LANSING, Mich. –
Low-impact training planned by the Michigan National Guard around Camp Grayling Joint Maneuver Training Center will require the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) to apply for limited land use permits, as outlined by a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the DMVA.
As described in the MOU, the DMVA will be able to apply for land use permits using the same system that applies to all other public events and activities using state land to conduct exercises on up to 52,000 acres of eligible land.
Any land use permits issued would not close the covered land to public or Tribal use, but rather allow the Michigan National Guard to conduct low-impact training as an additional user during specific timeframes, in accordance with federal regulations.
“While the MOU’s framework doesn’t meet the full vision of our original request, we believe it still provides distance and area required for some low-impact training that will help our service members stay safe and successful on a modern battlefield,” said Col. Scott Meyers, Camp Grayling commander. “We respect the DNR’s decision to deny our lease request while providing a way forward to help facilitate training capability for those who wear the uniform, and we appreciate the public’s engagement over the last several months, as well as the feedback we received from Tribal governments.”
Since 9/11, the National Guard has been tasked with a greater role in supporting combat deployment requirements that continues to increase. The National Guard now makes up approximately 40% of deployed Department of Defense personnel at any given time. As of April 2023, the Michigan National Guard has nearly 1,000 personnel deployed in locations around the globe, many of them in harm’s way.
With significant forest area, Grayling and the surrounding area can accommodate training scenarios not possible in a desert or open climate in other parts of the country.
“For us, this is all about taking care of our service members who have made the commitment to put their lives on the line in support of our national security,” said Meyers. “We can do that and honor Michigan’s environment. Ultimately, the National Guard is here to serve and defend the homeland that the citizens of our state and nation hold dear. We have heard the concerns offered by many private individuals and groups, as well as from several federally recognized Tribes, and are taking them into account. We will strive to uphold both these commitments: to offer the readiest combat force possible, and to serve the people of our state responsibly and with gratitude for all they do to support us.”
For more information please contact the Michigan National Guard Public Affairs office at firstname.lastname@example.org