After almost a decade, the famous antler arches in Jackson, Wyoming have finally been rebuilt with fresh sheds. The four arches, built primarily with elk antlers, were originally constructed between 1953 and 1969 by the Jackson Hole Rotary Club to mark the four corners of George Washington Memorial Park. Over the decades, wear from the elements have rendered the structures unstable and officials worried that the arches could be dangerous. That is why the club decided to raise funds to rebuild the arches in 2006, using all-new equipment and, most importantly, thousands of pounds of new elk antlers.
Even nine years ago, antlers did not come cheap. According to Jackson Hole News & Guide, elk antlers cost about $7 a pound in 2006. Thankfully, few places have as much access to elk sheds as Jackson—and at competitive prices no less. Every year the town hosts the annual Boy Scout antler auction, which offers antler sheds retrieved from the nearby 25,000-acre National Elk Refuge by a local Scout chapter. Last year the auction sold more than $200,000 in elk antlers, which averaged about $16 a pound. Much of that money went back into the refuge, while a portion also went to fund the Boy Scouts who did all the hard work.
Still, not even $200,000 could cover the total price of the park’s four new arches. When builders completed the last antler-laden monument earlier this month, the four structures totaled an astounding 14,000 pounds of elk antlers. That amounts to roughly 2,000 sheds or just over $450,000 worth of antlers. At least some of the cost was offset by the sale of the old arches, the last of which sold for about $60,000.
“Each time we do it, we get better,” said Larry Pardee, Jackson Director of Public Works. “I’m still impressed with how many people are taking pictures [of the arches] at any time of year.”