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Soldiers Spotted Outside Training Area Grows Concerns Over Proposed Camp Grayling Expansion

The debate over a possible 162,000 acre expansion to Camp Grayling continues after photos show soldiers performing an exercise outside of a training area.

Early Sunday evening, Gary and his wife were sitting on their deck along the Manistee River in Bear Lake Township when soldiers in large rafts came floating by.

“It was about four o’clock. We’re looking down the river and here comes this big, giant inflatable boat,” Gary explains. “So, we’re sitting here a little while longer and here comes another one, and another one, and another one. There was seven of them.”

Gary says there were nine soldiers per boat which were equipped with fully automatic rifles.

“We’re not at all opposed to the guard, we’re not anti-army or anything like that. But it’s just a little unnerving when it’s in your backyard,” Gary states.

Photos were shared online, adding to the concerns surrounding the proposed Camp Grayling expansion. Bear Lake Township Trustee Jim Knight says residents are concerned.

“My constituents are really concerned of the fact that they’re not even supposed to be in that area and here they are going down the Manistee River with weapons,” Knight says.

Knight questions how the DNR will be able to effectively police the 162,000 acres of additional land.

“I haven’t any idea how they could possible have any oversight. They would need over 100 people and DNR personnel to oversee something like that. And that’s just unrealistic,” Knight admits.

The DNR is reviewing the situation.

Camp Grayling’s Post Commander Colonel Scott Meyers apologized, saying it was an out of state unit and it was not approved or coordinated with the camp.

“We’re not anti-military, I like hearing the guns, I like hearing the helicopters,” Gary admits. “But I don’t want to hear it everyday. And I don’t want them living with us, and that’s close to living with us.”

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