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.

Landscape-scale conservation, decolonization, natureful cities headline GWS2017 program

Registration now open! • Free mobile conference app coming soon • Share your plans #gws2017
Poster proposals still being accepted — click link below for more info


The GWS2017 program is now complete and available for viewing on the conference website. Our week in Norfolk is headlined by Plenary Sessions on connectivity conservation, decolonizing conservation, and fostering cities where nature is front and center and available to everyone. Plan now to join us in 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


A WSJ "Best of 2016" pick — 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. 3 • December 2016


The National Park Service Centennial Essay Series: Final Thoughts on a Ten-Year Project

Dwight Pitcaithley and Rolf Diamant wrap up the National Park Service Centennial Essay project with a look back at some of the major ideas that came out of the 27 essays that form the series, and a look forward into an unsettled future for the agency. Read the essay


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:


America's Public Lands: From Yellowstone to Smokey Bear and Beyond

Award-winning account of policy and management challenges


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


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)

Supporters of a Cahokia Mounds NP not giving up under new administration

Conservationists working to make Cahokia Mounds in Collinsville a unit of the National Park Service say they will continue their efforts under the new administration of President Donald Trump.

USNPS apologizes for 2 postings on Twitter construed as unfavorable to Trump

The National Park Service said on Saturday it regretted having retweeted two Twitter posts, including one comparing the size of crowds at President Trump’s

Fight over new expansion of Cascade-Siskiyou NMon unlikely to be over

After years of planning, campaigning, feuding and finger-pointing, Oregon's fight over new national monuments seems to be coming to a close - for now.

Three men from "High on Life" group plead guilty to numerous violations in Yellowstone NP

MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, Wyo. - Three defendants from the Canadian group High On Life appeared Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Carman at the Yellowstone Justice Center in Mammoth Hot Springs and were sentenced after plead guilty to charges.

Syria: Islamist militants blow up parts of Roman-era structures in Palmyra WH site

Islamic State militants have destroyed the facade of a second-century Roman amphitheater and another ancient monument in the historic city of Palmyra, Syria, the Syrian state-run news agency reported on Friday.

Wyoming governor urges legislature to consider selling last state-owned parcel within Grand Teton NP to federal government

The last remaining chunk of Wyoming-owned land within the borders of Grand Teton National Park is an under-performing asset that the state should consider selling.

That’s the message Gov. Matt Mead delivered to lawmakers last week during his annual State of the State address.

USFS illegally allowed helicopters to land in wilderness area to collar elk & wolves, court rules; data obtained must be destroyed

OCATELLO, Idaho – A federal judge today ruled that the U.S. Forest Service illegally authorized the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) to conduct approximately 120 helicopter landings to place radio collars on elk in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness last winter in an operation during which IDFG also unlawfully collared four wolves.

Spelunkers discover 2 small lakes deep within Jewel Cave NMon

Every now and then, Jewel Cave reveals a secret.

That was the case during the year-end holidays, when a group of spelunkers headed into the national monument in western South Dakota for four days and came back with photos of two "lakes" deep within the cave.

NPCA rips new ORV management plan for Glen Canyon NRA

National Park Service officials have settled on an off-road management plan for Glen Canyon National Recreation Area that, if approved, would carry adverse impacts for soils, vegetation, and paleontological and archaeological resources and lead to increased safety issues for visitors.

Mexico: Isidro Baldenegro, Goldman prize-winning Indigenous defender of Tarahumara forests, gunned down; motive unclear

MEXICO CITY — Isidro Baldenegro López, an indigenous activist whose struggle to protect the pine-oak forests of Mexico’s Sierra Madre range won him the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize, has been killed by a gunman, the authorities said on Wednesday.

Sweden: Long-sought-after remains of Viking-age manor discovered

For centuries it has been speculated where the manor of the royal bailiff of Birka, Herigar, might have been located.

New geophysical results provide evidence of its location at Korshamn, outside the town rampart of the Viking Age proto-town Birka in Sweden. The results will be published in the international scientific journal Archäologisches Korrespondenzblatt.

Mexico: Emergency plan launched to save vaquita, world's most endangered marine mammal; some to be relocated to sanctuaries

An ambitious, emergency plan to help save the vaquita porpoise from extinction in the northern Gulf of California has been recommended by the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita (CIRVA).

Italy: Earthquake-triggered avalanche buries hotel in Gran Sasso NP; 30 people missing

ROME — As many as 30 people were missing after an avalanche barreled into a mountainside hotel in central Italy, civil protection officials said on Thursday, a day after four earthquakes struck the region, which has been hit hard in recent months.

Study: 60% of primate species threatened with extinction

Our fellow primates are in trouble.

In a study of unprecedented scope, a team of 31 primatologists has analyzed every known species of primate to judge how they are faring. The news for man’s closest animal relatives is not good.

USNPS publishes new plan for National Park System

WASHINGTON – The National Park Service (NPS) today released a plan to identify gaps in the current National Park System to better inform future decision-makers of options that more fully represent the nation’s natural and cultural resources, and the experiences of all Americans.

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

Jennifer Palmer Appointed New Executive Director of the George Wright Society

Jennifer Palmer, a conservation scientist, educator, and wildlife biologist, has been announced as the new Executive Director of the George Wright Society.

Reynolds, Thomsen gain seats on Board of Directors

David Reynolds and Jennifer Thomsen are the newest members of the Board of Directors.