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Camp Grayling proposal information

Camp Grayling proposal: April 2023 update

Following a lengthy community input process and department review, the DNR has declined a proposed 20-year lease of approximately 162,000 acres of state forest land to the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA). The DMVA had sought to lease the land, located around the National Guard training camp in Grayling, to accommodate low-impact military training activities.

Proposal and decision

An initial review of the DMVA’s request found that most of the proposed lands were ineligible for such a lease because they are within buffer zones around bodies of water or were purchased with funds that prohibit activities planned by the National Guard. 

The remaining land, approximately 52,000 acres, could be available to the DMVA for short-term, low-impact training activities.

Under a Memorandum of Understanding, an agreement between the DNR and the DMVA, the DMVA may apply for limited land use permits to conduct exercises on up to 52,000 acres of eligible land. 

Key points in the Memorandum of Understanding: 

  • No lease approved; the DMVA may annually apply for land use permits 
  • DMVA training could occur on up to 52,000 acres of state managed forest land
  • Recreational access to remain at all times
  • The size of buffer zones around inland lakes and designated trout streams – where no military activity could take place – was doubled by DNR from 1,500 feet in the initial proposal to 3,000 feet in the Memorandum of Understanding
  • No live fire or use of tanks on these lands; no permanent fencing or structures

More information

Input process

The DNR welcomed public comments on the proposal in several ways: through a dedicated email box, phone calls, mail, a public comment map and local public meetings. This included a well-attended public meeting June 22, 2022, at Kirtland Community College in Grayling.

Comments were accepted through Feb. 8, 2023. 

Input was received from local government bodies and through a dedicated government-to-government consultation with Michigan Tribal authorities.