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.

Updated conference program, abstracts now available

Post about your conference plans! #GeorgeWright2015

New for 2015: the GWS mobile conference app! Navigate the meeting from your mobile device with this free app. Download it by clicking below.

(POSTED February 26, 2015) — Over 525 people have already registered for GWS2015 ... don't miss your chance to join them!

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! 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:


Expanding Horizons • Large Landscape Network

Summary of a pathbreaking national workshop


Scaling Up: Collaborative Approaches to Large Landscape Management

Collection of stories highlighting the "Scaling Up" goal of the NPS "Call to Action"


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


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)

Study: Global infrastructure being built at rapid pace, but biggest threat to world's last intact natural areas comes from roads

Infrastructure is being built at the fastest rate in human history and could unleash a wave of road-building that puts many of the world’s remaining wildernesses at risk over the coming decades, scientists warn.

Egypt: Excavation of newly discovered pit near temple yields 38 precious objects

The Centre franco-égyptien d'étude des temples de Karnak (CNRS/Egyptian Ministry of State for Antiquities) has just completed the excavation of a favissa, a pit discovered in early December 2014 near the temple of the god Ptah.

Myanmar: Songbird thought extinct for last 75 years rediscovered in grassland habitat

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Scientists say a tiny, brown bird long thought to be extinct has been rediscovered in Myanmar's grasslands, but its fragmented habitat is threatened by human encroachment.

The Jerdon's babbler was first discovered in the 1860s but had not been reported in 74 years.

Rare cannon at Fort Sumter NMon gets new carriage

After years of sitting on deteriorating wooden blocks, a 10-inch Columbiad cannon at Fort Sumter National Monument recently received a new replica carriage.

Iraq: Islamist radicals attack Nimrud archaeological site, doing heavy damage; site currently under consideration for WH status

BAGHDAD — The Islamic State militant group attacked the ancient archaeological site of Nimrud in northern Iraq and damaged it with heavy vehicles, Iraq’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said Thursday.

Canada: CPAWS lukewarm on BC government's pledge to boost PA size

The provincial government’s move to expand B.C.’s park system by 1,540 hectares has received muted praise from the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.

GOP presses USFWS for documents on agency's thinking regarding possible ESA protections for bat populations

The House Natural Resources Committee wants more information from the federal government before it decides whether to designate the northern long-eared bat as an endangered species.

Analysis: In Cameroon, indigenous people and wildlife conservationists struggle to make common cause

UNITED NATIONS, Mar 5 2015 (IPS) - Indigenous and wildlife conservationists have common goals and common adversaries, but seem to be struggling to find common ground in the fight for sustainable forests.

The forest lifestyle of the Baka people of Cameroon helps provide improved habitats for wild animals.

Hunters call for bison kill at Grand Canyon NP as park studies what to do with species

The growing bison herd occupying the northern reaches of Arizona's Grand Canyon National Park is decimating the area's ecosystem, and some conservationists are ready to call in the hunters.

Scientist: Salt marshes declining in Cape Cod NS

Ever so gently, but steadily nonetheless, development and sea-level rise are slowly squeezing salt marshes at Cape Cod National Seashore. High marshes are being being transformed into low marshes, and low marshes are in danger of being drowned out.

Russia: Amur leopard, world's rarest big cat, on rise in Land of the Leopard NP, elsewhere, though overall numbers still very low

While poaching and environmental degradation have had disastrous effects on animal species across Asia, one highly endangered cat has seen a small but important rise in its numbers, researchers say.

China: Government census sees 17% jump in giant panda population, but habitat is waning

The number of China's wild pandas has increased 17% to 1,864 in past decade, a government survey has found, but habitats have become increasingly fragmented and populations more dispersed.

China: Illegal wildlife trade continues to thrive on social media

UNITED NATIONS, Mar 4 2015 (IPS) - Despite a major online crackdown on the sale of illegal wildlife products in China, merchants are still peddling their wares in a thriving social media market.

Analysis: Bill to open Grand Teton & Yellowstone NP waterways splits enviro community

Earlier this month, U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., introduced a bill to nudge Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks in the direction of allowing recreational paddlers in their rivers.

Analysis: Cities prepare for climate change by turning to parks as disaster-buffering tools

BARCELONA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Tucked away beneath courts for playing the bowling game pétanque, its entrance part-concealed by hanging plants, lies a cavernous concrete tank for collecting floodwater.

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.