About Turtle crossing
1972 - 2006
Turtle Crossing was originally called "Curran Park" and was owned and operated by the City of Brandon. During it's peak in the seventies and eighties, thousands of games were played on the Park's four baseball diamonds. During weekends throughout the summer it was hard to find a spot to lay down your towel around the man made lake. There isn't a local over the age of thirty that doesn't have great memories of their time at Curran Park. By the nineties the campground facilities were starting to show their age as the City's fiscal priorities changed. That combined with an increase in the choice of affordable recreational activities led to a decline in the Park's popularity. The successful 1997 Canada Summer Games were the last hurrah for the City Landmark. Despite it's great location and beauty, rising labour costs and cleanup expenditures due to almost yearly seasonal flooding led to City Council's decision to sell the property in 2001. The five years following the sale saw two different owners try to run the campground. Without tax payer subsidies they found the property too much to handle.
2007 to Present
The Kovatch family moved to Brandon in 2007 with the dream of bringing life back to the campground. Because Curran Park's reputation had been tarnished during the previous decade, a new name for a fresh start was needed; and so Turtle Crossing was born! During the very first season the new owners teamed up with local business owners Dean Esler and Dean Stewart to put on an outdoor concert called X Fest. The end result was three years of exceptional musical performances that created great memories of the Park for a whole new generation. Support of local and national non profit groups and fund raisers has always been at the core of Turtle Crossings mission. They have donated the facility to countless cross country awareness campaigns and local charity events. Their most successful partnership so far is with Big Brothers and Sisters. Each fall a dedicated group of volunteers construct a "Haunted Forest" that is visited by over five thousand people per year. Since 2014 Turtle Crossing has helped raise over $100,000.00 for the local chapter.
The big flood
In the Spring of 2011, the owners of Turtle Crossing Mark and Joan Kovatch knew there was a flood coming. The Provincial forecast called for a level of water that occurs about every 20 years. Because of the advance notice' they were able to move their seasonal customer's trailers and all of the facilities equipment to an area high enough to protect it from the "worst case scenario". After everything was secure they left to wait out the flood in town. About two weeks later Mark received a call from the City stating that the Province had grossly under estimated the amount of water coming from Saskatchewan. The level would be four feet higher than predicted! So with the help of his buddy Ron Martin, they hopped on a sea-do and headed into the park to see what could be done. The plan was to move anything they could as high as possible, tie down what they couldn't, pick up the family's sentimental treasures, and rescue the cats. Gitmo and Woodstock, the said cats, waited patiently on top of a barbecue while Mark and Ron went to work. About six hours later, when they had done all they could and were ready to leave only Woody could be found. They thought Gitmo had swam for it and hoped for the best. Two months later when Mark was able to get back in to the Park, he was greeted by Gitmo running towards him with a snake in his mouth! He had apparently climbed on to the roof of the washroom building and hid in the attic. Make sure you say hi and give him a scratch when you see him patrolling the grounds.
"The best thing about total destruction is the chance to make things better." That is the line Mark and Joan kept repeating to themselves, when along with some good friends they started to rebuild in 2012. All of the sites were increased to a minimum of thirty feet wide to handle anything on the road today. Water, electrical, and drainage systems were improved throughout the Park. The seventies style washrooms were upgraded and a whole lot of dirt was moved so that most sites now have a view of the wading pool and fountain. Modular rustic fencing was added to the majority of sites for a more private environment. All improvements were engineered to withstand another high water event knowing that the plans to flood proof all 65 acres would take some time. The facility now only opens when any possibility of flooding has passed.