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.

Landscape-scale conservation, decolonization, natureful cities headline GWS2017 program

Registration now open! • Free mobile conference app coming soon
Poster proposals still being accepted — click link below for more info


The GWS2017 program is now nearly complete and available for viewing on the conference website. 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 next 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


Just published — 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. 2 • August 2016


The National Park Service Centennial Essay Series: The Organic Act is only half the mission of NPS

The NPS Centennial Essay wraps up with an essay by Denis P. Galvin, who draws attention to the "other half" of the Park Service mission: the more than three dozen external and partnership programs that agency is responsible for. 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)

Editorial: Obama still has time to do the right thing and proclaim Bears Ears NMon

Imagine for a moment, a stunning landscape of carved sandstone canyons dotted with ancient dwellings, peaceful forests and grasslands cherished for indigenous subsistence and ceremony.

Imagine this treasure of Federal land in the hands of national leaders who see public lands as a warehouse of natural resources, ripe for exploitation.

Malaysia: Skeptics doubt report of possible rhino sign

In 2015, Malaysian officials publicly confirmed there were no wild rhinos left in Malaysia. It was grim news for the Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis), whose surviving population is now believed to amount to no more than 100, including ten rhinos in captivity in Indonesia and Malaysia.

US: Study in Glacier NP shows 2 stonefly species, native to Rockies, in danger of extinction

Two rare alpine insects – native to the northern Rocky Mountains and dependent on cold waters of glacier- and snowmelt-fed alpine streams – are imperiled due to climate warming-induced glacier and snow loss, according to a study by the U.S. Geological Survey and its partners.

USNPS denies it is biased againt Trump protesters expected at upcoming inauguration

WASHINGTON, DC — The National Park Service acknowledges it is giving special treatment to the Presidential Inaugural Committee, but says they're working to accommodate everyone's request for permits on the National Mall despite claims from activists that the agency is collaborating with Donald Trump to shut down protests planned during and around Inauguration Day on Jan. 20.

Push on to re-designate White Sands NMon as NP

ALAMOGORDO — County Commissioners will discuss and consider action on White Sands National Monument being designated as a national park and its impacts to residents of Otero County at their upcoming commission meeting Friday, Dec. 9.

Indonesia: President places moratorium on peatland destruction; major carbon impact seen

A new decision from the government of Indonesia could be a major boon for both public health and the global climate.

Utah lawmaker asks Trump to revoke Obama NMons

Utah Rep. Rob Bishop took his case against the Antiquities Act to the Trump presidential transition team Monday, asking the incoming president to consider doing what none of his predecessors have done: Undo national monument designations.

Mexico: President announces 3 more PAs at CBD summit

Four new natural protected areas were declared by presidential decree yesterday, bringing to 91 million hectares the total of land and sea areas that have been designated for environmental conservation.

Sharp drop in giraffe numbers called "silent extinction" in new Red List report

Giraffe numbers have declined by as much as 40 percent since the 1980s in a "silent extinction" driven by illegal hunting and an expansion of farmland in Africa, the Red List of endangered species reported on Thursday.

Study: In many places, habitat destruction still outpaces protection; more than half the planet is human-dominated

A University of Queensland-led study involving researchers from three continents has found habitat destruction still far outstrips habitat protection across many parts of the planet.

Two juveniles charged with arson in fire that spread from Great Smoky Mountains NP to surrounding communities

Two juveniles were charged with arson on Wednesday in connection with the wildfire in Gatlinburg, Tenn., that killed 14 people and destroyed about 1,000 buildings last week, the authorities said.

House passes USNPS centennial bill; creates endowment, encourages private donations

The House on Tuesday passed a bill to mark the centennial of the National Park Service (NPS) and expand programming within the department. 

The bipartisan bill aims to attract private donations to match government spending on National Park projects. 

South Carolina supporters of Reconstruction-focused NMon urging quick visits by top officials as time ticks down on Obama

Supporters of a national monument to the Reconstruction Era in northern Beaufort County are urging key federal officials to visit soon.

Will Joshua trees survive climate change? Scientists not of one mind

It started with a 2011 study that indicated by the turn of the century there would be no more Joshua trees in the national park named after the iconic desert plant.

And likely none in California.

full story

Editorial: In line of fire from poachers, rangers around the world need more money, training, public support

BEING a wildlife ranger can be extremely hazardous to your health.

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

Reynolds, Thomsen gain seats on Board of Directors

David Reynolds and Jennifer Thomsen are the newest members of the Board of Directors.

More than Motown: Park Break students document diverse Detroit music heritage sites

2016’s Park Break program took place August 8-12 in Detroit, MI, with support from the NPS Cultural Resource program.  We placed eight graduate students studying a variety of disciplines ranging from historic preservation, museum studies, and landscape architecture in a week long Park Break program.  The focus of the week was to look closely at the 20th Century music herita