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Michigan DNR Reviews Proposal To Expand Camp Grayling National Guard Training Center

(CBS DETROIT) -- The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is seeking public comment as it reviews a proposal by Camp Grayling National Guard Traning Center officials to include about 162,000 additional acres of DNR-managed land around the camp.

The proposal is seeking to lease the land for "periodic, low impact activities," which Camp Grayling officials say include drone operation, cyber electronic warfare, space and communication system installation and operation.

The DNR extended its original July 8 deadline for public comment and will accept comments through the review process.

In addition, a public meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on June 22, at that the Kirtland Community College, 4800 W. 4 Mile Road in Grayling. DNR officials say attendees will learn more about the proposal and have an opportunity to submit comments. Click here to view the proposed locations and make a comment.

Officials say an environmental and parcel review will begin if the proposal is approved, and DNR will maintain ownership of the land and manage the authority of leased lands. Public access to state lands including roads for off-road vehicle use will also remain.

Here is a breakdown of the review process:

  1. DNR parcel review.
    1. Staff review of proposed parcels to remove those purchased with restricted funds, campgrounds and parcels that do not allow leasing.
    2. Review Kirtland's warbler habitat with Kirtland's warbler management team, with representation including the DNR, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service.
    3. Use Conservation Viewer tool to remove parcels where training could have negative impacts on fish, wildlife and the natural landscape.
    4. Maintain 1,500-foot buffer around lakes and rivers.
  2. DNR and Department of Military and Veterans Affairs review revised expansion footprint.
  3. Military conducts federal environmental analysis on new expansion footprint.
  4. DNR and DMVA determine lease limits and language for each expansion area.
  5. Public input opportunity on refined plan.
  6. DNR executive management review of revised draft.
  7. Final draft presented to DNR director and National Guard adjutant general for approval.

According to the military, Camp Grayling is the largest National Guard training center in the United States and uses 148,000 acres of land for training.

The military has leased lands for training from Michigan since 1935, DNR says.

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