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.

Over 700 attend GWS2015

Plenary videos now available on YouTube

Just over 700 people gathered in Oakland for the 2015 George Wright Society Conference on Parks, Protected Areas, and Cultural Sites. It was a week of stimulating discussion about leading-edge research, innovative practices, and foundational values. We thank everyone who attended, 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.


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


Volume 32, no. 2 • September 2015


The National Park Service Centennial Essay Series: NPS should let some parks be run under a franchise

ActivistsThe National Park Service is woefully underfunded, and a fractious Congress is unlikely to fix that. Economist Holly Fretwell's solution? Let the agency create a franchise under which some parks could be run by private concerns. Read the essay


Check out these recent publications by GWS members:


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


Scaling Up: Collaborative Approaches to Large Landscape Management

Collection of stories highlighting the "Scaling Up" goal of the NPS "Call to Action"


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


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)

Analysis: Repeated setbacks in trying to recover Attwater's prairie chicken illustrates how complex the task is

EAGLE LAKE, Tex. — Every spring during mating season, the few dozen remaining male Attwater’s prairie chickens gather to perform an elaborate courtship ritual.

Scotland: Fisheries group organizes campaign to squelch government's MPA plans

A new campaign has been launched to oppose the Scottish government's designation of protected areas of seabed and coastline. The Comhairle Fisheries Industry Group is leading the campaign.

Members of the group include Western Isles Council - Comhairle nan Eilean Siar - and Western Isles Fishermen's Association.

Editorial: Left unchecked, corporatization of public lands will lead to privatization of NPs

Given the corporatization of ever more commons, we may yet be visiting Golden Arches National Park or Disneyland Dinosaur National Monument. Even if the most extreme right-wing plans to auction off public lands don’t ever come to fruition, ongoing neglect can only promise creeping corporate colonization of the United States National Park system.

Bolivia: Biodiversity survey of Madidi NP reveals 10,000 moth species, but O&G drilling may loom ahead

I focus a lot on hotspots for social or environmental troubles in the tropics, so it’s worth stepping back once in awhile to point to areas where the great tapestry of life is still dizzyingly rich — at least for now.

Wildlife passage bridge planned over freeway near Santa Monica Mountains NRA

Officials have unveiled plans for a grassy bridge over a Southern California highway that would provide a safe and natural passage for mountain lions and other animals migrating between wilderness areas.

Enviros threaten to sue USFWS over decision to let landowners kill endangered red wolves

The federal wildlife service on Thursday stood by its decision to authorize recent killings of two highly endangered North Carolina red wolves on private property, despite plans by conservationists to sue.

Utah county group backs bid to turn fossil site into "Jurassic NMon"

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A proposal from two congressmen to convert a central Utah dinosaur fossil quarry rich in Jurassic-period bones into a national monument gained a key endorsement Tuesday from county officials.

Australia: Robot designed to kill invasive crown-of-thorns starfish unleashed in Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

An autonomous robot that can administer a lethal injection is set to be the latest weapon in the fight against the invasive crown-of-thorns starfish on the Great Barrier Reef.

The starfish preys on coral and is responsible for destroying up to 40% of the reef.

Land trust buys site of Battle of Fort York, one of Confederacy's final victories in Civil War

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - "It is with the greatest pride that The Land Trust for Central North Carolina announces the preservation of one of North Carolina’s most significant historic sites," began the press release announcing that the Land Trust has purchased the Fort York historic site.

Editorial: Evictions of Native and rural people cannot be forgotten as USNPS celebrates centennial

Tuesday marked the 99th anniversary of the National Park Service, perhaps the most-loved division of the federal government. For many Americans, excursions to the national parks conjure up memories of family road trips, camp songs and hikes set in some of the country's most beautiful locales.

Analysis: EU's Natura 2000 PA system at crossroads as political pressures mount to allow more development

An astonishing 18 percent of the European Union’s land area is protected under a network of preserves known as Natura 2000.

Now, at the urging of business interests and farmers, the EU is examining whether regulations on development in these areas should be loosened.

In Ohio, lawmakers, but not McKinley historians, peeved over renaming of peak in Denali NP&Pres

To be clear, President William McKinley has one of the largest grave sites of any former American president, so perhaps a mountaintop was a bit superfluous

Editorial: Pullman NMon is a monument to a robber baron

Occasionally, I see something that is so bizarre, so out of place, so wrong that I have to assume I’m hallucinating. For example, I could have sworn I was delusional when I heard about the National Park Service’s Pullman National Monument in Chicago.

Utah public lands "grand bargain" bill would re-shape parks, president's Antiquities Act authority in state

It has critics on the left and right. The counties involved could back out. Congress could let it die a slow death. And, in the end, President Barack Obama could name a new national monument in Utah.

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

Call for Papers: The 7th National Forum on Historic Preservation Practice

The year 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act, which responded admirably to the many challenges then facing our country’s historic and prehistoric heritage.

GWS helps sponsor study tour of US protected areas by Bosnian park managers

Director Amarildo Mulić and Assistant Director Haris Hadžihajdarević, are the managers of Una National Park (UNP) in Bosnia I Herzegovina, Eastern Europe.  In April and May 2015, the George Wright Society acted as the fiscal sponsor for a grant from the Trust for Mutual Understanding that allowed Amarildo and Haris to participate in an international study tour of national parks and protect