Camp Curnalia Cottage Owners Association

Nestled in the woods at the northwest corner of Higgins Lake, this small quiet community has unique criteria for membership. This Community of 405 Cabins/Cottages has a closed membership consisting of a U.S. Military background.

To be a member of the Camp Curnalia Cottage Owners Association, one must own a cabin/cottage here. To purchase a place, the purchaser must be a U.S. Military Veteran with discharge papers (DD-214). When a veteran purchases, it is only the building that is being purchased. The land is community owned by all the members of Association. This allows every cabin owner to have lake access to Higgins Lake. The Association (Camp) is divided into areas called “Wards” which are based on the geographical areas in the State of Michigan. These Wards are maintained by the cabin owners of their respective Ward. In this system of Wards, each Ward has Chairperson who represents that Ward on the CCCOA Executive Board.

History of Camp Curnalia

The land which is now home of C.C.C.O.A., was bought from United States of America by John Woods in 1869. It reverted back to the State of Michigan for back Taxes in 1901. It remained state land until 1922.

James McCrea, of Roscommon, initiated negotiations for the American Legion to obtain the land now known as Camp Curnalia. McCrea envisioned a summer camp for wounded veterans. He was joined in his endeavor by Dr. Clifford C. Curnalia, Roscommon, 10th district representative, United States Veterans Bureau, and others. They approached the state conservation department with their proposal and were joined by John Baird of Saginaw to see this through. In 1922 the camp had 150 squad tents on 76 acres with 3000 feet of frontage on Higgins Lake, under the direction of the American Legion for use of disabled veterans. Dr. Curnalia worked with the State of Michigan and the American Legion to create an area where servicemen could relax and enjoy the beauty of our State.

The American Legion subleased to Posts starting in 1930. It was opened in the late 1930’s, to ex-servicemen who were able to build cabins where they could relax and enjoy the beauty of the lake with their families. It remained this way until 2006. An association was formed and a Bill introduced into legislature for the Association to purchase the Land. To honor and commemorate Dr. Curnalia, and his endeavor, the association chooses the title “Camp Curnalia Cottage Owners Association.” The Bill through Michigan Legislature deemed that the sale would remain “Veterans Only” on purchases. Ownership would be limited to ex-service personnel, their spouses and their direct lineal descendants. Lineal descendants can only take total ownership upon the passing of the Veteran parent. It remains this way today.