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.

Announcing the 2017 GWS Conference
Come join us in Virginia!

Proposals now being accepted through September 30


Plan to join us in Norfolk, Virginia, 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. 1 • April 2016


The National Park Service Centennial Essay Series: "We shouldn’t pay for access to our right to understand"

Duncan Morrow is passionate about making America's national parks available to all, regardless of their ability to pay. It's time for Congress to fully fund them, he says, because to continue to treat them shabbily is "unjust for the best of America." Read the essay


NPS Centennial Commentaries

Golden Gate NRA • Rolf Diamant

Long-time GWS member Robert Manning is doing a year-long series of monthly audio commentaries on the US national parks for Vermont Public Radio. Each of Bob's commentaries connect to a topic covered in the new book "A Thinking Person's Guide to America's National Parks," sales of which benefit the GWS. More info on the book is further down this column.

Listen here:

"The Best View"
"The National Park Idea"
"Ways to Experience the Parks"
"The Balance between Building Constituency and Preservation"


From the front lines: Reflections on the World Ranger Congress

Front-line rangers (game wardens, guardaparques, etc.) from around the world are gathered May 21-27 in Colorado for the International Ranger Federation's 8th World Ranger Congress. GWS helped organize logistics and Emily Dekker-Fiala and Dave Harmon were on-scene all week. Click here for some of Dave's observations of this important international event.


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 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


I Survived: My Name is Yitzkhak

Tale of WWII survivor


Promising Pathways

Parks Canada Aboriginal engagement guide


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: Bushmeat hunting and poaching, not trophy hunting, is cause of African lion declines; hard-protected PAs the solution

THE killing of Zimbabwe’s celebrated Cecil the Lion by a Minnesota dentist, on July 1 of last year unleashed a storm of moral fulmination against trophy hunting. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals issued an official statement calling for the hunter, Walter J.

Canada: Number of full-time BC provincial park rangers falls to 7

Vancouver, BC – The number of full time (FT) park rangers in BC has sunk to a low of just 7 individuals who are expected to patrol 14 million hectares of protected areas. The number of full time rangers slumped from 27 positions in 2001, to 12 FT rangers in 2009 to just 7 FT park rangers in April 2016.

Feature: A notorious racist's role in birthing some American NPs

I used to tune out when my father would go on about eminent domain: how his immigrant grandparents had built up a modest homestead with two houses, three grown children, and a flock of chickens on the banks of the Bronx River. And then, around 1913, how the government had seized the property to make way for the Bronx River Parkway.

Indonesia: 3 orangutans rescued from fires released into the wild at Bukit Baka Bukit Raya NP

Three orangutans rescued when forest fires destroyed their Indonesian rainforest habitats were returned to the wild on Borneo island last week.

Karmele Llano Sanche, International Animal Rescue program director in Indonesia, made a three-day journey by car, boat and through the forest to release the animals in Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park.

Historic Santa Fe building touted as centerpiece of site devoted to New Deal preservationism

Amid the misery of the Great Depression, Rupert Lopez gratefully worked for $1 a day for the Civilian Conservation Corps, making adobe-block walls for a new regional National Park Service administration building in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Study: Even short of deforestaion, human degradation of Amazon's forests damages biodiversity, including in PAs

Up to now, attempts to protect the Amazon have largely focused on preventing deforestation — historically one of the greatest threats the vast South American region has faced. And while efforts in recent years have been successful at slowing or halting deforestation in many places, especially in Brazil, the fight for the Amazon is far from over.

USFS employee killed after surprising grizzly bear; was mountain biking just outside Glacier NP

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A grizzly bear attacked and killed a 38-year-old mountain biker as he was riding along a trail just outside Glacier National Park, Montana authorities said.

Brad Treat and another rider were in the Halfmoon Lakes area of the Flathead National Forest Wednesday when they apparently surprised the bear, Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry said.

UK: Study finds deep-sea MPAs protect coral best when designated before damage occurs

A unique study recently published by scientists from the National Oceanography Centre and University College Cork shows that deep, cold-water corals are very slow to recover from damage. Therefore deep-water Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) protect vulnerable marine ecosystems most effectively when they are put in place before that damage occurs.

Editorial: Proclamation of Stonewall Inn as NMon fills large commemorative gap

On Monday, I stood alongside leaders, activists, and people from all backgrounds that have committed their lives to fighting for LGBTQ rights. I stood humbled beside them, overcome with emotion and gratitude for the blood, sweat, and tears they’ve devoted to ensuring equal rights for all Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation.

Anacostia Park wetland restoration plan completed; goose management at center

WASHINGTON (WBFF) - A restoration plan to help preserve the Anacostia Parks' wetlands, some of the last remaining tidal wetlands in the capital, has been finalized, according to the National Park Service.

Florida senators move to thwart no-take zone in Biscayne NP; enviros say it will block USNPS authority to protect park

A marine preserve in Biscayne National Park — a key piece of a new management plan 15 years in the making and designed to protect Florida’s dwindling reef tract — may be derailed by a new bill proposed by Florida Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio.

New study pegs economic value of US NP system at $92B

WASHINGTON (June 30, 2016) - Today, the National Park Foundation (NPF) announced the first-ever study providing a comprehensive economic valuation of America's national parks and the programming provided by the National Park Service (NPS).

USNPS finalizes rule allowing members of federally recognized tribes to gather plants for traditional purposes

WASHINGTON – The National Park Service has modified the regulation governing the gathering of plants in national parks to allow members of federally recognized Indian tribes to gather and remove plants or plant parts for traditional purposes.

Turf replacement nearly complete, open spaces of National Mall set to reopen in 2017

The Trust for the National Mall announced on Tuesday that crews are nearing completion of the Mall's turf restoration.

The project began in 2007, with the construction starting at 3rd Street, close to the Capitol building. Since then, crews have rolled out the beautiful green grass all the way to 12th Street.

NGO, USEPA collaborate to push AQ improvements in Acadia NP

MOUNT DESERT ISLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Acadia National Park is a big part of why people choose to vacation in Maine, but there are concerns that pollution could damage its beauty.

The National Resources Council of Maine is working with the EPA to beef up air quality laws outside of Maine before it hurts tourism and health there.

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

Nominations sought for GWS Board; deadline is July 1

Each year, two seats on the Board of Directors come up for election. This year, the seats are held by David Parsons and Barrett Kennedy, both of whom are reaching the end of their second three-year term on the Board and are therefore unable to run again. We are now accepting nominations of GWS members who would like run for these open seats.

GWS member launches newsletter on privately run protected areas

Brent Mitchell, chair of the Specialist Group on Privately Protected Areas and Nature Stewardship of IUCN's World Commission on Protected Areas, has created a newsletter to help elevate the recognition, understanding and integrity of private conservation world-wide.  Called The Stivrdr, this occasional newsletter takes its name from an Old Norse word meaning keeper of the house, which even