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Wildlife refuges play roles on silver screen

PUBLIC LANDS — This year’s Academy Awards holds special interest for the Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System. Some critics are listing “Meeks Cutoff,” with scenes from Malheur National Wildlife Refugein Oregon, as a possible Oscar contender. 

“Meeks Cutoff,” starring Michelle Williams, Bruce Greenwood and Paul Dano, is about pioneers stranded on the Oregon Trail and was filmed from federal lands adjacent to the wildlife refuge. 

Malheur Refuge manager Tim Bodeen knows why director Kelly Reichardt wanted to capture scenes of the refuge:

“We’re one of the nation’s great wild places where you can get wide open views of the natural environment,” he says. “And we have bountiful wildlife [including coyotes and mule deer] that people associate with historic America.” Today’s visitors can hike, bike, fish and hunt on the refuge as well as see wildlife and tour the 19th-century Sod House Ranch. 

Read on for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service observations on some of the better known refuge-linked movies: