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 31, no. 3 • December 2014


The National Park Service Centennial Essay Series: Moving to the third era of natural resource management

ActivistsEcologist Nathan L. Stephenson has spent his career thoughtfully examining the course of natural resource management in the National Park Service. In the newest Centennial Essay, he argues that the agency is on the cusp of entirely new approach — if only it can get past "the tyranny of the urgent." 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!


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

Liberia: Government considers cemetery as site for possible national monument to commemorate victims of recent Ebola epidemic

MARGIBI COUNTY, LIBERIA— With Liberia being Ebola-free since the beginning of May, the government is discussing plans for erecting a national monument to remember the horrific time during which more than 4,000 Liberians died.

Uganda: Study pinpoints areas of highest poaching in Queen Elizabeth NP

Newswise — Ecologists from the University of York, together with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), have developed a new method to better identify where poachers operate in protected areas.

Malaysia: Scientists urge rapid increase in MPAs needed to help save dugong

Malaysia aims to protect 10% of its marine environment by 2020. Less than 1%, however, is currently protected. This may have dire consequences for the country's endangered dugong population, warn a Malaysian scientist and her research team.

Interview: Community-based wildlife sanctuary offers hope for rare gorilla subspecies in Nigeria/Cameroon's Cross River region

The Cross River gorilla population in equatorial Africa has been pushed to the brink of extinction. In a Yale Environment 360 interview, a Nigerian scientist working to save the gorillas describes how local villagers are vital to protecting these apes.

Japan: South Korean objections to proposed WH listing of colonial-era industrial heritage sites should not derail process, official says

Politics should not influence Japan’s application for Unesco World Heritage status for some of its early industrial sites, the country’s top spokesman said in response to South Korean efforts to thwart the bid.

Syria: UNESCO sounds alarm as Islamists take full conrtol of city of Palmyra and its WH site; some call for international troops to protect ruins

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Islamic State militants swept into the historic desert city of Palmyra in central Syria on Wednesday, and by evening were in control of it, residents a

In twist that is riling neighbors, controversial church's plans for drug rehabilitation center hinge on getting historic site designation

THURMONT, Md. — Off a winding road in the Catoctin Mountains, rustic cabins with names like Dogwood and Birch border a stream where local lore has it that Herbert Hoover and Dwight D. Eisenhower once fished.

Syria: Islamist fighters enter Palmyra, raising fears that monumental ruins at WH site may be destroyed

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Islamic State fighters fought their way into a part of the central Syrian city of Palmyra on Wednesday, bringing them within blocks of one of the world’s most magnificent a

India: Ecozone designations around PAs in Karnataka draw fire from consservationists as too small

BENGALURU: Karnataka government’s recent recommendation to the Centre for demarcation of eco-sensitive zones (ESZ) around 31 protected areas in the state has drawn criticism from wildlife conservationists and activists.

Preservationists aghast at bill that would deeply cut Alabama Historical Commission

Supporters of Fort Toulouse in Wetumpka are justly concerned about the site's future. So are advocates for other Alabama landmarks, from Fort Morgan in Gulf Shores to Belle Mont in Tuscumbia.

The cause of their concern is a bill by state Rep. Mike Holmes, R-Wetumpka, to gut the Alabama Historical Commission for cost savings.

Independent audit of Illinois Historic Preservation Agency gives it low marks

A recent audit of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency was full of bad news for the embattled state department that maintains dozens of historical sites and memorials, including the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum.

Action plan for survival of critically endangered gibbon includes connectivity between forest patches

An international team of more than 100 scientists, policy makers and community representatives, led by international conservation charity the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), today published a new report outlining the vital steps needed to save the Hainan gibbon (Nomascus hainanus) from extinction.

Manatees' long-term outlook sunnier, USGS report says

The risk of extinction for the endangered Florida manatee appears to be lower, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey led study.

Greenpeace: Chinese fishing boats operating illegally in prohibited areas off West Africa

Chinese companies have been illegally fishing off the coast of west Africa, environmental campaign group Greenpeace said in a study Wednesday, at times sending incorrect location data suggesting they are as far away as Mexico or even on land.

"It doesn't look the way we expected it to": Scientists surprised by early results of magma mapping at Mount St. Helens Volcanic NMon

Early data collected in a pioneering effort to map the inner workings of Mount St. Helens have provided promising initial insights, 35 years after a massive eruption by the Washington state volcano killed at least 57 people, scientists said on Monday.

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 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.

Latourelle heads up roster of 2015 GWS Awards winners

Alan Latourelle, chief executive officer of Parks Canada, will receive the Society’s highest honor, the George Melendez Wright Award for Excellence, at the conference in Oakland.