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. 1 • May 2015


The National Park Service Centennial Essay Series: “Triage” for managing cultural resources threatened by climate change

ActivistsArchaeologist Michelle L. Berenfeld says it's time for clear thinking about a troubling topic: that we will have to make conscious decisions about what to save and what to let go in planning for cultural resources threatened by climate change. 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)

Make park near New York's Stonewall Inn a NMon in tribute to LGBT rights movement, activists urge

WEST VILLAGE — The Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, and ... Christopher Street?

LGBT New Yorkers and Greenwich Village residents are asking the National Park Service to consider designating Christopher Park, in front of the Stonewall Inn, an American monument — making it the nation’s first site recognized for its historic importance to the gay rights movement.

Report: Efforts to improve air quality in NPs in California decades behind schedule due to weak rules

Millions of vacationers escape to national parks each summer to take in the fresh air and scenic vistas.

But a report released Tuesday by a conservation group finds that some of the nation’s most treasured landscapes are plagued with polluted air and hazy skies — and remain decades behind schedule in restoring visibility.

Analysis: Rangers redouble efforts to halt poaching in DR Congo's Virunga NP

In the small town of Rumangabo in the Democratic Republic of Congo's Virunga National Park, lead ranger Innocent Mburanumwe, 38, leads a trail through the verdant forest to visit a group of baby gorillas.

Zimbabwe: Safari operator arrested after reports of bribe to enable illegal lion hunt

Cecil the lion is dead, killed illegally in Zimbabwe, authorities allege, by a foreign hunter or hunters who paid about $55,000 for the privilege.

Cecil was part of an Oxford University research project and wore a GPS collar.

full story

Number of USNPS law enforcement and interpretive rangers dropping

With the National Park Service's centennial 13 months off, the ranks of rangers patroling the parks and providing interpretive programs are on the decline, according to Park Service numbers provided to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.

Russia: Logging company agrees to obliterate abandoned roads to make it harder for poachers to go after tigers

A logging company, working with local authorities and WCS, has agreed to begin dismantling abandoned logging roads currently being used by poachers to access prime Amur (Siberian) tiger habitat in the Russian Far East.

Identities of Jamestown leaders determined after 4-year study

WASHINGTON — One man was thought to be the first Anglican minister in the Americas. Another, an early explorer of the mid-Atlantic region, was a rival of Capt. John Smith. And two of them, kin of Sir Thomas West, the governor of Virginia, helped save a colony on the brink of collapse.

Editorial: Just because Congress won't step up to the plate is no reason to stop creating new parks

We heard it again earlier this month when President Obama designated three major sites in the Western U.S. as national monuments: We should stop adding new national parks and other protected areas until we can pay for the ones we have now.

Sides argue case for, against 160,000-acre NMon near Sedona, Arizona

COTTONWOOD -- A coalition effort to convert 160,000 acres of Sedona/Verde Valley land into a national monument took its case to the Cottonwood Recreation Center July 21 for a second public meeting filled with heated debate. With the new venue came a new approach by the coalition and -- along with it -- new questions.

Federal officials' low-key presence at southern Utah tribal gathering sets off speculation about NMon proclamation in region

THE BEARS EARS, San Juan County — Several top federal officials from Washington quietly attended a "Gathering of the Tribes" put on last weekend by Native Americans in southeastern Utah, their presence made known only to a chosen few who were "sworn to secrecy."

Historic Alaska village site, namesake of world's most famous dogsled race, saved from wildfire

FAIRBANKS—A 104,183-acre wildfire in June nearly wiped out the historic gold rush town that serves as the namesake and halfway point of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

USNPS policies inhibit visitation, tamp down profits, concessioners tell House committee

Today's National Park Service lacks business savvy, from trying to micro-manage businesses in the parks to being slow to respond to visitor desires and services, a Congressional subcommittee was told by business leaders whose companies operate in the National Park System.

Emerald ash borers spreading in Shenandoah NP

Shenandoah National Park staff have confirmed additional infestations of emerald ash borers in the park. Adult EAB beetles were caught in surveillance traps near Mathews Arm Campground, Gravel Springs Hut, Pinnacles Picnic Area, Big Meadows Picnic Area, and South River Picnic Area.

Wildfire continues burning in Glacier NP (US); no containment yet

A wildfire in Montana's Glacier National Park raged for a fourth day through heavy timber on Friday during peak visitor season, while another blaze in Northern California charred the mountains above Napa Valley wine country, officials said.

Editorial: Splitting elephants into "forest" and "savanna" species and giving both ESA "endangered" status will help deter poaching

MORE than two million years ago, mammoths and Asian elephants took different evolutionary paths — and around the same time, according to DNA research, so did their lumbering relatives in Africa. African elephants have long been thought of as a single species, but a critical mass of genetic studies now proves there are two.

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 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

GWS co-founder Theodore W. Sudia dies

Theodore W. Sudia, former chief scientist of the National Park Service and one of the two co-founders of the GWS, died Wednesday at his home in Pittsburgh at the age of 89.  Ted joined forces with another former NPS chief scientist, Robert M.