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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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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


Now available! The GWS2013 Conference Proceedings


View/download at no charge


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


Volume 31, no. 1 • April 2014


The National Park Service Centennial Essay Series: By all means, connect the Civil War to Civil Rights ... but don't skip Reconstruction

ActivistsOne of NPS's aims for the Civil War sesquicentennial is to connect the conflict to the Civil Rights movement. The problem, historian Marty Blatt says, is that the agency has no sites that effectively highlight Reconstruction—and to understand the link between Civil War and Civil Rights, you have to understand Reconstruction. Read the essay


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)

Editorial: Survival of Madagascar's PAs a barometer of world's growing instability

ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar — I’ve been arguing that the big divide in the world these days is between the world of order and a growing world of disorder. If you’re keeping score at home, the world of disorder just added another country: Libya.

Editorial: Survival of Madagascar's PAs a barometer of world's growing instability

ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar — I’ve been arguing that the big divide in the world these days is between the world of order and a growing world of disorder. If you’re keeping score at home, the world of disorder just added another country: Libya.

Editorial: NMon proclamatons about politics, not land preservation

The Improved National Monument Designation Process Act (H.R. 1459) passed the House on March 26 by a vote of 222 to 201. It is currently before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. S. 2608's purpose is "to provide for congressional approval of national monuments" and of restrictions on their use.

New legislation in House would overhaul fees for US NPs

Legislation introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives could, if enacted as drafted, require the National Park Service to determine "a nationally consistent entrance fee policy and corresponding rate structure" for the 401 units of the National Park System, a potentially sweeping requirement that seemingly could generate tens of millions of additional dollars for the parks.

Proposal to ban boa constrictors, bane of Everglades NP, may have unintended consequences, critics say

(Reuters) - A U.S. proposal to ban the import and interstate sale of boa constrictors and four other snake species prompted protests from exotic pet owners and concern among Florida wildlife regulators who fear it could lead to more reptiles being released into the wild.

UK: Enviros outraged as government invites fracking proposals for WH sites, NPs, AONBs

Some of Britain’s most beautiful landscapes could be fracked for oil and gas after the Government today invited bids from energy companies for licences that would allow them start work wherever they think resources can be found.

US: After pepper spray fails to deter charging bear in Glacier NP, hiker wounds it with handgun

A hiker in Glacier National Park fired his handgun at a bear early Saturday morning, likely wounding the animal, after the bear charged him and was undeterred when the hiker deployed his bear spray.

Rare frog tadpoles released in Santa Monica Mountains NRA

Things hopefully will be hopping in the near future in Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in California, where hundreds of California red-legged frog tadpoles have been released as part of the first-ever effort to expand the range of the threatened species in Southern California.

Editorial: Journalists are missing a major news story — loss of biodiversity

FORT-DAUPHIN, Madagascar — WITH the world going crazy, I tried running away from the news. It didn’t work.

Conservationists call for ban on rat poison use in NYC's Central Park, citing nontarget species deaths

For years, wildlife and conservation groups have raised alarms that a class of poisons used to kill rats in New York has been indiscriminately killing wildlife in places like Central Park.

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, ParksCanadaHistory.com, has been created providing access to electronic editions of publications with the aim of showcasing the rich history of the Canadian National Park System.