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.

On the Horizon:
The 2016 World Ranger Congress

Front-line rangers (game wardens, guardaparques, etc.) from around the world will be gathering May 21-27 in Colorado for the International Ranger Federation's 8th World Ranger Congress. GWS is helping organize logistics and we will be on-scene all week. We'll post daily updates from the Congress here ... watch this space!

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

Volume 33, no. 1 • April 2016

The National Park Service Centennial Essay Series: "We shouldn’t pay for access to our right to understand"

Duncan Morrow is passionate about making America's national parks available to all, regardless of their ability to pay. It's time for Congress to fully fund them, he says, because to continue to treat them shabbily is "unjust for the best of America." Read the essay

GWS's NPS Centennial Essay Series: An Appraisal

As the National Park Service celebrates its hundredth anniversary this year, we in the GWS are preparing to wrap up our 10-year-long NPS Centennial Essay Series. Here, we share some thoughts on the essay series from Nona Dennis, editor of the newsletter of the Marin Conservation League in California. Her reflections are part of a larger article on the NPS centennial, posted here with permission.

NPS Centennial Commentaries

Golden Gate NRA • Rolf Diamant

Long-time GWS member Robert Manning is doing a year-long series of monthly audio commentaries on the US national parks for Vermont Public Radio. Each of Bob's commentaries connect to a topic covered in the new book "A Thinking Person's Guide to America's National Parks," sales of which benefit the GWS. More info on the book is further down this column.

Listen here:

"The Best View"
"The National Park Idea"
"Ways to Experience the Parks"
"The Balance between Building Constituency and Preservation"

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

GWS2017 is coming to Virginia!

The 2017 George Wright Society Conference on Parks, Protected Areas, and Cultural Sites will be held in Norfolk, Virginia, April 2-7. We'll be meeting at the Marriott Waterside Hotel for the 19th in this series of conferences with roots dating back to 1976. Click here to be notified when the Call for Proposals comes out in June 2016. (GWS members will be notified automatically.)

We thank everyone who attended the 2015 meeting in Oakland, 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. As well, you can view or download over 50 PowerPoint presentations shared by presenters.

Check out these recent publications by GWS members:

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!

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

I Survived: My Name is Yitzkhak

Tale of WWII survivor

Promising Pathways

Parks Canada Aboriginal engagement guide

The Land is Our Teacher

Celebration of collaboration between Aboriginal peoples and Parks Canada

Expanding Horizons • Large Landscape Network

Summary of a pathbreaking national workshop

More publications by GWS members

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)

Canada: Comments on proposed NP Reserve in BC's South Okanagan compiled; mostly supportive

Six months after the comments period closed, the B.C. Ministry of Environment has released a summary of feedback on the proposed Protected Areas Framework for the South Okanagan.

South Africa: High court OKs within-country trade in rhino horn; international ban not affected

South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal has dismissed a government bid to uphold a seven-year ban on the domestic trade in rhino horn, an industry group said on Monday.

Officials at Great Smoky Mountains NP euthanize wrong bear after hiker bitten earlier this month

Officials at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park killed the wrong bear after a man who was hiking the Appalachian Trail was bitten in the leg earlier this month, a park spokeswoman said on Monday.

New research confirms widespread severe decline of amphibians, even in PAs

New U.S. Geological Survey-led research suggests that even though amphibians are severely declining worldwide, there is no smoking gun -- and thus no simple solution -- to halting or reversing these declines.

Group starts major PR campaign against push by Utah politicians to gain control of federal land

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - + Video – The Center for Western Priorities launched a nationwide campaign this morning during a press conference in Salt Lake. The six-­figure U-Turn Utah campaign targets outdoor recreation enthusiasts and policymakers with billboards in Denver, Phoenix, Reno, and Salt Lake City, with print ads in prominent outdoor magazines, and digital advertising.

Hiking group sues USNPS over Sequoia/Kings Canyon NPs horsepacking allowances in wilderness

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) — Hikers sued the National Park Service for a look at its plans for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, which they claim have been opened up to too much commercial business.

Jamaica: Germans to provide technical help in developing Blue and John Crow Mountains NP

KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — Jamaica is to benefit from the technical expertise of a team from Germany to develop the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park.

The team is from the Bavarian Forest National Park, located in south-eastern Germany, which has utilised the concept of community tourism to drive socio-economic development.

Lake Mead, centerpiece of NRA, at lowest level since its creation in 1930s

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — The nation’s largest reservoir has broken a record, declining to the lowest level since it was filled in the 1930s.

Lake Mead reached the all-time low Wednesday night, slipping below a previous record set in June 2015.

Nevada newspaper unhappy with heavily redacted response from USBLM to request for information about 2014 Bundy standoff

Federal employees talked about the “crazies” from across the United States who were coming to Bunkerville to support rancher Cliven Bundy.

Nationwide bioblitz records over 6,000 species in 126 NPs

Thousands of wildlife spotters fanned out across 126 U.S. national park units Friday and Saturday in a mammoth BioBlitz held to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the National Park Service.

In setback for government, court delays USNPS request to cancel some Yosemite-related trademarks

WASHINGTON — The National Park Service has lost an early round of legal maneuvering over Yosemite National Park's trademarked names, as a multi-front fight narrows to the court venue preferred by the aggrieved former concessionaire.

Editorial: Now that the grizzly bears of Yellowstone NP have recovered, humans need to learn how to co-exist with them

Meriwether Lewis wasn't used to bears chasing him.

UK: Plankton concentration found by robot off Pembrokeshire Coast may help justify MPA

A "hidden larder" for sharks and whales has been discovered off the west coast of Wales by a pioneering marine robot.

The high-tech mission involved sending an unmanned glider to an area around 50 miles (80km) south west of Milford Haven, called the Celtic Deep.

full story

New IUCN map shows significant overlap between Indigenous traditional territories, PAs in Central America

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has released a new map intended to call attention to the potential benefits of conservationists and governments working together with Indigenous Peoples of Central America.

Editorial: Challenges are many for USNPS as it faces its second century

The national park system centennial in 2016 presents an important opportunity to reflect on the system’s enormous growth and change since its inception. From a mere handful of national parks scattered across the West in 1916, the system now exceeds 410 units stretching across all 50 states and covering roughly 84 million acres.

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 member launches newsletter on privately run protected areas

Brent Mitchell, chair of the Specialist Group on Privately Protected Areas and Nature Stewardship of IUCN's World Commission on Protected Areas, has created a newsletter to help elevate the recognition, understanding and integrity of private conservation world-wide.  Called The Stivrdr, this occasional newsletter takes its name from an Old Norse word meaning keeper of the house, which even

Latest Park Break Perspectives paper: a social science needs assessment

We have just published the thirteenth paper in our Park Break Perspectives Series.  The series is a set of web-based research papers and essays produced by graduate students who have taken part on the GWS's Park Break program.  The papers were developed in consultation with faculty members, park scientists, and other park professionals.  Park Break Perspectives offers fresh looks