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.

Announcing the 2017 GWS Conference
Come join us in Virginia!

Proposals now being accepted through September 30


Plan to join us in Norfolk, Virginia, next April for "Connections Across People, Place, and Time," the 2017 George Wright Society Conference on Parks, Protected Areas, and Cultural Sites. It's your once-every-two-years opportunity to connect with the latest ideas and core values of the international parks community! Find out more


Just published — A Thinking Person's Guide to America's National Parks


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! Find out more


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


Volume 33, no. 2 • August 2016


The National Park Service Centennial Essay Series: The Organic Act is only half the mission of NPS

The NPS Centennial Essay wraps up with an essay by Denis P. Galvin, who draws attention to the "other half" of the Park Service mission: the more than three dozen external and partnership programs that agency is responsible for. Read the essay


From the front lines: Reflections on the World Ranger Congress

Front-line rangers (game wardens, guardaparques, etc.) from around the world are gathered May 21-27 in Colorado for the International Ranger Federation's 8th World Ranger Congress. GWS helped organize logistics and Emily Dekker-Fiala and Dave Harmon were on-scene all week. Click here for some of Dave's observations of this important international event.


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


Check out these recent publications by GWS members:


National Park Roads: A Legacy in the American Landscape

Definitive history of road systems in US national parks


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


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)

Editorial: On 100th anniversary of USNPS, we must recommit to the parks

In 1914, Stephen Mather, a wealthy director of a borax mining company in California, observed the deteriorating conditions of some of America’s national parks and wrote a letter of protest to Interior Secretary Franklin Lane.

Solar energy project near Mojave NPres fails to get needed permits from county

A massive solar energy project proposed to be built within one mile of Mojave National Preserve has failed to get key permits from the San Bernardino County supervisors, who were concerned over the impacts the project would bring to the area.

Study: Human impacts on natural world growing slower than population and economic growth

The global impact of human activities on the natural environment is extensive, but those impacts are expanding at a slower rate than the rate of economic and population growth.

Analysis: USNPS still hasn't made much progress in diversifying workforce

t’s a nasty, end-of-winter night in the coastal Washington town of Ilwaco, but the driving rain is the least of Nancy Fernandez’s concerns. The inside of the Salt Pub is dry but jammed with soggy locals chomping burgers, sipping brews and waiting to check out the night’s entertainment, which is Fernandez, 25.

Mediated talks to settle trademark fight in Yosemite NP fail; courts next venue

Efforts to settle the dispute between the federal government and Yosemite National Park’s former concessions company over trademarks have stalled, foreshadowing a potentially costly and time-consuming court battle.

Huna Tlingit tribal house to be dedicated in Glacier Bay NP&Pres

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A tribal house years in the making will be dedicated on the shores of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve on Thursday, a physical acknowledgment that the area known for its rugged beauty is also the homeland of the Huna Tlingit.

Philanthropist donates 87,000 ac of land to federal government, likely presaging proclamation of Maine Woods NMon

BANGOR, Maine — The company owned by Roxanne Quimby’s family transferred more than 87,000 acres to the federal government on Tuesday, strongly indicating President Barack Obama soon will designate a North Woods national monument.

Presidio Trust handled rejection of movie mogul's proposal properly, investigation concludes

An epic but ultimately failed proposal by filmmaker George Lucas to build a museum in San Francisco was properly handled by the Presidio Trust, federal investigators have concluded.

Analysis: Climate change means the end of US NPs as we know them

After a century of shooing away hunters, tending to trails and helping visitors enjoy the wonder of the natural world, the guardians of America’s most treasured places have been handed an almost unimaginable new job – slowing the all-out assault climate change is waging against national parks across the nation.

Timor-Leste: Survey finds that island may have highest average fish diversity in the world; more protections needed, enviros say

Ataúro Island, located just 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) north of Dili, Timor-Leste’s capital, may have the highest average fish diversity in the world, a new survey has found.

Interview: USNPS Director Jarvis talks climate change

Climate Central sat down with Jarvis to talk about the types of threats that climate change poses, what the National Park Service is doing to confront those threats and how he hopes to inspire the next generation of stewards to usher parks into a new century of management practices.

Possible eastward extension of Lewis & Clark NHT will not include proposal from southwestern Virginia

The path to recognizing the historic travels of the Lewis and Clark explorers with a trail through Southwest Virginia is taking a new direction.

As Lake Powell levels continue to fall in Glen Canyon NRA, officials ponder how to keep ferry service running

The National Park Service is seeking public comments about proposed improvements to allow continued use of the state's ferry between the Bullfrog and Halls Crossing marinas as the average level of Lake Powell continues to fall.

Revised ORV rules for Cape Hatteras NS published; open for public comment

The National Park Service today published in the Federal Register its proposed changes to The Cape Hatteras National Seashore's final rule for off-road vehicle management that became effective in 2012.

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

Nominations sought for GWS Board; deadline is July 1

Each year, two seats on the Board of Directors come up for election. This year, the seats are held by David Parsons and Barrett Kennedy, both of whom are reaching the end of their second three-year term on the Board and are therefore unable to run again. We are now accepting nominations of GWS members who would like run for these open seats.

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