A preliminary review by the Michigan DNR shows that the lands available for lease by the National Guard for its Camp Grayling expansion proposal could be reduced significantly.
The size and scope of the actual reduction would depend on the outcome of a formal DNR review of the proposed lease expansion area. That formal review has not yet been undertaken.
In June, the National Guard publicly announced its desire to increase Camp Grayling’s footprint by 162,000 acres — an addition to the already-leased 148,000 acres of public land. The guard said this property is needed to conduct low-impact electromagnetic warfare training and tactics that require long distances.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) conducted an informal database review of the lands requested for expansion near Camp Grayling earlier this month. This review was not comprehensive and didn’t include a field review.
Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) was the first conservation organization to announce opposition to the expansion. MUCC was joined by Anglers of the Au Sable and numerous other conservation organizations.
“For conservationists, it’s important that our public, state-owned lands remain protected, open and used for the purposes intended — hunting, fishing, trapping and recreating,” said Amy Trotter, MUCC executive director. “Hundreds of concerned residents in the area, hunters, anglers and conservationists spoke out against this expansion at the dozens of public meetings.”
The discussion of this preliminary review was at the quarterly meeting hosted by MUCC. This informal gathering of statewide and regional conservation organizations meets to discuss ongoing issues related to the DNR and works to collectively protect and enhance our outdoor heritage and conservation landscape in Michigan.