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.

On the Horizon:
The 2016 World Ranger Congress

Front-line rangers (game wardens, guardaparques, etc.) from around the world will be gathering May 21-27 in Colorado for the International Ranger Federation's 8th World Ranger Congress. GWS is helping organize logistics and we will be on-scene all week. We'll post daily updates from the Congress here ... watch this space!

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: The National Park Idea

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. In the second installment, Bob explores how the national park system has changed since its beginnings. Each commentary runs about two-and-a-half minutes. Listen here:

"The National Park Idea"

Each of Bob's commentaries will 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.

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!

Donate now button

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

Arizona rattlesnake subspecies threatened by drought, increased wildfire

A combination of drought and fire has put the Arizona black rattlesnake on an "extinction trajectory," according to University of Arkansas researchers.

The research team, led by U of A biologists Marlis Douglas and Michael Douglas, published its findings in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

After determining numbers of cheetahs lower than previously thought in Kenyan PA, experts say current global estimates are "guesswork"

Current estimates of the number of cheetahs in the wild are 'guesswork', say the authors of a new study which finds that the population in the cheetah stronghold of Maasai Mara, Kenya, is lower than previously thought.

In unwelcome surprise, scientists estimate a much steeper decline in global leopard habitat than expected

Leopards are reclusive and known for their ability to adapt, traits that have led some wildlife biologists to assume that the animals remained relatively abundant in the wild.

Saying statute of limitations expired, judge dismisses lawsuit seeking removal of Hetch Hetchy dam in Yosemite NP


Back in November, a group that wants Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park restored to what it looked like before O’Shaughnessy Dam was built more than 90 years ago touted its lawsuit and a Superior Court ruling that proceedings would take place in Tuolumne County.

Editorial: Probe into supposed manipulation of Native Americans' position on Bears Ears NMon offensive

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of speech for individuals and organizations to associate and speak in any way they wish without fear of government retaliation. But you wouldn’t know that by listening to Mike Noel, a Republican representative from Kanab, Utah.

Marine archaeologists think they've found remains of HMS Endeavour, ship of explorer James Cook, off Rhode Island coast

More than 200 years ago, the storied ship of legendary explorer Captain James Cook - the one he used to "discover" Australia's East Coast - was scuttled by the British Navy. Now marine archaeologists believe they've found it off Rhode Island in Newport Harbor.

Editorial: USNPS making some progress on more comprehensive view of the variety of the American experience

One lesson I learned as a small child was this: the American land did not hate. People did. This was the late 1960s, when riots ignited cities across the nation. These were years when journeys with my parents introduced me to our national parklands. Yellowstone. Grand Teton. Badlands. Sequoia and Kings Canyon. Zion. Bryce Canyon.

Momentum appears to be growing for gay rights movement NMon or NP at Stonewall Inn in NYC

WASHINGTON — The White House is considering the creation of a national monument to the gay rights movement on a small piece of Greenwich Village parkland across the street from the Stonewall Inn, where a 1969 uprising helped inspire the push for equality, advocates said on Tuesday.

Kenya: Fulfilling promise, and defying poachers, president torches $105M worth of confiscated ivory

NAIROBI, Kenya — What do you do when you have more than $100 million worth of ivory sitting around, just collecting dust? You burn it, of course.

Australia: Enviros decry proposed relaxation of NSW land-clearing laws; parts of NP act would be repealed

Land clearing regulations are set to be relaxed in NSW, as the government releases draft legislation that would allow farmers to clear native vegetation without approval in many cases, and give others access to “offsets”. It has also committed $240m over five years to pay farmers not to clear land, followed by $70m a year thereafter.

Three landmark historic buildings in Oregon threatened with demolition

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — It’s happening all over downtown Portland. Developers propose hard-to-resist offers to commercial landowners to tear down the old and build the new.

Gay man, inspired by Obama's inclusive inaugural comments, seeks to be youngest person ever to visit all 411 US NPs

A journey of 411 National Park Service sites begins with a single monument.

Mikah Meyer visited the Washington Monument on Friday, just like more than 600,000 other people do every year. But for Meyer, it was especially momentous: the first stop, he says, on a three-year trip to visit every single Park Service site in the country.

India: Forest department staff among 9 arrested in rhino poaching incident in Kaziranga NP

Jorhat (Assam): Nine poachers, including three forest department staff, have been arrested for killing a one-horned rhinoceros in Kaziranga National Park (KNP).

Past fireworks displays probably source of pollution found in soil, groundwater at Mount Rushmore NMem

Both surface and groundwater at Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota were probably polluted with a chemical common to rocket fuels and explosives by past fireworks displays, according to a U.S. Geological Survey report.

CEO of company looking to build refinery near Theodore Roosevelt NP: "At the end of the day, nobody is even going to know it’s there"

Meridian Energy Group, Inc., hopes to take a step closer Tuesday to building an oil refinery just three miles from Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota when Billings County officials consider the company's application to build on land currently zoned for agriculture, not industry.

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