(UKTN DETROIT) — The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is seeking public comment as it considers a proposal by Camp Grayling National Guard Training Center officials to include approximately 162,000 additional acres of DNR-managed land around the camp.
The proposal seeks to lease the land for “periodic low-impact activities,” which Camp Grayling officials say include the operation of drones, electronic cyber warfare, installation and operation of space and communications systems. .
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The DNR has extended its original July 8 UKTN for public comments and will be accepting comments throughout the review process.
Additionally, a public meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on June 22 at Kirtland Community College, 4800 W. 4 Mile Road in Grayling. MNR officials say participants will learn more about the proposal and have the opportunity to submit comments. Click here to see proposed locations and leave a comment.
Officials say an environmental and parcel review will begin if the proposal is approved, and that MNR will retain ownership of the land and manage authority for the leased lands. Public access to state lands, including roads for all-terrain vehicles, will also remain.
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Here is a breakdown of the review process:
- Examination of MNR packages.
- Staff review of proposed plots to remove those purchased with restricted funds, campgrounds, and plots that do not allow rentals.
- Review Kirtland’s Warbler habitat with the Kirtland’s Warbler Management Team, with representation including the DNR, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and US Forest Service.
- Use the Conservation Viewer tool to remove patches where formation could have negative impacts on fish, wildlife, and the natural landscape.
- Maintain a 1,500 foot buffer zone around lakes and rivers.
- MNR and the Department of Military Affairs and Veterans Affairs are reviewing the revised expansion footprint.
- The Army is conducting a federal environmental scan of the new expansion footprint.
- DNR and DMVA determine rental limits and language for each expansion area.
- Opportunity for input from the public on the refined plan.
- MNR Executive Management review of revised draft.
- Final version presented to the Director of the DNR and the Adjutant General of the National Guard for approval.
According to the Army, 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 land for Michigan training since 1935, the DNR says.
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