The Lure of Mountain Style Living
Apple Springs

by Heidi Bell-Gease

Imagine an upscale home in the pines, with deer in the yard and the Black Hills National Forest outside the back door. Imagine living next to an 18-hole golf course with hiking trails to explore and stock ponds to fish. Imagine not having to plow snow or maintain roads. Now imagine all that within a 10-minute drive of entertainment, groceries and medical care.

Your vision is Apple Springs Resort, a mountain-style residential community tucked away in Boulder Canyon between Sturgis and Deadwood.

“I firmly believe this is one of the rarest pieces of property in all the Black Hills for that reason,” said Mike Short, who owns the development with wife Mindy. “The notion is to be able to enjoy the mountains without a ton of upkeep.”

Apple Springs is currently home to about 30 high-end homes on lots up to an acre in size. About 10 new homes have gone up in the past two years, with another handful now under construction. Short expects to see that building rate continue.

What makes the 500-acre tract unique is its location. Located just off U.S. Highway 14A, it’s surrounded on three sides by Black Hills National Forest. The other side borders the Boulder Canyon Country Club, a member-owned public 9-hole course that has been there for decades.

Apple Springs was established more than 10 years ago. Development plans stalled after the 2008 financial crisis. The Shorts, who had purchased a lot in the sub-division in 2005, ended up taking on the entire project in 2013.

Since then they’ve moved ahead with plans to make this a top-notch housing area with the feel of a mountain resort. Through an agreement and land swap, Apple Springs and the Boulder Canyon Country Club are working together to add another nine holes, with the back nine set to open next spring.

“It’s going to be an outstanding 18-hole golf course that I think will be unparalleled in the Black Hills,” Short said, noting that future plans include a new clubhouse and stocked ponds for fishing.

Apple Springs residents will also be able to enjoy a trail system that could eventually link up with Sturgis, Whitewood and Deadwood. That would be fitting, considering that the property lies along the old Whitewood-Deadwood stagecoach route.

The central location - smack in between legendary Sturgis and historic Deadwood - also makes this an ideal place for vacation rental property. Short figures about one-third of Apple Springs homeowners are permanent residents, one-third have second homes here, and one-third rent out their homes, perhaps with plans to eventually retire here.

Short finds it’s sometimes hard to explain the concept of Apple Springs Resort since there really isn’t anything like it in the region. “The vision of Apple Springs is a pretty unique one,” he said. “It’s a rare place in the Black Hills that you get to enjoy the views of the Black Hills with the convenience of not being so far into the Hills that you can’t come back in (to town).”

So far most Apple Springs buyers are from eastern South Dakota or out-of-state. Many - like the Shorts - have vacationed here and fallen in love with the area.

“I just love everything about the Black Hills,” said Short, who initially came here to visit friends from Rapid City whom he’d met while attending Baylor University. “It almost makes you feel closer to God.”

Apple Springs Community

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