2016" pick — 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. 3 • December 2016


The National Park Service Centennial Essay Series: Final Thoughts on a Ten-Year Project

Dwight Pitcaithley and Rolf Diamant wrap up the National Park Service Centennial Essay project with a look back at some of the major ideas that came out of the 27 essays that form the series, and a look forward into an unsettled future for the agency. 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)

Editorial: President has authority to revoke or reduce NMons

President Obama broke the record for the number of national monument proclamations he issued and the millions of acres of public lands he locked up for such monuments.

Cabada: House committee asks for surge in PA & MPA creation to meet Aichi Target 11 in CBD

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development Friday presented a unanimous report calling on the federal government to lead an effort to rapidly establish more terrestrial and marine protected areas to safeguard biodiversity and Canada’s natural heritage.

Ecuador: New PA, Pastaza Ecological Area of Sustainable Development, created in Amazon

After three years of working with local governments and indigenous communities, the Provincial Council of Pastaza established the Pastaza Ecological Area of Sustainable Development in the center of the Ecuadorian Amazon region. The area covers more than 2.5 million hectares (about 6.2 million acres) and occupies about 90 percent of the area of ​​the province of the same name.

Brazil: Enviros say agribusiness, land speculators leading assault on PAs

Novo Progresso is a frontier town in northwest Pará state. “Here we don’t have robberies,” a cabby told us proudly on arrival. “Here everyone is armed.” The weapons are often concealed but, indeed, most locals are packing guns, a reality representative of the region’s long history of violence and lawlessness.

Nicaragua: BR of Southeast Nicaragua being degraded by cattle ranching

SOUTHEAST BIOSPHERE RESERVE, Nicaragua – The Biosphere Reserve of Southeast Nicaragua is bigger than countries like Qatar or Jamaica and shelters 526 species of birds—more species than can be found in Europe. Although it is said to be the kingdom of the jaguar (Panthera onca), cows appear to be more common nowadays.

Belize: Chiquibul NP official says park still beset by poachers from Guatamala

By BBN Staff: This morning in a televised interview, Raphael Manzanero, Executive Director for Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD) stated that the Chiquibul National Park continues to be exploited by Guatemalans.

Editorial: Plans to tell story of evictions at Shenandoah NP are to be commended

MOST visitors see most of Shenandoah National Park, one of the country’s great treasures, from behind the windshield of a car.

Olympic NP gateway town, USNPS locked in legal battle over water treatment plant

PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles City Council has set the stage for filing a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the National Park Service.

It’s part of a growing impasse related to the historic removal of the Elwha River dams.

Isle Royale NP lighthouse in line for rehabilitation

The Rock of Ages Lighthouse has greeted visitors approaching Isle Royale National Park since 1908, but it's been nearly 40 years since a lightkeeper cared for it.

Nevada state assembly resolution backs Basin and Range, Gold Butte NMons

CARSON CITY — The Nevada Assembly on Thursday introduced a resolution of support for the national monument designations that Gold Butte and the Basin and Range areas have.

President Barack Obama declared both areas as national monuments. Gold Butte National Monument is about 300,000 acres in rural Clark County, an area with rock formations and Native American artifacts.

Australia: New funding package includes A$15M for Indigenous PAs

A $100m funding package to Landcare will include $15m for new Indigenous protected areas, raising hopes of further federal support for the environmental policy and its related Indigenous ranger program.

Analysis: Global poaching network thrives so long as rhino horn worth more than gold

On the black market it is reputedly worth more than its weight in gold or cocaine, and earlier this month the lure of rhino horn brought the bloody business of poaching to a zoo near Paris. There, in the dead of night, criminals broke in, shot a white rhino called Vince three times in the head and then hacked off its eight-inch horn with a chainsaw.

Democratic public lands supporter says popular opinion still can carry the day in political fights

"Starve the beast," a phrase fashionable with fiscally conservative politicians dating to the mid-1980s, has returned in full force to Congress, where U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva worries about how national parks and public lands in general will fare if Republicans aren't checked.

Feature: Among the big trees in Sequoia NP

The trees are so big that it would be cowardly not to deal with their bigness head on. They are very, very big. You already knew this — they’re called “giant sequoias” — and I knew it, too. But in person, their bigness still feels unexpected, revelatory.

Belize: PA association pans government's sharp increase of tourist departure tax

By BBN Staff: The Association of Protected Areas Management Organization (APAMO) is not happy with Barrow’s cash strapped Government of Belize (GoB) intent to increase the conservation portion of the departure tax for non-Belizean from BZ $7.50 to BZ $40 on April 1st 2017.

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

Jennifer Palmer Appointed New Executive Director of the George Wright Society

Jennifer Palmer, a conservation scientist, educator, and wildlife biologist, has been announced as the new Executive Director of the George Wright Society.

Reynolds, Thomsen gain seats on Board of Directors

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