About BISC & Our History

The Bainbridge Island Sportsman Club (BISC) is a membership organization formed in 1929 by a group of hunters, fishers and conservationists. Since its founding the club has continued to expand its role in the community and we now welcome the general public to enjoy our facilities. Operated and maintained by volunteers drawn from our membership, the objectives of the BISC are to:

  • Promote recreational shooting sports and gun safety and to educate the community in the safe and proper use of firearms for recreation, competition, hunting, and self-defense.
  • Promote other traditional outdoor recreational activities such as archery, fishing, camping and backpacking.
  • Provide programs for learning traditional outdoor activities and improving individual skills, with special emphasis on youth programs.
  • Support our local community through programs such as Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinners, a scholarship program, and providing range facilities for police training.

WHAT BISC OFFERS

BISC offers a variety of family oriented activities focused on outdoor recreational activities.  BISC operates Archery, Pistol Caliber and Shotgun ranges under the supervision of volunteers certified as range safety officers by the appropriate organization (NRA, USA Archery) to ensure safe operations.  BISC also offers a variety of classroom and hands-on instruction, including hunter safety training, archery instruction, and introductory firearm use, individual shooting coaches and safety classes.  For more information on BISC education and training initiatives see our Education & Training page

Facilities:

Community activities offered by BISC:

  • Annual youth fishing derby at the BISC pond
  • Pistol Caliber Range for training by the Bainbridge Island Police Department
  • We make the Clubhouse available to community groups such as the Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, Brownies and Camp Fire Girls for a nominal fee. .   
  • Keep up to date on community events through our “What’s New” pages as well as our calendar.

The History of the Sportsmen’s Club on Bainbridge Island

  • Formed in 1929, the club was originally known as the Bainbridge Island Rod and Gun Club.  The founding members of the Sportsmens Club include many individuals significant to Bainbridge Island’s past, including Dr. Frank Shepard, Captain Kunkler, Major Hopkins, Buck Bucklin, Henry Rodal and Arnold Raber.  We encourage you to view the Historical News Gallery to view items of historical interest.
  • The club incorporated as the Bainbridge Island Sportsmens club and moved to its current location in 1939.  The clubhouse, pistol and trap ranges were constructed at about the same time.  The developed area of the club is approximately 2.5 acres in size; the balance of the nearly 16-acre property is heavily forested and also contains a pond and wetland areas.
  • The clubhouse is built in the rustic style of architecture.  The intensive use of hand labor and clear rejection of regularity and symmetry that characterizes this style is apparent in the building’s construction.  Rustic architecture developed in the period from 1917-1927, and was a style of architecture heavily used in our country’s wilderness parks during the 1930s.  This movement in American architecture was a natural outgrowth of a new romanticism about nature, and our country’s western frontier.  The conservation ethic slowly became part of this architectural movement. This ethic is what makes the style unique:  the building is accessory to nature.  Early pioneer and regional building techniques were revived to construct these buildings because it was thought that a structure employing native materials blended best with the environment.
  • Often rustic structures are too young to receive proper attention under the Federal criteria for Historic Places.  Each year a few disappear and many more are altered by remodeling done without sensitivity to the original design. 
  • In 2009 the club decided to make significant repairs and remodel some aspects of the clubhouse and the ranges, in particular the pistol range.  The purpose of the remodeled pistol range was to improve safety, reduce noise and improve access to those with disabilities.  The project was funded in part by a grant from the Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island.  The main clubhouse had the exterior rehabbed as well as adding insulation to the meeting room.  A second grant was used to create an indoor/outdoor archery range.
  • The club made a commitment to maintain the integrity of both the interior and exterior historic elements of the building throughout the reconstruction.  The clubhouse did not originally have electricity, and was lighted by gas lamps; these lamps were electrified and retained in their original locations.  All of the windows were replaced within the original window openings and trimmed in the same style as the original building.  The siding for the clubhouse building was milled from cedar trees from the site.  The contractor, Rich Schmidt,  hand-hewed the lower edges of the siding to maintain the architectural integrity of the rustic style.
  • As a recreational organization, the club shares a special place in the community’s history, and is committed to continuing to provide services for future residents of the island.
  • History Photo Gallery (click images to make larger)