Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Gun Club shoots last round

Historic facility closes for new development

Express Staff Writer

The historic Sun Valley Gun Club closed last week, not with a bang but a whimper.

"It's the end of an era for this club ... Hopefully the new one will be better," said Stu Hurst, manager of the club.

Activity at the historic facility—located northeast of Sun Valley Village along Trail Creek Road—ended Thursday, July 27, to make way for a new 9-hole golf course and housing. Hurst said there was little fanfare for the occasion, aside from a higher-than-usual attendance by valley residents.

The facility closed to make way for new development, which is part of Sun Valley's long-term master plan for its vast acreage.

"The plan is, this year, to shape the course and put the irrigation system in. And, next year, to plant the course," said Jack Sibbach, Sun Valley Co. spokesman.

Sun Valley Co.'s immediate plans call for a 9-hole golf course, called the Gun Club Nine, starting on the west side of Trail Creek Road and climbing onto the Gun Club site's ridgelines before descending back toward the road. The golf course is scheduled to open in the spring of 2008. A master plan of the area also calls for low- to medium-density housing.

Major excavation has begun on the land. Heavy equipment is in operation, moving massive amounts of dirt. Landscapes Unlimited, a Nebraska-based company, was hired as the contractor for the project.

Sibbach said the company would probably move trap-shooting activities farther north, across from Trail Creek Cabin. An exact location has not been determined and must be approved by the city of Sun Valley. No determination has been made as to how the historic clubhouse building will be used, or where it might be relocated.

"Plans are to have a shooting facility next spring," Sibbach said. "Mr. Holding (resort owner) and Wally Huffman (general manager) have been talking, and they want to have something. They haven't gone through the process of permitting and deciding what they really want to do there."

In the meantime, Sun Valley employees prepared this week for a potential move. Approximately 30 guns were cleaned for storage, as talk of earlier days at the club ensued.

The club has long been a Sun Valley staple. During Sun Valley's formative years, the Union Pacific-owned resort hosted trap shoots on 14 trap stations located on the south side of Trail Creek, near what is now the Fairways Road side of the resort.

Around 1950, Sun Valley moved cabins off Proctor and Dollar mountains, the nearby ski hills, to the trap range to form the formal clubhouse. The cabins were joined to make the now-historic clubhouse. In the spring of 1964, Sun Valley Co. owner Bill Janss moved the facility to its present location on Trail Creek Road.

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