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.

Proposals now being accepted for GWS2015!

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! Proposals being accepted through October 1. 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)

OK ... NOW Parkwire is on hiatus until September 8

We decided to add a few stories today ... but will be away for the next few days.  Thanks for being a Parkwire reader.  See you next week!

Conservation group: Key ecological functions not being adequately protected by MPAs

Many conservationists will always say that there is no such thing as "enough" species protection. However, new research has revealed just how the current level of marine life protection isn't even adequate enough to allow threatened ecosystems to recover.

Ginseng poacher at Great Smoky Mountains NP gets jail time

A North Carolina man convicted four times for digging or possessing ginseng plants in Great Smoky Mountains National Park will spend 22 weeks in jail for his latest conviction.

Man who crashed drone into hot spring at Yellowstone NP charged with crime; rangers cracking down on other ban violations

Just weeks after a visitor crashed a drone into Yellowstone National Park’s largest hot spring, park officials have filed criminal charges against the alleged pilot, and are stepping up their efforts to publicize and enforce a ban on unmanned aerial vehicles in the park.

Laos: Endangered Siameses crocodiles released into Xe Champhone PA, one of country's two Ramsar wetlands

The Wildlife Conservation Society has just announced the successful release of 17 juvenile critically endangered Siamese crocodiles into a protected wetland in Lao PDR.

Editorial: Public lands and PAs key to making American West most vibrant part of country

LAKEVIEW, Mont. — Just a teardrop down from the Continental Divide, in one of the most remote hideaways in the United States, is a place that should be called Hope. At 6,700 feet above sea level, Centennial Valley is high, mostly dry, and slack-jaw beautiful.

Parkwire on hiatus until September 8

Parkwire will be on vacation next week, but we'll be back on September 8 to catch you up on all the recent news from the world of parks, protected areas, and cultural sites.

China: Business magnate's stag hunting trip in Scotland defended by Nature Conservancy, derided by other enviros

Jack Ma, founder of e-commerce platform Alibaba and chairman of The Nature Conservancy’s China Program, has drawn hostile fire from environmentalists after a British newspaper recently reported he hunted stags in Scotland in 2012. What’s more, Ma has confirmed the story, and TNC issued a statement backing the shooting trip as a way to learn about European wildlife conservation strategies.

DR Congo: Virunga NP ranger injured in grenade attack by poachers

DAKAR, Senegal –  A ranger in Africa's oldest national park has been seriously wounded by a grenade during a confrontation with poachers.

Virunga National Park said in a statement Thursday that a rocket-propelled grenade exploded near Muhindo Kipasula a day earlier. Shrapnel damaged one of his eyes, and he received a concussion that may permanently damage his hearing.

In another chapter in ongoing story, USNPS mulls what to do with soaring deer population at Fire Island NS

The iconic deer roaming the Fire Island National Seashore may be in peril, as the National Park Service weighs options to control the increased population with lethal and nonlethal methods.

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

Condor chick seen at Zion NP

A gut feeling that a pair of California condors had laid an egg in the upper reaches of Zion National Park has been confirmed with the first documented sighting of a condor chick born in Utah, an event biologists hope is the first step in the large birds reestablishing a presence in southern Utah.

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.