Some municipalities oppose proposed Camp Grayling expansion
Tue, 08/09/2022 - 2:29pm caleb
Kalkaska County, Bear Lake Township, Beaver Creek Township, Lovells Township boards not in favor of the proposal
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
The boards of some area municipalities are passing resolutions opposing Camp Grayling’s request to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources asking for an additional 162,000 acres of state land to lease for training space.
The current size of Camp Grayling is approximately 148,000 acres, according to military officials. Camp Grayling is looking to add training space for “periodic low impact activities such as drone operation, cyber, electronic warfare, space, and communication system installation and operation,” according to the DNR.
“Hunting, camping, fishing, and ORV trails will remain open. No military training will occur on these lands during Regular Firearms Deer Season (November 15-30). No permanent fencing will be erected on these lands. Public advisories will be broadcasted on the radio and posted on social media when troops are training in these areas. There will be no military training activity within 1,500 feet of rivers,” according to the Camp Grayling and the DNR.
The proposed expansion includes land in Crawford County and a couple of neighboring counties, according to the DNR’s Camp Grayling Public Viewer map.
Some municipalities in the area are officially opposing the Camp Grayling expansion proposal.
Correspondence for the Crawford County Board of Commissioners regular meeting on Thursday, July 28, included “Kalkaska County Board – Resolution to Oppose the Camp Grayling Increased Expansion into Kalkaska County.”
The Crawford County Board of Commissioners did not discuss Kalkaska’s resolution but it did agree to add a local citizen to the next meeting’s agenda following brief public comment in which he voiced opposition to the proposal, calling it a “want” and “not a need.”
Kalkaska’s Resolution 2022-32 (“Resolution to Oppose the Camp Grayling Increased Expansion into Kalkaska County”) says, in part, that the proposal “has met with justifiable concerns from the public about the proposed expansion and proposed uses.”
“The Master Plan of Kalkaska County states Kalkaska County is a rural, recreation-oriented place filled with pristine rivers, rich forests and open farm land and that Kalkaska wants to retain its rustic and outdoor playground atmosphere for the enjoyment of its citizens and visitors” and “the proposed expansion of Camp Grayling does not support the Master Plan of Kalkaska County further surrounding and encroaching on even more private property and residences without any adequate buffering thus interfering with the general quality of life and enjoyment of citizens and visitors,” according to the resolution.
Kalkaska County’s resolution also raises concerns about possible contamination of the “watershed of the Manistee River and its tributaries” and possible “negative impact to the rural roads of Kalkaska County and trails on state land within the County.”
The resolution “directs the Clerk” of Kalkaska to send copies of the document to Michigan counties, the director of the DNR, the governor, and state lawmakers. The Kalkaska County Board of Commissioners approved the resolution 6-0 (with one member absent) on July 20, according to the document.
In June, Bear Lake Township (of Kalkaska County) adopted a “Resolution In Opposition To DNR’s Proposed Camp Grayling Lease Expansion.”
The resolution says, in part, that “seventeen square miles of the current land area comprising Camp Grayling is located in Bear Lake Township” and “a portion of the proposed 162,000 acre expansion will be located in Bear Lake Township” and “the increased activities and traffic associated with the proposed expansion of Camp Grayling will have a significantly adverse impact on the wear and tear on county roads within Bear Lake Township, will generate increased and adverse nuisances from noise levels within parts of Bear Lake Township, and will generally have an adverse impact on the health, welfare, and safety of the residents of Bear Lake Township.”
In June, Beaver Creek Township (of Crawford County) voted to oppose the Camp Grayling expansion request.
“Beaver Creek Township Board voted unanimously to oppose the expansion,” said Dan Bonamie, Beaver Creek Township Supervisor. “We are working on a resolution to send the State/DNR.”
Bonamie said the concerns of Kalkaska County and Bear Lake Township “are basically the same as ours.”
“At this point the overwhelming response was we’re all for our military but there are other areas they can expand” that would not affect the township’s trail system and tourism, Bonamie said.
Bonamie said Beaver Creek Township needs to be able to provide its residents and visitors with access to nature.
“We feel this expansion will have a negative impact on our housing and our businesses,” Bonamie said.
The Lovells Township Board was expected to pass a resolution on Tuesday, August 9, opposing the proposed expansion, a township official said on Monday. (Lovells Township is in Crawford County.)
“We’re in opposition,” said Cynthia Infante-Inman, Lovells Township Clerk. “We’re pro-military; we just don’t think they need that much land.”