Camp Grayling is looking to expand their training space.
They’re looking to add new training measures to their tool belt, and are looking to lease over 160,000 acres of land from the DNR to help practice some of those measures.
“Back in 2018, the joint chiefs of staff published a new strategy, national defense strategy,” said Camp Grayling Commander Col. Scott Meyers. “Within that strategy, it talked about changing how we train, talking about near peer threats and the challenges associated with countries with technologies that rival ours.”
Col. Meyers said they’re looking to add cyber training and space training.
“We have the land domains typically your army stuff, your air domain, think the Air Force, sea domain, maritime domain, think navy,” he said. “And then there’s two newer domains, cyber domain and space domain. The trick with a near peer or contested threat is how do you work with all these domains simultaneously. When we looked at some of our gaps, not only being able to do that simultaneously among great distances, but how do we then tie it in to cyber capabilities.”
Col. Meyers said there are six areas of land they’re looking to lease from the DNR over a 20 year span, which will be reviewed annually.
“Very minimal impact to the community, frankly they won’t see a lot of soldiers in these areas because it will be minimal footprints,” said Col. Meyers. “We’re not creating more tank trails or impact areas or any of those things.”
But that is a concern for local environmental groups, like the Anglers of the AuSauble.
“It impacts the AuSauble River it impacts our sister river, the Manistee River,” said Anglers of the AuSauble President Joe Hemming. “These really are two of the finest trout streams east of the Mississippi.”
Hemming said any impact on the wetlands or the water in any of the areas, it impacts the rivers, too.
“They’re a tremendous economic engine for the region for the community,” Hemming said. “We’re very concerned that we don’t want to adversely impact that economic engine. We don’t want to hurt the river.”
Col. Meyers said they’ve already looked into how to protect the land.
“There are deeded lands that the DNR has that we can’t train on, and there’s sensitive habitats and areas we’ll put boxes around where we can’t train in, we’ll put in buffer zones along the water ways,” he said.
Hemming said it’s still a large project.
“The DNR is charged with being the steward of our precious natural resources,” he said. “That river is very precious and we want to make sure they exercise extraordinary due diligence for this proposal.”
You can view, and comment until July 8, on the areas Camp Grayling is looking to lease .