US Congressman questions size, necessity of Camp Grayling expansion

Rep. Jack Bergman says ‘the proposal has yet to be adequately justified, and at a minimum should be right-sized to reflect reality’
US Congressman Jack Bergman (Michigan, 1st District), in a recent opinion piece, said the National Guard and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources should “reconsider” and “reassess” a proposed expansion of Camp Grayling training areas.
“The DNR is reviewing a proposal for the expansion of DNR-leased lands available for low-impact Camp Grayling military training activities,” according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “The proposal for approximately 162,000 acres of land around the camp is part of a desired update to accommodate evolving training methods.”
According to military officials, the current size of Camp Grayling is approximately 148,000 acres.
Bergman, of the US House of Representatives, recently released an opinion piece entitled “Camp Grayling’s excellence doesn’t necessitate such drastic expansion.” The piece was published by The Petoskey News-Review, and Bergman’s office sent it to the Crawford County Avalanche on Friday, February 17.
“The proposed expansion of Camp Grayling has predictably led to concerns by local community groups, government officials, and constituents. The concerns are completely understandable and must be tackled with a measured and nonpartisan approach to ensure that neither component – national security nor public welfare – is jeopardized,” Rep. Bergman said. “I’m proud that Michigan’s First District is home to our country’s largest National Guard training facility, contributing to the overall readiness and effectiveness of our military. I fully understand the importance of training for agility, adaptability, and lethality. During a time of heightened threats to our homeland, nobody in good faith would call for scaling back Camp Grayling’s current footprint or make any efforts to prevent them from training properly. However, that’s not the question at hand.”
“On more than one occasion we’ve seen government entities – federal, state and even local – overstep the bounds of realistic needs. We don’t have to look very far to see government entities, many with good intentions, that have expanded beyond their intended scope of operation. In Northern Michigan, we are seeing this play out before our eyes as the State of Michigan seeks to more than double the size of Camp Grayling with a proposed lease of 162,000 additional acres of state-owned land across several counties. Nearly every township and county impacted by this proposed expansion has formally come out against the proposal, clearly articulating their rationale for opposing the lease. It should be noted that this level of agreement is nearly impossible to find today among elected officials,” Rep. Bergman said.
“The proposal has yet to be adequately justified, and at a minimum should be right-sized to reflect reality. Given the existing acreage and airspace – particularly the underutilized components – this massive expansion effort has left constituents with more questions than answers. Concerns range from new environmental and noise pollutants, unresolved PFAS pollution, disruptions to and contamination of wildlife, and tourism-hampering probabilities. Our anglers, hunters, landowners, and residents deserve transparency and reciprocal respect in these conversations,” Rep. Bergman said.
“The proposed expansion does not have a compelling justification at this time – and if it does, the state has done a woefully inadequate job of selling their story. The National Guard and Michigan DNR must legitimately listen to the people affected by this proposal. The genuine and valid concerns stemming from the impacted parties should prompt the Guard and DNR to reconsider, regroup, and reassess the situation as the outgrowth could cause unnecessary damage to our resources, community relations, and general welfare,” Rep. Bergman said.
Rep. Bergman is a United States Marine Corps veteran, according to the Biography page on his website.
The complete version of Rep. Bergman’s “Camp Grayling’s excellence doesn’t necessitate such drastic expansion” opinion piece is available on Page 4A.

Crawford County Avalanche

Mailing Address
Box 490
Grayling, MI 49738

Phone: 989-348-6811
FAX: 989-348-6806

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