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.

Conference program will come into focus soon;
Over 500 proposals received

(POSTED OCTOBER 28, 2014) — The Conference Committee will be meeting in early November to select proposals for GWS2015. They'll evaluate more than 500 submissions for sessions, papers, posters, and exhibits. We expect to announce the program before the end of November.

The George Wright Society Conference on Parks, Protected Areas, and Cultural Sites is coming to the Bay Area! Plan now to join us in Oakland, California, the week of March 29–April 2, 2015, for "Engagement, Education, and Expectations: The Future of Parks and Protected Areas." Our biennial conference is all about reflection, reconnection, and renewal — a week of stimulating discussion about leading-edge research, innovative practices, and foundational values. GWS2015 is your place to engage with colleagues who share your commitment to excellence ... to educate yourself about the latest trends and ideas ... to raise expectations for yourself and your career! The conference will kick off with a plenary panel discussion on the health/parks connection. Find out more

Sample the current issue of our journal, The George Wright Forum

Volume 31, no. 2 • August 2014

The National Park Service Centennial Essay Series: The experts, the public, and the gap in between

ActivistsUsing last year's US federal government shutdown as a case in point, Diane Barthel-Bouchier describes a growing segment of the public that is no longer willing to accept NPS expertise at face value, raising a host of challenging issues that boil down to two simple questions: Who's in charge here? and, Who should be? Read the essay

Now available! The GWS2013 Conference Proceedings

View/download at no charge

Check out these recent publications by GWS members:

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

Action on the Ground III • Parks Canada

Latest on Parks Canada's ecological integrity program

To Conserve Unimpaired • Robert B. Keiter

Analysis of the evolution of the national park idea

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)

Philippines: Boundaries of 24 PAs marked off; buffer zones can now be identified

THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Central Visayas has completed the forest delineation of all 24 protected areas in the region.

Slovak Republic: Bypass around Bratislava will cross Dunajské luhy Natura 2000 PA

The construction of the D4 highway stretch between Jarovce-Ivanka pri Dunaji North near the capital, which will form a bypass around Bratislava, is set to be built partly on the Natura 2000 protected area of Dunajské luhy (Danube Floodplain Meads), the government confirmed at its October 29 session.

Editorial: 50th anniversary wilderness conference a worthwhile event

n mid-October, thousands of wilderness enthusiasts gathered in Albuquerque, N.M., for a national conference celebrating the 50th anniversary of one of America's great ideas, the Wilderness Act.

Suspect identified in NP vandalism cases

(CNN) -- It's a bad idea to deface national parks. It's even dumber to tag your vandalism across four states and have the images go viral among vexed nature enthusiasts.

But authorities have identified the woman they believe is behind graffiti at eight national parks -- 21-year-old Casey Nocket of New York state.

With uptick in demand from Asia, USFWS looks at ESA protections for 4 turtle species

(Reuters) - The U.S. government has proposed adding four types of freshwater turtles to an international endangered species list, in part to better monitor exports of the species, whose meat is considered a delicacy in Asia.

No Pollyanna, but nonetheless prominent rainforest activist says there's cause for hope in recent developments

In the mid-1990s I visited a magnificent tract of lowland rainforest in Malaysian Borneo. Some of my fondest memories are from that forest: hiking under the towering trees, wading in the crystal-clear streams, and delighting in its spectacular wildlife, including hornbills and endangered orangutans.

Editorial: San Gabriel Mountains NMon proclamation was rushed through without enough public input

This month President Obama designated 350,000 acres of the San Gabriel Mountains as a national monument. This action was prompted by a request from Rep. Judy Chu, D-Pasadena, to create the monument by executive order because her legislative bill, HR4858, the San Gabriel Mountains Recreation Act, had stalled in Congress.

City leaders push Waco Mammoth Site NMon in lobbying visit to DC

Waco leaders are in Washington, D.C., this week to make the pitch for an executive order to make the Waco Mammoth Site a national monument and to invite top federal parks officials to Waco to see it.

In annual clean-up, fifty-seven tons of marine debris removed from Papahanaumokuakea Marine NMon, mostly by hand

How did they do it?  Using their hands.

"We carefully free dive down, cut the nets free and use our backs to get them on our boat," said NOAA Chief Scientist Mark Manuel.

full story

Wales: Heritage tourism project assesses value of Welsh historic sites at £19m per annum

The Welsh economy could be in line for an annual boost of up to £19m thanks to a project designed to make the most out of heritage tourism.

The findings have been revealed following an evaluation of the Heritage Tourism Project (HTP) by Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service, which has been part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

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 joins Great Lakes-Northern Forest CESU

In early September the Society received word that our application to join the Great Lakes-Northern Forest Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit has been accepted.  By joining the national CESU network, GWS will be able to more readily partner with federal agencies, universities, and nongovernmental organizations on projects of common interest.  The Great Lakes-Northern Forest is hosted b

New Parks Canada history website debuts / Lancement du nouveau site internet Histoire de Parcs Canada

A new website,, has been created providing access to electronic editions of publications with the aim of showcasing the rich history of the Canadian National Park System.