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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.
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Conference program now available; registration opens December 1

(POSTED November 25, 2014) — The GWS2015 Conference program is now in place! You can download a schedule of the Concurrent Sessions and a list of Poster & Exhibits from this page. Registration opens on December 1st.

The George Wright Society Conference on Parks, Protected Areas, and Cultural Sites is coming to the Bay Area! Plan now to join us in Oakland, California, the week of March 29–April 3, 2015, for "Engagement, Education, and Expectations: The Future of Parks and Protected Areas." Our biennial conference is all about reflection, reconnection, and renewal — a week of stimulating discussion about leading-edge research, innovative practices, and foundational values. GWS2015 is your place to engage with colleagues who share your commitment to excellence ... to educate yourself about the latest trends and ideas ... to raise expectations for yourself and your career! The conference will kick off with a plenary panel discussion on the health/parks connection. Find out more


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


Volume 31, no. 2 • August 2014


The National Park Service Centennial Essay Series: The experts, the public, and the gap in between

ActivistsUsing last year's US federal government shutdown as a case in point, Diane Barthel-Bouchier describes a growing segment of the public that is no longer willing to accept NPS expertise at face value, raising a host of challenging issues that boil down to two simple questions: Who's in charge here? and, Who should be? Read the essay


Now available! The GWS2013 Conference Proceedings


View/download at no charge


Check out these recent publications by GWS members:


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


Action on the Ground III • Parks Canada

Latest on Parks Canada's ecological integrity program


To Conserve Unimpaired • Robert B. Keiter

Analysis of the evolution of the national park idea


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: MPAs just an "ocean grab" that benefits privileged few if done without consultation with fishing communities

Today on World Fisheries Day, fisher peoples and their allies are taking to the streets and beaches to fight against ocean grabbing in all its forms - including Marine Protected Areas imposed without consultation that rob and criminalise local communities and benefit only privileged outsiders.

WPC: Five key messages from Sydney

SYDNEY—Must conservation and economic development always be locked in combat, with no hope for one unless the other is suffering?

MPAs key tool to fight rampant illegal fishing, scientists say

Do you know how that tuna sashimi got to your dinner plate? Probably not—and chances are, the restaurant that served it to you doesn’t know, either. A new policy paper argues that illicit fishing practices are flying under the radar all around the world, and global society must combat them in order to keep seafood on the menu.

Incoming GOP leadership to renew push to drill in ANWR

Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s ascent to the top of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee is likely to reignite the decades-old debate over drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

Supporters stir up old idea of redesignating Craters of the Moon NMon as NP

ARCO • Idaho is the only state in the West that doesn’t have a national park solely within its borders.

That could change if a proposal to convert Craters of the Moon gets legs.

full story

Friends' group voices objections to proposed marina near Virgin Islands NP

A marina proposed for a portion of Coral Bay at St.

Officials confirm canid sighted at Grand Canyon NP is gray wolf from Northern Rockies population

(Reuters) - A canine spotted in and around the north rim of the Grand Canyon has been confirmed to be the first western gray wolf at the national park in Arizona since the last one was killed there in the 1940s, U.S. wildlife managers said on Friday.

National Science Foundation proposes high-tech monitoring station at Yellowstone NP

(Reuters) - Yellowstone National Park could become a site for collecting massive amounts of data on climate and land-use changes and the effects of invasive species on the Northern Rocky Mountains under a proposal submitted for public comment on Friday.

Study: Protecting forests by itself not enough to stop carbon emissions dues to land-use changes

In contrast to previous assumptions, conservation schemes that focus only on forests may thus fail to significantly reduce CO2 emissions from land-use change. If ecosystem protection policies aim at climate protection, they need to cover the whole range of land types, according to comprehensive computer simulations.

Italy: Man fined €20k for carving initial on Colosseum; largest penalty of its kind for defacing iconic Roman ruin

In the latest episode of tourists behaving badly in Rome, a Russian has been fined €20,000 (£15,800) for carving his initial into the Colosseum.

The 42-year-old tourist used a stone to carve a 25cm “K” into a wall inside the ancient amphitheatre. He was caught in the act by a guard and arrested by police, before being fined and given a four-month suspended prison sentence.

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 joins Great Lakes-Northern Forest CESU

In early September the Society received word that our application to join the Great Lakes-Northern Forest Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit has been accepted.  By joining the national CESU network, GWS will be able to more readily partner with federal agencies, universities, and nongovernmental organizations on projects of common interest.  The Great Lakes-Northern Forest is hosted b

New Parks Canada history website debuts / Lancement du nouveau site internet Histoire de Parcs Canada

A new website, ParksCanadaHistory.com, has been created providing access to electronic editions of publications with the aim of showcasing the rich history of the Canadian National Park System.