The GWS Biennial Conferences: Sharing Advances in Protected Area Research and Resource Management

Every two years, The George Wright Society organizes and is the primary sponsor of the USA’s premier interdisciplinary conference on 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; marine, estuarine, freshwater, and other aquatic sanctuaries; private land-trust reserves; and similarly designated areas.

The GWS is unique among professional organizations because it encourages dialogue and information exchange among all the people needed for protected area conservation, from historians to biologists, managers to researchers, public agencies to private organizations, academics to field personnel. The conference reflects this cross-cutting approach. We host professionals from many fields of cultural and natural resource conservation for a stimulating week of discussion. The GWS conference brings people together to share problems and information, hear new perspectives, and contemplate critical questions about the future of protected areas.

Typically, about 60% of the attendees are from the U.S. National Park Service and the conference program reflects this; in fact, the conference serves as the top-level meeting of NPS cultural and natural resource professionals. However, as noted above, the scope of the conference is not limited to the U.S. National Park System, and we encourage participation from people outside the NPS and from outside the USA.

The next conference will be March 2–6, 2009, at the Doubletree Portland Lloyd Center — a hotel with a strong set of green operating practices. Click here to go to the GWS2009 website.

The George Wright Society maintains a close working relationship with a similar organization in Canada, The Science and Management of Protected Areas Association. The Association organizes an International Conference of Science and the Management of Protected Areas (SAMPA).