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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.
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Registration now open!

(POSTED January 17, 2014) — The earlybird registration deadline is beginning to loom on the horizon ... register by February 6 and save! Click the link below and then select "Register" from the menu to get started!)

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 3, 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! New for 2015: the GWS mobile conference app! You'll be able to navigate the meeting from your mobile device with this free app. It's coming soon, so watch this space! 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:


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)

Bill introduced to redesignate Ocmulgee NMon as NP

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - The Ocmulgee National Monument could become the first National Park in Georgia.

Congressmen Sanford Bishop and Austin Scott re-introduced the legislation on Thursday.  Congressman Bishop realizes just how important this property is, so he plans to do something about it.

Murkowski fears Obama NMon proclamation in works for ANWR

FAIRBANKS - Sen. Lisa Murkowski said Sunday she fears the Obama administration’s recommendation that Congress designate the entire Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as wilderness is a precursor to the president eventually acting unilaterally under a century-old law.

Public meeting draws out ideas for new Tule Springs NMon; security issues at fore

Representations of lions, tigers, bears and scores of impressive animals border a meeting room at the Las Vegas Natural History Museum, but the dozens of curious people in attendance had other things on their minds: fossils.

EU: Populations of rare smew duck, its wintering grounds shifting north, doing twice as well in PAs

A rare European duck whose habitat is changing because of global warming is doing twice as well in conservation areas protected by the EU, research has shown.

But more needs to be done to safeguard the smew, a seldom seen but striking winter visitor to the UK, say experts.

Turkey: Conservationists say government preparing to open PAs to dam-building, other heavy construction

The government is preparing to open up protected areas to construction by downgrading their status, the Cumhuriyet daily has reported.

Chamber of Environmental Engineers (ÇMO) President Baran Bozoğlu spoke to Cumhuriyet on Monday, explaining that protected areas will be stripped of legal safeguards in order to open them to construction.

Indigenous leaders press governments to grant title to traditional territories, citing effectiveness of IPAs

ndigenous communities claim—and scientific evidence increasingly shows—that indigenous forested territories are as well protected as, or better protected than, government-designated parks. In areas under pressure from roads or development projects, deforestation rates are sometimes even lower in indigenous territories than in official protected areas.

White House science advisor says Murkowski reaction to ANWR wilderness plans unwarranted

White House adviser John Podesta chided a top senator for berating the Obama administration’s plan to enact more protections against oil and gas drilling in Alaska’s wildlife refuge.

Great Basin NP plans to reconnoiter area where old Winchester rifle was found

No bones, bullets, or bodies have been connected with that century-old Winchester rifle found propped against a gnarled juniper in the backcountry of Great Basin National Park in Nevada, but park staff are not finished with investigating the circumstances around how the rifle got there.

Enviros claim 200 Yellowstone NP have already been sent to slaughterhouses as part of cull

(Reuters) - Yellowstone National Park has shipped at least 200 bison near the park boundary with Montana to slaughter as the famed tourist destination seeks to reduce a herd by 900 animals this winter, a U.S. conservation group said on Friday.

Indonesia: Despite large-scale threats, only modest additions to PA estate in Borneo needed to protect many mammal species, scientists say

As the third-largest island in the world and the largest island in Asia, Borneo stands out as a hotspot for biodiversity, and there is no question that Borneo's many rare species are in trouble.

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 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:

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.