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Dispute Over Rogue River Filming Halfway Resolved

August 21, 1993|From Associated Press

EUGENE, Ore. — Environmentalists have settled their disagreement with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management over filming part of a motion picture starring Meryl Streep in a wild section of the Rogue River.

However, a dispute continues over proposed filming of another wild section of the river administered by the U.S. Forest Service.

Film locations include the area of the river around Whiskey Creek, which is administered by the BLM, and Blossom Bar, which is under the jurisdiction of the Forest Service.

The Pacific Rivers Council and the Oregon Natural Resources Council had appealed a permit granted by the BLM allowing Universal Pictures to film "The River Wild" in the protected area.

"Once we were able to sit down with Universal Pictures and clarify their plans, our fears were allayed," said David Bayles, public lands director for the Pacific Rivers Council.

The appeal was originally filed because environmentalists were concerned that filming would harm the resources of the Rogue River.

"The scope of the proposal and the specific activities appeared to be totally inconsistent with management of a wild and scenic river," Bayles said.

But, an appeal of the filming under jurisdiction of the Forest Service by the Oregon Natural Resources Council has not been withdrawn.

Mark Hubbard, staff attorney for the Natural Resources Council, said his group and the Forest Service remain far apart on plans to film portions of the movie at Blossom Bar and three other sites.

He said he had asked Universal officials for a meeting next week. Hubbard said his group's concerns center on the fact that helicopters would make some 200 trips into the scenic area, construction would be necessary at the shooting site and about 120 people might be in the area at any one time.

World famous for its fishing and white-water sports, the Rogue was one of the original rivers protected by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968.

Streep plays a former white-water guide who brings her husband and son to a wilderness river to bring their family closer together.

Universal plans to start filming on the Rogue around Labor Day and spend about 18 days on the river, said Eric Schoblom, associate river manager for the BLM.

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