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 29 • Please read this important update about the conference program: limited NPS attendance approved
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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)

Pushing back on freemarket analysts' claims, DC law firm says Trump cannot revoke NMons

Two legal analyses have been added to the debate over whether President Trump can unilaterally rescind the designation of Bears Ears National Monument in Utah and, not surprisingly, they reach different conclusions.

Court reinstates ESA protections for Utah subspecies of prairie dog

Prairie dogs in Utah won a turf battle against property developers on Wednesday when a U.S. appeals court reinstated restrictions on development in areas inhabited by the threatened animals.

Zinke suggests border wall may, in places, be impossible to build on US soil

nterior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Tuesday said America can't give away the Rio Grande to Mexico in the process of building President Trump's signature border wall, implying the structure could wind up standing partially on Mexican land.

Editorial: Plans to rezone private acreage inside Cumberland Island NS an outrage against wilderness

Cumberland Island National Seashore and United Nations Biosphere Reserve is the largest of the southern United States' sea islands. It is a paradise of eco-diversity and incomparable beauty. Visitors can only access the island by a private boat or the ferry from St.

Analysis: Public lands policies, challenges shifting as Trump era dawns

Our federal public lands are breathtaking in their ecological scope, in their bountiful natural resources, and in their policy complexity. The history of how we arrived at current policy arrangements is also long and convoluted.

WNS continues to exact devastating toll on bat numbers in Mammoth Cave NP

MAMMOTH CAVE NATIONAL PARK — Research conducted at Mammoth Cave National Park shows some bat populations continue to decline due to the effect of white-nose syndrome, a deadly disease known to kill millions of bats.

Population of endangered Rio Sonoyta pupfish to be moved to USNPS-run facility

Rio Sonoyta pupfish occur in only two wild places: Rio Sonoyta, in Sonora, Mexico; and Quitobaquito Pond, at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona. 

However, they are now found at a handful of other locations, as a part of a conservation attempt by the Arizona Game and Fish Department and the U.S. National Park Service.

Statue of Liberty NMon now a magnet for debating Trump immigration policies

King Bradley was working his shift at the gift shop near the Statue of Liberty when something unusual happened.

Good news for elephants: Chinese ban & sustained pressure from advocates helps drive down price of ivory down 50% in past 3 years

NAIROBI, Kenya — Finally, there’s some good news for elephants.

Zinke trip to Utah next step in fight over Bears Ears NMon

WASHINGTON — As he prepared to travel west, Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke got a letter from a coalition of tribes in Utah on Friday. The group had filled the seats on a commission to manage the new Bears Ears National Monument, the letter said, and Zinke was invited to discuss its future.

El Salvador: Community stewards of protected forest vote to ban mining

CINQUERA, El Salvador – It’s not far from town, but in the middle of the dry season, it’s a hot and dusty walk to the Cinquera Forest Ecological Park in northern El Salvador. Villagers in and around Cinquera took it upon themselves to protect the forest following the country’s 12-year armed conflict.

Rangers investigating theft of fossilized footprints from Death Valley NP

The National Park Service is seeking help from the public to solve the recent theft of fossilized animal tracks from Death Valley National Park.

The theft was reported to the park by scientists after a recent visit to the site where birds and mammals left footprints in a muddy lake shore as many as 5 million years ago.

In public comment exercise, over 14,000 people call for halt to industrial hog farm in watershed of Buffalo National River

The state of Arkansas is accepting through April 6 public comments regarding a new permit for an industrial hog farm located upstream of Buffalo National River.

Trump administration to take fresh look at O&G regulations in NP system; enviros worry about rollbacks

In a move interpreted by the National Parks Conservation Association as "a direct attack on national parks," President Trump has directed the Interior Department to review, and possibly rescind, regulations pertaining to oil and gas drilling in units of the National Park System.

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.