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Michigan DNR denies Camp Grayling's lease proposal

Michigan National Guard

A controversial proposal to expand Camp Grayling was denied by the state Department of Natural Resources. That follows months of growing opposition from residents, lawmakers and environmental groups.

A memo from the DNR says the guard will still be able to temporarily access up to 52,000 acres of public land through Special Use Permits.

DNR spokesman Ed Golder says about 1,500 of these permits are distributed every year.

When asked, Golder said, “We don’t typically have a Memorandum of Understanding as we do in this case but we thought it important to put that on paper so that the public had assurance that their access to the land wouldn't change. And that's the case, regardless of whether the military is out training during any particular time during the year or not… public access will not change.”

Opposition groups say they’ll continue to fight the decision and monitor the guards' activities.

The Guard says the land would be used for low-impact cyber and electronic warfare exercises.

Michael Livingston is a senior at Central Michigan University majoring in Journalism and International Relations. He grew up in Hartland, a small town in Livingston County. After graduation in 2022, he aspires to take his reporting abroad as a correspondent.