Camp Claybanks


The former Camp Claybank Anti-Aircraft Artillery (AAA) Firing Range was established on March 1, 1953. It was solely used by the Fifth U.S. Army units between 1953 and 1958 for training in anti-aircraft artillery firing at aerial targets over Lake Michigan, using .50 caliber, 40mm, 90mm and 120mm anti-aircraft weapons.

The 438.43-acre training site extended along the east shore of Lake Michigan in Claybanks Township, Oceana County, Michigan. The Department of Defense also obtained permits from the State of Michigan for restricted water space danger zone in Lake Michigan for firing over the water.

The camp, located 20 miles north of Muskegon, trained 1,200 active duty personnel during its five years in operation. It also provided training for 2,800 reservists and guardsmen from Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa. The camp was operated by five officers and 90 enlisted men.

On February 3, 1958, Camp Claybanks was placed in an excess status and is currently used as residential and recreational property.

On June 19, 1992, a landowner of a portion of the former camp contacted the Detroit District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This landowner and other landowners reported that they found both expended and live belts of .50 caliber ammunition, and at least one unidentified projectile, presumably a mortar round. This suggested that the former use of the site as an AAA firing range may still have the presence of ordnance or explosive waste hazards. A site investigation consisting of ordnance sweeps to verify and quantify the presence of ordnance was recommended in June 1993.

In May 1996, the Detroit District conducted a site visit and recommended hazardous, toxic, or radiological waste (HTRW) testing for possible lead contamination in the soil and groundwater. The site visit confirmed the possibility of contamination and identified specific debris used by the Department of Defense.

This area is under the Formerly Used Defense Site Program and is currently managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District in Louisville, Kentucky.

Contact Information

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