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.

Refresh your career at GWS2017!

POSTED February 13 • Please read this important news about the conference program
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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)

Chad: Seventeen years after being declared extinct in the wild, captive-bred scimitar-horned oryxes released in Sahara

Conservationists are celebrating the successful reintroduction of an iconic antelope species, the scimitar-horned oryx, to a portion of its historical range on the edge of the Sahara desert after 14 captive-bred animals were released in a remote region of Chad.

Gabon: Poaching drives down elephant populations by 80% in Minkébé NP

Forest elephant populations in one of Central Africa's largest and most important preserves have declined between 78 percent and 81 percent because of poaching, a new Duke University-led study finds.

Utah state legislature's passage of bill boosts efforts to create new SP

Nearly a century and a half ago, Mormon pioneers cut a trail through a natural cleft in the north wall of Glen Canyon, using shovels, picks and dynamite. Their historic passage through what became known as Hole-in-the-Rock in the winter of 1879-80 is still evident today.

Editorial: Anti-public lands politicians forcing Utah to pay a steep price as giant convention moves out of state

In the same week Utah announced that it had topped $8.17 billion in annual economic benefit from tourism, the $40 million Outdoor Retailer show announced

Squeezed by federal hiring freeze, Women's Rights NHP forced to cut hours of operation due to understaffing

The Women's Rights National Historical Park has cut its hours of operation again due to understaffing, according to a news release. 

The park will now be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays through Sundays.

With historic flood-control walls deteriorating in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, USNPS and other officials ponder what to do

Representatives from the state and federal agencies that will determine the future of Johnstown’s river walls are scheduled to all meet together – for the first time – on Thursday.

Scotland: Visitation to historic sites sets record in 2016, surging 13%

Visitor numbers at Scotland's historic sites have rocketed by 13 per cent over the past year, tipping over the four million mark for the first time.

Utah GOP lawmaker riled over Bryce Canyon NP tweet about new Obama NMons

With all of Washington, D.C.'s political intrigue -- the commercialization of the White House, the administration's mysterious connections to Russia, and President Trump's ability to be both landlord and tenant on a government property -- why is U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz so curious about the planning and forethought that goes into a Twitter tweet?

New Jersey county first to embrace designation as Crossroads of the American Revolution NHA

UNION COUNTY, NJ – Drivers hurrying along Elizabeth Avenue and shoppers rushing to stores probably don't notice the sign near the Minuteman Statue there announcing the significance of the area in the founding of this country.

Enviros apply to intervene in lawsuit that seeks to roll back hunting restrictions in some Alaska PAs

A group of than a dozen environmental groups is attempting to become a party to two lawsuits against the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

USBLM agent in charge of investigating Bundy standoff named in ethics probe

Bureau of Land Management agent Dan Love, a central figure in the government’s case against rancher Cliven Bundy, has been identified as the target of a federal ethics probe in a letter two congressional lawmakers sent to the Office of the Inspector General.

Archaeological report throws light on sinking of Civil War submarine

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Just ahead of the 153rd anniversary of the sinking of the Civil War submarine H.L. Hunley, the U.S. Navy has released online an archaeological report on the recovery of the Confederate boat off the Charleston coast.

Proposed wall along Mexico–US border raises environmental concerns, none more acute than in Big Bend NP

BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK, Texas -- If it belonged to anyone, this expanse of high desert was first the domain of the nomadic Chisos Indians, who were killed off by the Apaches, who were defeated by the Spanish, who were run off by the Comanches -- until white settlers imported repeating rifles and put an end to all debate about who owned what.

Timber companies sue to reverse expansion of Cascade–Siskiyou NMon

Two lumber companies filed a lawsuit Friday challenging the legality of President Barack Obama's expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument during his last days in office.

Researchers trace distinctive history of outdoor recreation in Grand Teton NP

POCATELLO – Following World War II the U.S. government had a plethora of surplus items leftover, including big “pontoon” rafts, some that were shipped to Grand Teton National Park. During the war, these rafts were tied together and tracks were laid across them so military vehicles could use these “pontoon bridges” to cross waterways.

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.