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


Now available! The GWS2013 Conference Proceedings


View/download at no charge


Check out these recent publications by GWS members:


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!


Donate now button

Parkwire: GWS's daily digest of global protected area news (follow us via RSS, Twitter @parkwire, or Facebook)

South Africa: UNESCO OKs expansion of Cape Floral Region PAs WH site

The United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) on 3 July 2015 approved the extension of the Cape Floral Region Protected Areas World Heritage Site.

This approval was granted by the 39th Session of the Unesco's World Heritage Committee taking place in Bonn, Germany from 28 June to 08 July, 2015.

Nearly 2 years after flood damage, historic Fall River Road reopens in Rocky Mountain NP

he Old Fall River Road is a popular route with visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park who are looking for a scenic drive at a slower pace, but the historic road was badly damaged by major flooding in September 2013. Thanks to emergency funding, repairs to the road have been completed in time for this year's traditional July 4 seasonal opening of the drive. 

Enviros sue USFWS to strengthen Mexican gray wolf plan

A coalition of environmental groups filed a lawsuit on Thursday against U.S. wildlife officials arguing that the government's management plan for the endangered Mexican gray wolf, one of the most imperiled mammals in North America, does not go far enough.

Draft USFWS polar bear recovery plan hinges on CO2 reductions

U.S. wildlife managers released on Thursday a draft plan for stemming the decline of polar bears threatened by melting Arctic sea ice linked to global warming, but the proposal hinges on reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that are far from assured.

California fish & wildlife officers given authority to enforce laws in MPAs

A bill proposing to give law enforcement officers greater leeway to enforce restrictions in California’s Marine Protected Areas was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown earlier this week.

Objecting to football team's name, USNPS, DOI will not cooperate in attempt to rebuild stadium

The Obama administration will likely block Washington, D.C., authorities from building a new stadium for the NFL's Washington Redskins because of objections to the team’s name.

Proposed industrial pig farm near Apostle Islands NL raises concerns among officials

A proposed commercial pig farm in Wisconsin could greatly affect Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, where the superintendent is worried that runoff would boost phosphorous loads in Lake Superior and also could harm piping plovers, a species listed as "endangered" under the Endangered Species Act.

Cuba: Conservationists worry that rush to develop country will affect NPs, environment in general

HAVANA — Like many of his countrymen, Jorge Angulo hopes the United States will lift the decades-old economic embargo against Cuba.

Analysis: ISIS's looting, destruction of archaeological sites is strategic and systematic, taking advantage of already-thriving illegal market

s it expanded across Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State destroyed many archaeological sites, looting them for profit and damaging some to gain attention.

Last week, the group mined the ancient Roman ruins in Palmyra, Syria, according to a report from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

USFWS rejects conservation groups' request to downlist gray wolf

The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) said Tuesday that it will not reclassify the gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act.

Conservation groups led by the Humane Society had pushed the service to reclassify the wolf from endangered to threatened species status, which comes with fewer federal protections.

Supporters of Maine NP idea undeterred by negative results in two local straw polls

Voters in two towns have rejected it, but don’t expect Katahdin region arguments over a proposed North Woods national park to end anytime soon, local leaders said.

Park advocates said Tuesday that they were actually encouraged by East Millinocket’s 320-191 nonbinding vote on Monday to reject the proposal and Medway’s 252-102 vote on June 23 against the idea.

England: Overcoming stiff resistance, large new potash mine approved within North York Moors NP

A plan to build a huge potash mine beneath one of Britain's national parks was approved on Tuesday, despite stiff opposition.

Mining firm Sirius Minerals is to dig a 1,500 metre fertiliser mine below the rolling woods and grasslands of the North York Moors National Park in a 1.7 billion ($2.7 billion, 2.4 billion euros) investment.

Arctic grayling reintroduced to eponymous creek in Yellowstone NP

A creek in northwestern Yellowstone National Park is regaining its namesake fish, the Arctic grayling.

A restoration project in Grayling Creek this spring has seen nearly 100,000 grayling eggs hatched in the creek, and native Westslope cutthroat trout also are being restored to the creek in the form of nearly 700 fish and more than 10,000 eggs this year alone.

Australia: UNESCO spares Great Barrier Reef Marine Park "endangered" label but admits major problems

The heritage committee of the UNESCO cultural agency said on Wednesday that the outlook for Australia's Great Barrier Reef was poor due to threats including pollution and climate change but stopped short of listing it as "in danger".

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.