Curran, Michigan

The "Black Bear Capital of the World".

curran michigan signCurran is a small town on M-65 in western Alcona County. It lies at the center of Mitchell Township, geographically the largest township – 144 square miles – in Alcona County, but with the smallest population in the county – less than 500 people. Curran began as a lumber camp built in 1875 by Phillip Curran. The area was logged until the 1920s when the large stands of white pine were exhausted. Throughout the area the stumps of the giant pines can be seen in the woods, often still charred by the fires that swept through the area in the early 1900s.

Farms, raising cattle and hay, are scattered through the area. There are two restaurants, two churches, a gas station/convenience store and several residences spread along M-65 south of the northern intersection with M-72. It is also the home of the Black Bear Festival.

South of Curran are the Hoist Lakes Foot Travel Area and Reid Lake Foot Travel Area. Hoist Lakes is an area of 10,600 acres set aside for backcountry recreational activities such as hiking, backpacking, bird watching, cross-country skiing, hunting, fishing and nature study. There are over 20 miles of trails through the area. The trails are designed with the more experienced cross-country skier in mind. The area is ideal for backpacking trips from two days to one week.

The Reid Lake Foot Travel Area is about 3,000 acres. There are about six miles of gentle, rolling trails that lead around Reid Lake, once part of a farm. The trails are ideal for spending a few hours in the forest without too much physical challenge. The trails are a good match for beginning skiers.

North and west of Curran are Crooked Lake and McCollum lakes, both of which have public access for boaters and fishermen. Much of the land immediately surrounding and north of Curran consists of farms and larger parcels of hunting land belonging to individuals and hunting clubs.

The most important local event is the Annual March of Dimes Auction that has been held in the township hall for over 50 years on the last Saturday in January.

Like many small towns in northern Michigan, Curran is a humble place but one that continues to serve as a center for families that have been here for three or four generations.