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  • Writer's pictureERG

Camp Grayling Expansion: Denied

Updated: May 8, 2023

ERG's previous post was about the Camp Grayling expansion request by the National Guard and the opposition to the proposal. Yesterday, the MI Dept. of Natural Resources made a decision about the military training facility. Finally!

Following a lengthy community input process and department review, the DNR has declined a proposed 20-year lease of approximately 162,000 acres of state forest land to the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA). The DMVA had sought to lease the land, located around the National Guard training camp in Grayling, to accommodate low-impact military training activities. An initial review of the DMVA’s request found that most of the proposed lands were ineligible for such a lease because they are within buffer zones around bodies of water or were purchased with funds that prohibit activities planned by the National Guard. The remaining land, approximately 52,000 acres, could be available to the DMVA for short-term, low-impact training activities. Under a Memorandum of Understanding, an agreement between the DNR and the DMVA, the DMVA may apply for limited land use permits to conduct exercises on up to 52,000 acres of eligible land.

Key points in the Memorandum of Understanding:

  • No lease approved; the DMVA may annually apply for land use permits

  • DMVA training could occur on up to 52,000 acres of state managed forest land

  • Recreational access to remain at all times

  • The size of buffer zones around inland lakes and designated trout streams – where no military activity could take place – was doubled by DNR from 1,500 feet in the initial proposal to 3,000 feet in the Memorandum of Understanding

  • No live fire or use of tanks on these lands; no permanent fencing or structures.

Photo credit of Grayling Air Gunnery Range.

Update: One of this blog's readers - Kyle S. - wrote this incisive observation in relation to this post:

If anyone is upset by the DNR’s decision to deny expanding access to state land for the Grayling post, I would ask them if they think the US military has utilized the resources that they have already been given to them effectively.

For example the US Navy recently spent billions creating the Zumwalt class of ships that has turned out to be a failure. The US Gerald Ford faced numerous expensive delays before it was launched. The United States military left billions worth of war material behind in Afghanistan that is now being used by terrorist organizations to murder people. Lastly, the US has donated tens of billions worth war material to a foreign country (Ukraine) that was paid for by US citizens, and it’s going to take years to replace.

Until we see greater reverence on behalf of the US Government and the military for the resources that are currently provided to them, they do not deserve anything extra.



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