Kevin Costner Under Fire For Damaging Wildlife Habitat

Kevin Costner reportedly bulldozed through wildlife habitat for his new film, Horizon.

By Jessica Goudreault | Updated

While filming scenes for his new western movie Horizon, Kevin Costner is under fire for damaging a wildlife management area in southern Utah. The Yellowstone actor has tried to make things right by paying Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources a reported $69,000 from his production company, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. However, money doesn’t always solve everything, and this raises concerns about allowing production companies to film on public lands.

During filming, Kevin Costner’s production company camped out along the San Rafael River and bulldozed through a section of sensitive habitat within Utah’s San Rafael Swell wildlife management area. And if causing damage to the environment and local ecosystem wasn’t bad enough, it may have all been in violation of the production company’s filming permit.

This begs the question of whether or not it’s worth it for states to allow filming on their public lands. On the one hand, it gives great exposure to their community, which could draw in tourism, but at what price? If production companies don’t treat public lands with the respect it deserves, then they could destroy precious wildlife habitats.

Many great movies have been filmed in the gorgeous state of Utah, including Thelma & Louise, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 127 Hours, and even The Sandlot. As far as we know, the production companies behind these films were respectful of the land and left it relatively untouched. Visitors to Utah can check out many of the iconic filming locations all over the state, from Dead Horse Point State Park in Moab to the Bonneville Salt Flats to Harry and Lloyd’s apartment from Dumb and Dumber in Salt Lake City.

kevin costner yellowstone

Horizon is a new project from Kevin Costner, and it’s one that he is writing, directing, producing, and starring in. The new film will take place in the American West, portraying the expansion and settlement before and after the Civil War. The drama western film promises a large, talented cast, including Avatar star Sam Worthington, Thomas Haden Church, Elizabeth Dennehy, and Luke Wilson.

While starring in films is nothing new to Kevin Costner, he hasn’t directed a movie in 20 years since his efforts with Open Range in 2003. Coincidentally, Kevin Costner directed and starred in this Western film as well, performing alongside the great Robert Duvall. With Horizon’s big budget and backing from New Line Cinema and Warner Bros., we hope to see another great film, as long as the production companies can keep from ruining any more beautiful public lands.

Kevin Costner has starred in many films over his long and storied Hollywood career, but it seems like he’s always had a soft spot for Western films. The Academy Award winner has starred in a handful of westerns, including Dances with Wolves, Wyatt Earp, Silverado, and The Postman, in addition to his widely successful role as John Dutton in the TV series Yellowstone. At 68 years old, Kevin Costner is certainly fitting perfectly into the gruff and haggard characters that are synonymous with Western movies.