Camp Ripley Training Center
Camp Ripley, located near Little Falls, Minnesota, is a 53,000-acre regional training center hosting numerous ranges and state-of-the-art facilities to support the training requirements of military and civilian agencies. In addition to providing resources enabling customers to train in a realistic environment, CRTC remains committed to environmentally-sound stewardship throughout Central Minnesota to include its 18 miles of undeveloped Mississippi River shoreline.
During the 2018 training year, Camp Ripley facilitated over 383,000 man-days of military training and 56,000 training man-days for local and state interagency partners.
In 2018, Camp Ripley was again recognized with the Department of Defense Environmental Award, this time for its cultural resource management. Camp Ripley conducted a multi-year, installation-wide survey of its more than 300 archaeological sites and partnered with the Leech Lake Band Heritage Sites to inventory significant historic and prehistoric sites.
The Minnesota National Guard strives to protect the wildlife found throughout its training areas. Camp Ripley released a second golden eagle into the wild in February to study its migratory patterns. The first golden eagle, named Ripley, was tracked as the most northern breeding golden eagle and makes the flight from Camp Ripley to places above the Arctic Circle every year. The Camp Ripley environmental office is also conducting a study of its deer population by collaring and tracking the animals’ movements.
Several improvements were made to Camp Ripley to enhance the accommodations for personnel who are training on post. The Camp Ripley Viking Club reopened with new management in April to provide an entertainment alternative for service members and customers. Camp Ripley is also in the process of building additional lodging facilities to phase out the existing “tin huts” that lack temperature controls. Several “long houses” will be built over the coming years to increase the year-round lodging capacity for Camp Ripley customers.
Camp Ripley is committed to maintaining a positive relationship with the surrounding community. In 2018, Camp Ripley again took part in the Little Falls Day of Caring and hosted Earth Day events. Camp Ripley also continues to work with local residents who are interested in the Sentinel Landscape program, offering an open house this year to explain the program to potential participants.
Minnesota’s Military Mental Health Coalition hosted its annual conference at Camp Ripley in May. The location allows the coalition to reach mental health care providers in central Minnesota and share best practices regarding mental healthcare for military members and veterans.
In 2018, Camp Ripley played an important role in facilitating the training of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division prior to their mobilization in support of Operation Spartan Shield. The division conducted several command post exercises at Camp Ripley in preparation for their division warfighter exercise at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, in May.
In 2019, Camp Ripley will host the Minnesota-based 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, as well as the Iowa-based 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, for their warfighter exercises. Camp Ripley will also provide assistance for the 1/34th ABCT as they transport their equipment to Fort Hood, Texas, next year in what will be the largest rail load operation in the brigade’s recent history.