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.

Almost 700 attend GWS2015

Plenary videos to be available on YouTube soon

Almost 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


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)

Nepal: All of Kathmandu area's 7 WH sites heavily damaged by earthquake; some utterly devastated

The devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that violently shook Nepal on Saturday left more than human casualties in its wake.

The country also saw a number of its iconic UNESCO World Heritage sites and most popular tourist attractions -- some dating more than 1,700 years -- reduced to piles of rubble.

Nepal: Earthquake-triggered avalanches kill at least 17 climbers on Mount Everest; climbing season in doubt again

NEW DELHI — A year after a deadly avalanche on Mount Everest ended the climbing season, multiple avalanches caused by the earthquake on Saturday rumbled down a treacherous icefall and slammed into the mountaineering base camp,

Completion of subterranean imaging under Yellowstone shows NP is underlain by not one, but two huge magma reservoirs

Underneath the bubbling geysers and hot springs of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming sits a volcanic hot spot that has driven some of the largest eruptions on Earth. Geoscientists have now completely imaged the subterranean plumbing system and have found not just one, but two magma chambers underneath the giant volcano.

Industry presses USNPS to drop ban on bottled-water sales

A National Park Service ban on bottled water sales, which has been attributed to a reduction in litter and garbage in general, is depriving visitors of the life-sustaining beverage, according to the International Bottled Water Association.

Editorial: Value of US NPs much more than economic

On a day set aside to celebrate the Earth and the environmental movement, the Interior Department and National Park Service gave us dollars and cents.

India: EM announces new tiger reserves coming for Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Orissa

India is planning to create three more tiger reserves in the country, environment minister Prakash Javadekar announced in the parliament on Tuesday. The development comes in the wake of a recent survey that showed that the tiger population is rising.

China: Replicas of Great Wall, Summer Palace draw fire for frivolous spending

Controversy has erupted over two replicas of important heritage sites in China, a country famous for its many reproductions of other nations’ famous structures.

In twin report, USNPS trumpets economic impact, and finds 78% of parks take in more carbon than they produce

Top Interior Department and National Park Service officials used Earth Day to promote the National Park System as an economic engine with an annual output of $30 billion and which serves as a carbon sink with an additional value of nearly $600 million.

Capitol Reef NP gets highest level of recognition from International Dark Sky Association

Superb opportunities to enjoy the night sky are just one of many reasons to visit Capitol Reef National Park, and that quality has earned some special recognition for the site. The park has been named a “Gold Tier” park by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), the highest ranking awarded by that non-profit organization.

Haiti: Activist who helped create Three Bays NP, country's first MPAs wins prestigious Goldman Prize

(Reuters) - A Haitian marine biologist who successfully fought to create a national park to protect a large swath of Haiti's north coast has won a prominent U.S. environmental activism prize.

Obama at Everglades NP: "Climate change is threatening this treasure and the communities that depend on it"

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama strolled past reedy sawgrass and twisted mangrove tree roots in Florida's Everglades on Wednesday, part of a push to get Americans thinking and talking about the damage climate change is causing close to home.

On eve of Earth Day presidential visit to Everglades, Florida governor blasts Obama over delayed funding for park's restoration

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) sharply criticized President Obama for a backlog in federal funding for restoration of the Everglades.

Scott’s statement Tuesday came a day before Obama plans to use the Everglades as a backdrop for an Earth Day speech where he’ll highlight the impact that he says climate change has on national parks and the economy.

Waco city council agrees to turn over mammoth fossil site to federal government if Obama declares it a NMon

Waco City Council unanimously agreed Tuesday to relinquish the core of the Waco Mammoth Site to the federal government, contingent on President Barack Obama making it a national monument.

Using technique called "in-painting," conservators effectively erase graffiti from historic dam in Joshua Tree NP

It took more than a year, but crews at Joshua Tree National Park, aided by professional conservators from the University of New Mexico, have largely "erased" graffiti scratched into the Barker Dam, a historic site inside the California park.

USFWS exempt California–Nevada population of greaters sage grouse from ESA protections

(Reuters) - The U.S. government denied protection on Tuesday to a type of prairie bird found in Nevada and California in a victory for mining and ranching groups who feared sage-grouse protections could restrict their livelihoods.

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.

GWS signs MOU with Clemson; first Student Chapter launched; Harmon honored

In September, GWS Executive Director Dave Harmon traveled to Clemson University to sign a memorandum of understanding with the university’s Institute for Parks, one of the USA’s leading academic institutions in the world of protected area education, management, and development.  This is a major agreement that pledges GWS and Clemson to work together in six areas: