Proposed Military Operations Area Next to Gaylord Regional Airport Faces Controversy

A proposed military operations area in Otsego County has been met with concern.

Some say it’s a win for the Army National Guard there, but according to some, a potential hit to the tourism industry.

A military operations area, or MOA is a section of airspace reserved for the military to practice and conduct exercises.

The proposed MOA will run adjacent to the Gaylord Regional Airport.

Last week, the Otsego County Board of Commissioners met to discuss the new proposal, and voted to oppose it.

Airport director Matt Barresi says the new MOA proposal places limits on civilian airspace traffic, and that it will ultimately affect tourism and the safety of uncontrolled aircraft in the area surrounding the airport.

He says he and the board of commissioners support the military and a new MOA.

They hope to find some middle ground.

“We got together with our engineers, our owner users, the businesses that utilize our airport, and we looked at how the MOA was being presented. There were a lot of restrictions in there that would hinder operations. We weren’t in favor of that. Let’s take it back and try it again, let’s have another evaluation of it and maybe we can find something in the middle,” Barresi said.

The military and the FAA will have the ultimate say on what happens moving forward, and that seeking input from the community is all part of their process.