The debate over a possible 162,000 acre expansion at Camp Grayling continues after photos show soldiers performing a drill outside a training area.
Early Sunday evening, Gary and his wife were sitting on their patio along the Manistee River in Bear Lake Township when soldiers in large rafts arrived.
“It was around four o’clock. We look down the river and here is this big giant inflatable boat,” says Gary. “So we sit here a little longer and here is another, and another, and another. They were seven.
Gary says there were nine soldiers per boat who were equipped with fully automatic rifles.
“We’re not anti-guard at all, we’re not anti-army or anything like that. But it’s just a little disconcerting when it’s in your garden,” says Gary.
Photos have been shared online, adding to concerns surrounding the proposed Camp Grayling expansion. Bear Lake Township Administrator Jim Knight says residents are concerned.
“My constituents are really concerned that they’re not even supposed to be in this area and here they’re coming down the Manistee River with guns,” Knight says.
Knight wonders how the DNR will be able to effectively control the additional 162,000 acres of land.
“I have no idea how they could have any surveillance. They would need over 100 people and MNR staff to oversee something like that. And that’s just unrealistic,” admits Knight.
The DNR is reviewing the situation.
Camp Grayling’s post commander, Col. Scott Meyers, apologized, saying it was an out-of-state unit and not approved or coordinated with the camp.
“We’re not anti-military, I like to hear guns, I like to hear helicopters,” admits Gary. “But I don’t want to hear it every day. And I don’t want them to live with us, and that’s almost living with us.