DNR invites input on proposed Camp Grayling lease expansion

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is offering opportunities for people to learn about and comment on a proposed expansion of DNR-leased lands available for Camp Grayling National Guard Training Center activities.

The proposal for approximately 162,000 additional acres of land around the camp, headquartered west of the city of Grayling in northern Lower Michigan, is sought to adjust acreage to accommodate evolving military training methods.

Public comments for consideration will be accepted through July 8; use an interactive map to view proposed locations and make comments on areas of interest. If approved, changes will go into effect following military approval and processing. Learn more about the proposal.

Additionally, a public meeting on the proposal is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 22, in Community Rooms A & B at Kirtland Community College in Grayling. Attendees will learn about the proposal and have an opportunity to submit comments.

“This proposal will ensure public safety and provide an extended training area for low-impact training activities, allowing the Camp Grayling Joint Maneuver Training Center to train soldiers in evolving warfare methods including cyber warfare,” said Camp Grayling commander Col. Scott L. Meyers.

The military has leased lands for training from the state of Michigan in a partnership that began in 1935.

“Military funds help support environmental surveys and the management, maintenance and restoration of wildlife habitat in the area,” said DNR Grayling Forest Unit Manager Tom Barnes.

If the proposal is approved, public access to state-managed lands, including forest roads for ORV use, would remain. Access to portions of the training area would occasionally be restricted for public safety to accommodate military training exercises, as is typical for currently leased lands.

“Impact zones” where live fire is directed would not be expanded and would not take place on these lands. Au Sable and Manistee river access would remain open for fishing and paddling, and there are no anticipated environmental impacts to the rivers. The military will maintain a buffer of 1,500 feet around rivers and lakes in the proposed expansion area.

When military training activities are underway, access roads are temporarily gated off and notice is provided on local radio and social media channels, including the Camp Grayling Joint Maneuver Training Center Facebook page. The same procedure would be used for additional leased lands.

A decision on the proposal will be made by the DNR director.